Thursday, December 24, 2009


First published in 1606 Volpone is Jonson’s most performed play and is often considered his satiric masterpiece. It is a story of greed and lust. Its main characters are given Italian names that epitomize their flawed personalities—Volpone is the sly fox and Voltore the ravenous vulture. Volpone exploits his neighbors when he appeals to their greed and pretends to be deathly ill. Believing they would inherit his fortune his neighbors lavish him with gifts in the hopes of winning his favor. In the end, Mosca (which means mosquito in Italian), Volpone's servant, betrays his master and foils Volpone's scheme by revealing his scam to the magistrates of Venice.

This copy of Volpone or the Foxe is included in this first folio printed in 1616 by Stansby. This published collection of works contributed to the development of English literature and Renaissance drama by elevating the status of stage plays from ephemera to serious literature.

Gift of William M. Elkins

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