Printer Friendly

Why Greene was angry at Shakespeare.


"THE passage from Greene has had such a devastating effect on Shake-spearean study that we cannot but wish it had never been written or never discovered." (1) It was, of course, the

puzzling attack on the "upstart Crow" in Greenes Grows-worth of Witte and the ensuing endless debate that, more than eight decades ago, prompted this exasperated comment by the Scottish scholar J. S. Smart. Since then students have continued to pore over the "bitterest and nearly the most famous lines ever written of Shakespeare," (2) trying to make sense of them. (3)

When it comes to interpreting the meaning of the elusive allusion in Groatsworth, commentators can be roughly divided into two camps. There are those who believe that by calling Shakespeare "an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers" (4) Greene accuses him of plagiarism. Others think that the attack is directed at the insolence of the uneducated actor who has the presumption of writing plays. Shakespeare is either charged with plagiarism or with social climbing.

Although the plagiarism theory first presented by Malone, (5) and later taken up by Dover Wilson, (6) seemed to have been refuted by Peter Alexander, (7) it has again found favor among recent biographers. Peter Ackroyd writes: "Accused of being an unlearend ('upstart') plagiarist, Shakespeare would have questioned 'unlearned' ... but he could hardly deny the charge of plagiarism; his early plays were bedecked with lines and echoes from Marlowe." (8) David Bevington also thinks "that Greene seems to have despised Shakespeare as an unprincipled plagiarist." (9) Did Greene, who himself was a shameless pilferer of other writers' plots and phrases, (10) really accuse Shakespeare of plagiarism? Was plagiarism for early modem authors even a serious issue? One might doubt it. (11)

Jonathan Bate is among those who believe that Greene's attack was prompted by envy and his disdain for social climbing: "English culture has a long history of men from the professions, armed with degrees from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, looking down their noses at hard-working men from a trade background who lack a degree (which in the Elizabethan age allowed you to call yourself a gentleman). Greene's Groatsworth of Wit goes on to call Shake-scene a 'rude groom' and 'a peasant'. This is the snobbery of the town sophisticate towards the country bumpkin as well as the professional towards the trader." (12) Although Greene took pride in his university degrees and may have considered himself more learned than the grammar school boy Shakespeare, the explanation offered by Bate is as unsatisfactory as the plagiarism theory.

Greene's background (13)--his father was a saddler, or perhaps a cordwainer turned innkeeper in Norwich--was similar to the glover's son from Stratford. His traditionalist values are as rooted in the English counties as Shake-speare's. In A Quip for an Upstart Courtier he lets a jury give preference to Cloth Breeches over Velvet Breeches, to lowliness over pride, and in Friar Bacon and Friar Bun gay he lauds the sane country virtues of a humble gamekeeper and his daughter.

There is as yet no wholly convincing explanation for the "oblique and cryptic" (14) attack on Shakespeare. Commentators tend to concentrate on the "upstart Crow" jibe and rather neglect the other charges in the passage. Why did Greene accuse Shakespeare of having a "tyger's heart?" And what about Greene's claim that Shakespeare "breing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the one!), Shake-scene in a countrey"? Even the imaginative A. L. Rowse, "who, it must be said, never allowed an absence of certainty to get in the way of a conclusion," (15) was baffled. He surmised that "there must have been something personal behind them, some acute disappointment, to account for the malice." But what was it? "What had happened between them?" (16)

What indeed. We don't know, but we can, once again, make an atttempt to to find out.


