Literary detectives unravel famous Ben Jonson mystery

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The amazing chance discovery of a manuscript hidden among papers in an ancient family archive is shedding new light on the legendary career of William Shakespeare’s biggest rival, the poet and playwright, Ben Jonson.

As portrayed in the new Hollywood Shakespeare movie Anonymous, out in cinemas this Friday 28th October, Jonson was the leading wit of his time and lived a life full of notoriety and intrigue. Weighing in at just under 20 stone, he famously completed a walk from London to Scotland in 1618 but because his own account of the journey was destroyed in a fire at his house a few years later, no direct record of the trip has existed… until now.

Researchers from The University of Nottingham and The University of Edinburgh are now examining the anonymous 41-page journal in a major research project which will reconstruct a large missing piece of the colourful jigsaw of Ben Jonson’s life story. Dr James Loxley, Head of the Department of English at the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Julie Sanders, Head of the School of English Studies at The University of Nottingham, are working with a postdoctoral fellow, Dr Anna Groundwater to unlock the meanings and significance of this intriguing document....

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