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ALBERT S. COOK, EDITOR
CATILINE HIS CONSPIRACY
EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND GLOSSARY
LYNN HAROLD HARRIS, PH.D.
INSTRUCTOR IN ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
A Thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Yale
NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
TO MY MOTHER,
WHOSE SELF-SACRIFICE AND DEVOTION HAVE ALONE MADE POSSIBLE THE SCHOLARSHIP OF WHICH THIS WORK IS THE FIRST-FRUITS
The noteworthy interest aroused in the rather long neglected works of Ben Jonson within the last dozen years would in itself be sufficient justification for a separate edition of Catiline, even were the play not intrinsically worthy. However, Catiline is by no means a despicable drama. Flat as its declamation may seem beside the rapid action of the romantic drama, it yet contains patent evidences of greatness. The touch of a master-hand (although it seems at times misguided) is everywhere present-in the firm grasp of character, in the orderly progression of plot, and in the marvelous skill with which so many classical sources are fused into one organic whole. Further, Catiline has a very definite historical interest. It was the weight of Ben Jonson's authority and example in Sejanus and Catiline that firmly established the Senecan tragic traditions and methods, which had previously had but a precarious foothold, upon our stage.1 Then, too, critics generally have been too hasty in ascribing the so-called 'classical age' entirely to French influence. Without unduly belittling this foreign agency, I yet think it may be safely maintained that under the impetus of Ben Jonson's authority, a 'classical' drama of some sort was bound to evolve.
In editing Catiline, I have devoted a great deal of attention to sources, because Jonson is peculiarly faithful to his authorities, priding himself on his erudite and accurate classicism. In this consideration of sources, I owe a great debt to an unpublished thesis in the library of Yale University, by Miss Alice P. Wright, A Study of Ben
1 See Briggs, Influence of Ben Jonson, etc., in Anglia 35. 277 ff.