In the last few decades Greene's authorship of Groatsworth has been questioned. A number of distinguished scholars have become convinced that the pamphlet was written by its editor, Henry Chettle. (17) The suspicion that Groatsworth is a Chettle forgery was first entertained by "the great forger himself, John Payne Collier" (18) and continued to linger. The forgery theory gained widespread support with W. B. Austin's computer-based stylistic analysis of the text. (19) It would take thirty-seven years before Austin's findings were rebutted by Richard Westley. (20) Although there remain creditable arguments for Chettle's authorship or co-authorship, I accept what earlier scholars have taken for granted, namely that Greene cobbled up the pamphlet during the last weeks of his life and that Chettle only edited the text that fell into his hands. (21) I cannot see how the pedestrian Chettle could have cooked up a forgery that accurately mirrors Greene's style and thinking, and this in the few days between Greene's death on September 3 and the entering of Groats worth in the Stationers' Register on September 20. Even if Chettle should have done more than copy Greene's manuscript, it seems to me beyond doubt that the letter to his fellow playwrights, with its attack on Shake-speare, was written by the dying poet. As Harold Jenkins put it long ago: "[Chettle's] authorship of the address which gave offence to the playwrights seems impossible. His declaration that he knew neither of the two who took offence whether or not those two were Marlowe and Shakespeare must have been true, since a falsehood here would lay itself open to immediate exposure; and it is difficult to conceive how Chettle could have been so bitter against men with whom he was totally unacquainted, or how, having no animosity himself, he could conjure up such an imaginary passion on behalf of Greene. This, the most significant passage in Groatsworth, cannot, I think, be a forgery." (22)

The first part of Groutsworth, recounting the adventures of the usurer Gorinus and his sons Roberto and Luciano, harks back in style to Greene's earlier prose romances. At the end of the tale the tone changes abruptly: "Heere (Gentlemen) breake I off Robertoes speach; whose life in most parts agreeing with mine, found one selfe punishment as I haue doone. Heereafter suppose me the saide Roberto, and I will goe on with that hee promised: Greene will send you now his groatsworth of wit, that neuer shewed a mites-worth in his life: & though no man now bee by to doo mee good: yet ere I die I wil by my repentaunce indeuour to doo all men good." (23)

This is no longer the gifted storyteller Greene spinning his yarn, but the dying man earnestly preaching to his readers, "directing you how to liue." He sets out ten rules that they should follow and then goes on: "But now, though to my selfe I giue Consilium post luau; yet to others they may serue for timely precepts. And therefore (while life giues leaue) I will send warning to my olde consorts, which haue hued as loosely as my selfe, albeit weaknesse will scarse suffer me to write, yet to my fellow Schollers about this Cittie, will I direct these few insuing lines." (24)

When Greene started Groatsworth he was still "able inough to write" but when he came to the end of Robertoes Tale his health had greatly deteriorated, and he describes his lines as "broken and confused." He now knew he was dying, and the purpose of his letter was not to insult his colleagues, but to admonish them: "If wofull experience may moue you (Gentlemen) to beware, or vnheard of wretchednes intreate you to take heed: I doubt not but you wil looke backe with sorrow on your time past, and indeuour with repentance to spend that which is to come." (25)

One of Greene's concerns was the salvation of "my friend" Marlowe's sou1. (26) More than a fourth of the letter (37 out of 129 lines) is devoted to warning him off "Diabolicall Atheisme": "Wonder not, (for with thee wil I first begin) thou famous gracer of Tragedians, that Greene, who hath said with thee (like the foole in his heart) There is no God, shoulde now giue glorie vnto his greatnes: for penetrating is his power, his hand lyes heauie vpon me, hee hath spoken vnto mee with a voice of thunder, and I haue felt he is a God that can punish enemies." (27) Greene's exhortation to Marlowe ends with the moving (and strangely prophetic) words: "I knowe the least of my demerits merit this miserable death, but wilfull striuing against knowne truth, exceedeth all the terrors of my soule. Defer not (with me) till this last point of extremitie; for little knowst thou how in the end thou shalt be visited." (28)

The counsel he gives his two other old consorts is practical rather than spiritual. Nashe--"yong Iuuenall, that byting Satyrist"--is advised to "get not many enemies by bitter wordes," (29) an allusion to the literary quarrels that the "sweet boy" Nashe liked to pick. Peele, "no lesse deseruing than the other two, in some things rarer, in nothing inferiour," (30) is told that he is "vnworthy better hap, sith thou dependest on so meane a stay." The "meane stay" refers to Peele's earning a living by "making plaies."

This brings Greene to the main objective of his letter, which is to apprise his friends of the faithlessness of the actors, and to urge them to stop writing for the stage. The dying Greene does not indulge in a petty quarrel with the players or in trumped-up polemics likely to please his readers. He wants to put his friends on guard against an imminent threat to their livelihood. Speaking from personal experience "for vnto none of you (like mee) sought those burres to cleaue: those Puppets (I meane) that spake from our mouths, those Anticks garnisht in our colours" he implores his "fellow Schollers about this Cittie" to sever their ties with the actors.

