Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Self-given law : individualism as an ethics of interpretation in Ben Jonson
Author: Sutherland, Zoë
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 457X
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 30 Apr 2024
Access from Institution:
Justice often doesn't feel right. We make decisions according to rules that seem to weigh unfairly in favour of one person or another, to uphold an egregious principle, or to be plain wrong: we say life isn't fair. Human rights law treats as unrealistic its foundational principle that humans are free and equal in dignity and rights. What we make of one another, however, entails an ethics of interpretation which this thesis locates in the realist dramaturgy of Ben Jonson (1572-1637). Focusing on Jonson's comedies, the thesis identifies a relationship between legally-inflected seventeenth-century English drama and twentieth-century international human rights law. It focuses on four of Jonson's comedies in which poetic making informs how individuals come to know and value each other; Volpone, or The Fox (1606), Epicene, or The Silent Woman (1609), Bartholomew Fair (1614), and The Devil Is an Ass (1616). By showing how poetic making constitutes individualism in Jonson, we can recover dignity as a realistic prospect. By reading individualism as an ethics of interpretation in the early modern period, we can open up questions of freedom and equality in our own.
Supervisor: Hutson, Lorna Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ; International Center for Humanities and Social Change ; University of California
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral