Ben

Ben

[ben]
Nicholson, Ben, 1894-1982, English painter; son of Sir William Nicholson. Nicholson's geometric abstractions of landscapes and still lifes are discreetly colored and lyrically expressed. In works such as Relief (1939; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) Nicholson developed the purism of de Stijl with great elegance. His paintings are in many collections, including the museums of Minneapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. He was married to the painter Winifred Dacre and later to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth.

See his Drawings, Paintings and Reliefs, 1911-1968 (1969); study by C. Harrison (1969, repr. 1972).

Hogan, Ben, 1912-97, American golfer, b. Dublin, Tex. A former caddie, Hogan began his professional playing career in 1937. One of the game's great money winners, he won the Professional Golfers Association championship in 1946 and 1948. After sustaining serious injuries in an automobile accident (Feb., 1949), Hogan made a dramatic comeback with his second U.S. Open victory in 1950. His career featured two Masters titles, one British Open crown, and four U.S. Open wins. He won all of these three major tournaments in 1953.
Ben, in the Bible, Levite porter under David.
Jonson, Ben, 1572-1637, English dramatist and poet, b. Westminster, London. The high-spirited buoyancy of Jonson's plays and the brilliance of his language have earned him a reputation as one of the great playwrights in English literature. After a brief term at bricklaying, his stepfather's trade, and after military service in Flanders, he began working for Philip Henslowe as an actor and playwright. In 1598 he was tried for killing another actor in a duel but escaped execution by claiming right of clergy (that he could read and write).

His first important play, Every Man in His Humour, was produced in 1598, with Shakespeare in the cast. In 1599 its companion piece, Every Man out of His Humour, was produced. In The Poetaster (1601) Jonson satirized several of his fellow playwrights, particularly Dekker and Marston, who were writing at that time for a rival company of child actors. He collaborated with Chapman and Marston on the comedy Eastward Ho! (1604). A passage in the play, derogatory to the Scots, offended James I, and the three playwrights spent a brief time in prison.

Jonson's great period, both artistically and financially, began in 1606 with the production of Volpone. This was followed by his three other comic masterpieces, Epicoene (1609), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614). Jonson became a favorite of James I and wrote many excellent masques for the court. He was the author of two Roman tragedies, Sejanus (1603) and Catiline (1611). With the unsuccessful production of The Devil Is an Ass in 1616 Jonson's good fortune declined rapidly. His final plays were failures, and with the accession of Charles I in 1625 his value at court was less appreciated.

Jonson's plays, written along classical lines, are marked by a pungent and uncompromising satire, by a liveliness of action, and by numerous humor characters, whose single passion or oddity overshadows all their other traits. He was a moralist who sought to improve the ways of men by portraying human foibles and passions through exaggeration and distortion. Jonson's nondramatic poetry includes Epigrams (1616); The Forrest (1616), notable for the two beautiful songs: "Drink to me only with thine eyes" and "Come, my Celia, let us prove"; and Underwoods (1640). His principal prose work Timber; or, Discoveries (1640) is a collection of notes and reflections on miscellaneous subjects.

Jonson exerted a strong influence over his contemporaries. Although arrogant and contentious, he was a boon companion, and his followers, sometimes called the "sons of Ben," loved to gather with him in the London taverns. Examples of his conversation were recorded in Conversations with Ben Jonson by Drummond of Hawthornden.

See Jonson's works (11 vol., 1925-52); biographies by M. Chute (1953), R. Miles (1986), and D. Riggs (1989); studies by E. B. Partridge (1958), J. A. Barish (1960), W. Trimpi (1962), G. B. Jackson (1969), J. G. Nichols (1970), J. B. Bamborough (1970), J. A. Bryant (1973), W. D. Wolf (1973), and D. H. Craig (1989).

Hecht, Ben, 1894-1964, American writer, b. New York City. He grew up in Wisconsin and, while still in his teens, worked on newspapers in Chicago. Early in his career he became involved in the Chicago literary movement of the time, founding in 1923 the Chicago Literary Times, an iconoclastic review that he edited for two years. A stormy and controversial figure, Hecht was known for a variety of literary and theatrical activities. He wrote novels, short-story collections, and plays, and he wrote, directed, and produced for the motion-picture industry. With Charles MacArthur, he collaborated on several film scripts and plays, of which The Front Page (1928), an irreverent drama of newspaper life, is the most famous.

See his autobiography, A Child of the Century (1954).

Macdui, Ben, or Ben Macdhui, peak: see Ben Macdui, Scotland.
Shahn, Ben (Benjamin Shahn), 1898-1969, American painter and graphic artist, b. Lithuania. Shahn emigrated to the United States in 1906. After working in lithography until 1930, his style crystallized in a series of 23 paintings concerning the Sacco-Vanzetti trial, among them The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti (Whitney Mus., New York City). Shahn dealt consistently with social and political themes. He developed a strong and brilliant sense of graphic design revealed in numerous posters. His painting Vacant Lot (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn.) exhibits a poetic realism, whereas his more abstract works are characterized by terse, incisive lines and a lyric intensity of color. The Blind Botanist (Wichita Art Mus.) is characteristic of his abstractions. Shahn's murals include a series for the Bronx Central Annex Post Office, New York City. From 1933 to 1938 he worked as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, producing masterful images of impoverished rural areas and their inhabitants. Shahn's later works are concerned with the loneliness of the city dweller.

See his writings, ed. by J. D. Morse (1972); biographies by his wife, B. B. Shahn (1972), and H. Greenfeld (1998); studies by J. T. Soby (1947 and 1957); K. W. Prescott, The Complete Graphic Works of Ben Shahn (1973).

Nevis, Ben, peak: see Ben Nevis, Scotland.

Lew Wallace novel

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is an 1880 novel by American general and author Lew Wallace (1827-1905). Adaptations of the novel:

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