The plea to his fellow playwrights for a complete break with the players represents a new development in Greene's attitude towards his paymasters. He had always been condescending toward men of the profession who "gette by schollers their whole liuing," but this had not prevented him from appreciating their patronage. In his partly autobiographical Never Too Late (printed 1590) the hero Francesco who had fallen on hard times encountered "a companie of Players, who perswaded him to trie his wit in writing of Comedies, Tragedies, or Pastorals, and it he could performe anything worth the stage, then they would largelie reward him for his paines." Francesco "writ a Comedie, which so generally pleased all the audience, that happie were those Actors in short time that could get any of his workes; he grew so exquisite in that facultie. By this meanes his want was mleeued, his credit in his hosts house recouered, his apparell in greater brauerie then it was, and his purse well lined with Crownes." (31) The association between Greene and the players benefited both sides. Originally their relationship was harmonious enough and the playwright thought the actors were entitled both to "prayse and profite as long as they wax neither couetous nor insolent." (32)

By the spring of 1592 Greene's relationship with his erstwhile benefactors had soured. He accused the players not only of pride but of untrustworthiness and sharp dealing. The Defence of Conny Catching (entered in the Stationers' Register on April 21, 1592), a pamphlet ostensibly by one "Cuthbert Cunny-catcher," was likely written by Greene himself as a sequel to his own well-received conycatching tracts. (33) In it Cuthbert Conny-catcher sets out to "proue you a Conny-catcher Maister R.G.," by warming up a story that must have been well known in London literary circles (and therefore would not have done any further damage to Greene's reputation): "Aske the Queens Players, if you sold them not Orlando Furioso for twenty Nobles, and when they were in the country, sold the same Play to the Lord Admirals men for as much more. Was not this plaine Conny-catching Maister R.G?" The succeeding lines--regardless of whether he wrote them or not--clearly reflect Greene's thinking: "But I heare when this was objected, that you made this excuse: that there was no more faith to be held with Plaiers, than with them that valued faith at the price of a feather; for as they were Comoedians to act, so the actions of their liues were Cameleon like, that they were vncertaine, variable, time pleasers, men that measured honestie by profite, and that regarded their Authors not be desart, but by necessitie of time." (34)

Greene felt that the players, an untrustworthy and greedy lot, had treated him shabbily. The charges are similar to those Greene would later level at the players in Groatsworth. What is different is the tone. In The Defence Greene is disdainful, in Groatsworth he is desperate. In the spring of 1592, when the The Defence was written, his purse had apparently not yet fallen "to a low ebbe" and he had no foreboding of the fatal illness that was to befall him at the beginning of August. In The Defence the successful author could make light of the players' faithlessness; in Groatsworth their forsaking him weighed heavily on the spurned poet who was dying alone in poverty.

Unlike in all his earlier censure of the players, where Greene speaks in general terms and avoids blaming a specific actor, he now singles out one of them as the principal culprit: "Is it not strange thatI, to whom they all haue beene beholding: is it not like that you, to whome they all haue beene beholding, shall (were yee in that case that I am now) bee both at once of them forsaken? Yes, trust them not: for there is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and being an absolute lohannes fac to turn, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey. O that I might intreat your rare wits to be imploied in more profitable courses: & let those Apes imitate your past excellence, and neuer more acquaint them with your admired inuentions. I knowe the best husband of you all will neuer proue an Vsurer, and the kindest of them all will neuer proue a kind nurse: yet whilest you may, seeke you better Maisters; for it is pittie men of such rare wits, should be subject to the pleasure of such rude groomes." (35)

Greene makes a causal connection between the emergence of the actor Shakespeare as a playwright, "able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you," and his own dismal fate. Why does Greene target Shakespeare and not Edward Alleyn, the chief player of the company to whom he had sold Orlando? Or Philip Henslowe, the impresario and owner of the Rose, where his plays were being performed?


