chapter  4
20 Pages

The ‘War of the Theatres’

Every Man Out Of His Humour seems to have inaugurated that curious sequence of events which literary historians have come to call the 'War of the Theatres' or the 'Stage Quarrel'. Jack Drum's Entertainment launched the 'War of the Theatres' well on its way. This is a far more exceptionable representation of Jonson than that in Histriomastix and it was after this that Ben Jonson felt free to respond in kind. The attacks upon Jonson in the 'War' have provided a picture of the poet in his early manhood as he looked, moved, sat and wrote; they tell us an enormous amount about his appearance, habits, friends and opinions. Jonson was himself strenuously engaged in the struggle against poverty and neglect that had brought Nashe low. Despite the enormous effort of the 'War of the Theatres' he was still having difficulties in making enough to live on.