Not his picture but his book
in Spectacular Performances
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Philip Sidney's and John Donne's portraits, or at least the iconographic assumptions embodied in them, are an essential part of their literary history. The iconographic tradition in England, even in providing a frontispiece for his imaginative writing, largely ignored the Sidney of poetry and romance. The version of the Abraham Blyenberch portrait engraved by Robert Vaughan, faced the title page of the second edition of his folio Workes published in 1640. Ironically, the William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson folios, despite Jonson's best efforts, made the authors' portraits inescapable for large, expensive and, especially, posthumous dramatic collections. There were four such folios in the remainder of the century, devoted to the works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Thomas Killigrew and Sir William Davenant. In fact, Jonson's resistance for being identified with his picture, rather than his book, was, even during his lifetime, outmoded.

Spectacular Performances

Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England>


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