In looking for an answer, we have to turn to the special situation of the London stage in the summer of 1592, when Greene's dispute with the players came to a head. By 1591 a fairly new company, Lord Strange's Men, had come to dominate the stage, eclipsing the Queen's Men who previously had held a similar preeminent position.

For the Christmas festivities 1591/2 "the servantes of our own verie good Lord Strange (36) gave an unprecedented six performances at court, with the Queen's (two performances) the only other troupe appearing before the monarch. Henslowe records that on February 19 Lord Strange's Men opened at his enlarged and refurbished Rose Theatre on the South Bank with a performance of Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. (37) In the course of the next four months, the company, associated with Edward Alleyn (who kept the Lord Admiral's livery), had a stellar season, putting on plays by Greene and his old consorts. In their repertory were Greene's Orlando Furioso, Peele's Battle of Alcazar ("Muly Mollocco"), Greene's and Lodge's Looking Glass for London and England, Marlowe' s Jew of Malta.

The hit of the Rose season was "harey vj" mentioned in Henslowe's Diary as "ne" on March 3, 1592. (38) The box office takings on its first performance (3 pounds, 16 shillings and 8 pence) were the highest all year and the play was put on more often (13 times) than any other. Defending the stage against "shallow-brained censurers," Nashe mentions one particular play as a "rare exercise of virtue" that revived "our forefathers' valiant acts": "How would it haue ioyed braue Talbot (the terror of the French) to thinke that after he had lyne two hundred yeares in his Tombe, hee should triumphe againe on the Stage, and haue his bones newe embalmed with the teares of ten thousand spectators at least, (at seuerall times) who in the Tragedian that represents his person, imagine they behold him fresh bleeding." (39) A play with Talbot as its hero that was seen by a record number of spectators must be the "harey vj" mentioned in Henslowe's Diary as "ne" on March 3, 1592. Most commentators now accept that "harey vi" was the play that Heminges and Condell included in the First Folio as The First Part of Henry the Sixth.

The view that I Henry VI is a collaborative play, co-authored by Nashe, one or two others, and Shakespeare has lately again gained ground: (40) There are indeed good reasons for thinking that other authors than Shakespeare had a hand in the play. But who "plotted" it? That among his contemporaries only Shakespeare had the ability to construct the daringly original plot of I Henry VI was convincingly demonstrated long ago by Hereward T. Price. (41) Tiffany Stern has shown how prized the art of plot writing was and how the plotter of play could consider himself the main "author" of the play even if he did not write the dialogue. (42)

John Heminges included I Henry VI in the First Folio because he considered his fellow and friend Shakespeare to be its author. As a member of Strange's in 1593, and probably earlier, Heminges was in a position to know about the genesis of the play. If Shakespeare had a major part in the writing of a play that was new in March 1592 he was then in all likelihood a member of Strange's, Another argument for Shakespeare's being with Strange's is "the recurrence of references to the Stanleys [Lord Strange's family] in most of Shakespeare's plays written before 1594 " (43) Shakespeare would hardly have made these flattering allusions and given Talbot the title "Lord Strange of Blackmere," if he had been a member of a rival company. (44)

From Greene's mocking allusion to Shakespeare's line "O, tiger's heart wrapp'd in a woman's hide!" (1.4.138) we can safely deduce that 3 Henry VI was in existence by August 1592 when the dying Greene penned his letter. As it had not been acted at the Rose, Andrew Gun assumes that it "must have been playing somewhere else in London, most likely at the Theatre. One implication of that could be that Shakespeare had left Strange's along with Richard Burbage, and was playing alongside him across the water with Pembroke's. It is a possibility."

I don't think that it is a possibilty. Gurr assumes that Pembroke's Men were newly formed in 1591, (45) but there is no record of their existence before the second half of 1592. There is also no evidence that any of the leading play-wrights--Greene, Marlowe, Peele, Nashe, Shakespeare, Kyd--wrote for them before June 23, 1592 when the London theaters were ordered closed and the players had to go on tour. (46)

Greene's quoting the "tiger's heart" line does not necessarily meant that Henry VI had "just mounted the stage" and was playing "somewhere else in London" (although the possibility need not be ruled out). Greene had other opportunities to become acquainted with Shakespeare's memorable line. As one of the playwrights for Strange's he could have been present when the finished play was read to the company. Tavern readings of a new play seem to have been customary: "Layd owt for the companye when they Read the playe of Jeffa for wine at the tavern." (47) If Greene did not overhear the the "tiger's heart" line in the tavern, he might have done so at a rehearsal of the play. (48) Or the prompter may have shown him the playbook. Or the actor assigned to play York may have quoted York's powerful speech to him. (49) Greene, with his hand ever on the pulse of literary and theatrical London, wanted to quote from a play that he expected to be on stage when his pamphlet reached the market.

On the basis of the evidence as a whole, the case for Shakespeare being an actor and author for Strange's Men during their 1592 season at the Rose seems to me to be watertight. (50) Greene clashed with him while both of them (as well as Greene's three fellow playwrights adressed in Groatsworth) wrote for and depended financially on Strange's, (51) the company that held a hegemonial position in London.


Greene blamed his "miserie," at the time of his last illness on the actors: "Is it not strange [a pun on Strange's?] that I, to whom they al haue beene beholding: is it not like that you, to whome they all haue beene beholding, shall (were yee in that case that I am now) bee both at once of them forsaken?" (52) He had a point: after all he had provided the company with a number of successful plays. "Those burres" had cleaved to him like to no other.

On the other hand, the players, Strange's Men, were themselves in dire straits. The theaters had been closed since June 23 and there were no gate receipts coming in. None could be expected until Michaelmas (September 29) when the ban was to end. As they write (almost certainly in July or August 1592) in their petition to the Privy Council: "fforasmuche (righte honorable) oure Companie is greate, and thearebie our chardge intollerable, in travellinge the Countrie, and the Contynuaunce therof, wilbe a meane to bringe vs to division and separacioun, whearebie wee shall not onelie be vndone, but alsoe unreadie to serve her majestie, when it shall please her higheties to commaund vs." (53) Threatened to "be undone," they had no funds to order a new play from Greene. At any rate, Alleyn and his company were not at hand when Greene was in need of money. Immediately after the closing of the theaters Strange's had gone on tour. They acted in Rye, Sussex on June 24 and in August, when Greene was finishing Groatsworth, they were far away from London, playing in Bristol sometime between August 6 and August 19. (54)

There may have been a further reason for Strange's stinginess towards Greene. The poet had brought his "miserie" on himself by his profligacy. In A Quip for an Upstart Courtier he describes "the poet" as "a waste good and an vnthrift, that he is born to make the Tauerns rich and himselfe a beggar: if he hate forty pound in his purse together, he puts it not to vsury, neither buies land nor merchandise with it, but a moneths commodity of wenches and Capons. Ten pound a supper, why tis nothing." (55) This is a self-portrait. The fatal banquet, with its "surfett of pickle herringe and rennish wine," (56) that supposedly led to Greene's final illness may have been just one instance of his spendthrift ways. In Aesopes fable that concludes Groatsworth Greene identifies with the "foodlesse, helplesse, and strengthles" grasshopper, and may have had a player in mind, when he drew an unflattering picture of the heartless ant, a "waspish little worme," that is deaf to the grashopper's misery:
  Pack hence (quoth he) thou idle lazie worme
  My house doth harbour no vnthriftie mates:
  Thou scornedst to toile, & now thou feelst the storme,
  And starust for bode while I am fed with cates.
  Vse no intreats, I will relentlesse rest,
  For toyling labour hates an idle guest. (57)

E. A. J. Honigmann thought that the ant in the fable "glances back at Shakespeare," and surmised it was Shakespeare, the company's paymaster, (58) who turned Greene away when he "was lying in extreame pouerty, and hauing nothing to pay but chalke, which now his Host accepted not for currant." (59) Park Honan also considers the fable a "final hint that Shakespeare had viciously refused to lend money." (60)

What are we to make of Greene's other insults? Two things irk Greene about Shakespeare, apart from his bombasting out blank verse and his tigerish cruelty: the actor-playwright is a.) an "absolute Johannes fac totum," and b.) "in his owne conceit (61) the onely Shake-scene in a countrey." The term Johannes Factotum has been interpreted differently by different scholars. (62) According to the Oxford English Dictionary (citing Groats worth) it could mean either "Jack of all trades, a would-be universal genius" or "one who meddles with everything, a busybody." The linkage of "fac totum" with "absolute" suggests that Greene may have had in mind a jibe at the omnipotent Earl of Leicester made by the anonymous author of Leicester's Common-wealth, a scurrilous pamphlet that had a wide circulation and that Greene would have been familiar with: "Throughout all our England my Lord of Leicester ist taken for Dominus Factotum, whose excellency above others is infinite, whose authority is absolute, whose commandment is dreadful, whose dislike is dangerous, and whose favour is ominipotent." (63) We are probably on safe ground if we translate the Latin term literally as "John Doeverything," or as E. K Chambers put it, as one who "thinks that he can do everything himself." (64) Whether Greene derides Shakespeare as a "would-be universal genius" or as a "busybody" or as "one who controls everything" (OED definition of "Dominus Factotum") the taunt would have stung.

The other charge--that he is "in his owne conceit" the onely Shake-scene in a countrey"--is one of self-importance. According to Greene, the presumptuous upstart Shakespeare considers himself the only author able to shake an audience with his scenes.

What was it that led Greene to think that Shakespeare considered himself superior to other playwrights? It can hardly have been that "gentle" Shake-speare, whose "civill demeanor" is attested to by Chettle, (65) and who, as far as we can judge from Ben Jonson, was "honest, and of a free and open nature," (66) went around bragging about his scene-shaking prowess. Shakespeare must have shown his supposed arrogance by some other action that offended Greene.

When Greene calls Shakespeare an "absolute Johannes fact totum" he is probably referring to the upstart crow's role in his company. As there were no directors in Elizabethan companies, the prompter, the "manager," or one of the principal actors took on the task of overseeing the production of a new play. Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet give us an idea of how this happened. Shakespeare, who had a keen sense for what worked on stage and what not, must have been on hand when a new play was prepared.

It has been well established that acting companies regularly modified the script that they had bought from a playwright. (67) They treated plays like Hollywood studios handle film scripts. Scenes were altered, speeches were cut and sometimes newly written. We now have abundant evidence that Shakespeare revised his own plays. That, on at least one occasion, Johannes Factotum fixed up a play written by others is suggested by the manuscript of Sir Thomas Moore. (68) This happened once, it would have happened on other occasions. (71)

J. P. Collier, impudent forger yet "excellent scholar," (69) was not far off the mark when he wrote: "Our great poet possessed such a variety of talent, that, for the purposes of the company of which he was a member, he could do anything that he might be called upon to perform: he was the Johannes Factotum of the association: he was an actor, and he was a writer of original plays, an adapter and improver of those already in existence, (some of them by Greene, Marlowe, Lodge, or Peele) and no doubt he contributed prologues or epilogues, and inserted scenes, speeches, or passages on any temporary emergency." (70)

If a company suspected that scenes in a play might not go down well with the public it would attempt to mend them. Eric Rasmussen thinks that "every play in the early English theatre must have been revised to some extent during rehearsal, as companies met with difficulties that could not have been foreseen in the written text." (71)

In mending a play the actors gave scant regard to a playwright's aesthetic sensibility. A company that had paid good money for a script, and invested time in preparing it for performance, had an overriding interest in it being well received by the public. Individual players wanted to be applauded for their performance and were afraid of being hissed. The company expected the play to have a long, profitable run. Nothing worse than a play that had to be dropped after one disastrous first performance or "trial" as it was called: "A play that was 'damned' after the initial showing was not usually performed again." (72)

Actors had a point. But so had playwrights, when they objected to actors taking liberties with their scripts. As Tiffany Stern points out, "the theatre and the playwright were often in opposition to one another." (73) From Hamlet's advice to the players (74) we can infer that Shakespeare himself did not always appreciate when his speeches were tampered with:
  And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down
  for them; For there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on
  some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the mean
  time some necessary question of the play be then to be considered.
  That's villanous and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that
  uses it. (3.2.38-45)

Greene, "famozed for an Arch-plaimaking poet," (75) would have considered it "villainous" if his "admired inventions" were distorted by actors whom he disdained as "rude grooms." His fury at the actors in general, and at their Johannes Factotum in particular, may have stemmed from the cavalier treatment that his last play got from Strange's Men.


Greene's last play, I suggest, was A Knack to Know a Knave, put on by Strange's as "ne" on June 10, 1592. (76) Henslowe's receipts on that day were substantial [pounds sterling]3 12s, only 4s, 6d less than the record takings achieved by the first performance of "harey vj." A Knack was performed twice more (Henslowe's takings being 52s and 27s respectively), before the theaters were ordered closed on June 22. When the Rose reopened on December 29 the play was still in Strange's repertory and would see another four performances until, after one short month, the plague put an end to their season.

A Knack to Know a Knave, which is still considered an anonymous play, has been given a wide berth by students of the early modern theatre. (77) Most of the few who have bothered to read it find it a poor play, devoid of interest. The two existing critical editions, both now over half a century old, are not easily available--one being an unpublished Oxford thesis, the other a micro-film edition from Michigan University. (78) When, more than forty years ago, I first examined the authorship of A Knack (79) I reached the same conclusion as Paul E. Bennett in his 1952 critical edition: The surviving 1594 quarto was the memorial reconstruction of a play mainly written by Greene, with the possible assistance of Thomas Nashe. It a plausible candidate for the "Comedie" that, according to the Groatsworth letter, "yong luuenall" Nashe "lastly writ" with Greene. (80) Today, having revisited the play, I see no reason to change my view about the play's authorship. (81)

Like Greene's canonical plays, A Knack is well constructed. The exposition is quite masterly, (82) the presentation of the characters direct and economical, the blending of the main plot with the subplot skillful. A Knack grabs the attention of the audience, maintains suspense, and develops the action at a brisk pace. It makes similar use of sources (83) as Greene's canonical plays, resembles them in various plot situations and resorts to the same proven stage effects, such as disguise and magic; it shares the social and political ideas, traditional attitudes, animosity against Puritans, moral views and philosophy that we find in Greene's pamphlets and plays. A Knack replicates classical allusions, topical references, Euphuistic ornaments, and stylistic idiosyncrasies of Greene's recognized work. Like Greene in his pamphlets A Knack denounces usurers, perjurers, speculators, traders with the enemy, raisers of rents, hypocritical priests, and scheming courtiers. There is the repentance motif that is omnipresent in Greene's works and there is another of his pet themes, that of the prodigal son.

A Knack contains numerous verbal borrowings from Greene's canonical plays and the same mixture of moralizing exhortation, lack of true moral depth, and facile romantic sentimentality. (84) The evidence, taken together, suggested to Norman Sanders, who was a close student of Greene's work, that "the case for Greene's authorship [of A Knack to Know a Knave] is a stong one--stronger indeed than those for Selimus and George-a-Greene." (85) I am fairly confident that the play will eventually make it into Greene's canon.

A Knack to Know a Knaves (86) was entered in the Stationers' Register on January 7, 1593/4 and published that year by Richard Jones with the curious (and unique) title page:
  A most pleasant and
  merie new Comedie,

  A Knacke to Knowe a Knaue.
  Newlie set foorth, as it hath sundrie
  tymes hene played by ED. ALLEN
  and his Companie.

  With KEMPS applauded Merrimentes
  of the men of Goteham, in receiuing
  the King into Goteham.

  Imprinted at London by Richard Jones, dwelling
  at the signe of the Rose and Crowne, nere
  Holbome bridge. 1 5 9 4.

The absence of the name of the company's patron is as unusual as is the mention of the names of the company's leading actor and clown. The stationer Richard Jones, a pioneering spirit, was "one of the most consistent and prolific English publishers of vernacular verse" (87) and also responsible for the publication of such important works as Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Nashe's Pierce Pennitesse. He seems to have had a nose for the reading public's taste and advertised his wares with catchy title pages. By linking his "most pleasant and merie new Comedie" with Alleyn, the foremost tragedian of the time, and the no less celebrated comedian Kemp, he expected to make the quarto more saleable. There may have been another reason why the name of the company's patron is omitted. A few weeks before the play was entered in the Stationers' Register, the company, with Alleyn as its leader, had returned from touring. Back in London, the players had learned that unlike the last two Christmases they were not to perform at court. Their patron, the Earl of Derby (as Ferdinando, Lord Strange had become the previous September) had fallen out of favor with the Queen. As a result of the murky "Hesketh affair" (88) he was even suspected of high treason. (89) In December 1593 the players Bryan, Heminges, Kemp, Phillips, Pope, and Cowley who had been on tour with Alleyn were looking for a new patron.

Conditions for the players were harsh in 1593/4, with the theaters mostly closed because of the plague. At the end of September 1593 Pembroke's were "all at home and hauffe ben this v or sixe weackes for they cane not save ther carges with trauell as I heare & weare fayne to pane ther parrel." (90) From then onwards, beginning with Peelets Edward I (SR 8 October 1593), a number of plays were sold to publishers and appeared on the market. Until quite recently it was believed that the texts of many of the plays published between October 1593 and the summer of 1594 were cobbled together by actors from memory. In the text of A Knack P. E. Bennett found "considerable evidence for the hyopthesis that [it] is a bad quarto memorially reconstructed by the actors who had previously played in it" (91) and, originally, I concurred with his conclusion. (92)

My former view about the "badness" of A Knack was influenced by the pathbreaking work of W. A. Pollard and W. W. Greg at the beginning of the last century. Pollard's and Greg's orthodoxy has since been challenged by Paul Werstine, (93) Laurie F. Maguire, (94) and others. (95) According to Maguire, Edward I, The Life and Death of Jack Straw (SR 23 October 1593), and Orlando Furioso (SR 7 December 1593), which had all been condemned as "bad," are not memorial reconstructions. She is noncommittal regarding A Knack to Know a Knave, considering memorial reconstruction "possible." She notes, though, that "the play is thematically very coherent, dealing with human justice in plot, speech and image." (96) Recent investigationst (97) of Shake-spearan texts long considered "bad quartos" have convinced me that there was nothing "stolne" or "surreptitious" about the 1594 quarto of A Knack and that, despite evidence of corruption, it probably gives a reasonably accurate rendering of the play as it was performed by Alleyn and his company. When, after more than seven months touring, the players returned to London, they first sold the playbooks of Orlando (SR 7 December 1593) and of A Knack (SR 7 January 1594).

As was the case with the Orlando quarto, the playbook of A Knack, as published by Richard Jones, would have been different from the script Greene had sold to the players. It suffered alterations that cannot be explained by memorial reconstruction. There are lines (453-55, 524-25) directly transcribed from Lyly's Euphues and others (425-32, 1183-92, 1680-83) from Greene's Gwydonious, The Card of Fancy. (98) These borrowings from prose texts remain in prose. although they appear in verse passages, which suggests that they were put in by the printer when preparing the text for the press. (99) With its 1,897 lines A Knack is shorter than Greene's canonical plays. Laurie Maguire lists a number of plausible arguments for the supposition that the extant text of A Knack was abridged and adapted for provincial performance. (100) I suspect that the source copy for the printer was one of those "rough version[s] cobbled together from cut or minimal texts developed in the process of theatre production." (101)

That Greene's original play underwent changes in performance is also suggested by what the title page advertises as "Kemps applauded Merrimentes of the men of Goteham, in receiuing the King into Goteham." When we look for these "Merrimentes" we find a short scene of three tradesmen who "constult among our selues, how to misbehaue ourselues to the Kings worship," before they submit a petition "to haue a license to brew strong Ale thrise a week; and he that comes to Goteham, and will not spende a penie on a pot of Ale, if he be a drie, that he may fast." The jokes are feeble and would hardly have called forth the applause mentioned on the title page. (102) The innocuous banter between Smith, Miller, and Cobbler seems to have served as a springboard for Kemp's famed improvisations. His extemporized merriments were not put on paper and have not survived. They were independent of the plot and served as comic entertainment in the middle of the performance, without affecting the rest of the play. There are, however, reasons for believing that the insertion of Kemp's improvisations was not the only change that the actors made to Greene's original script.

The main plot of A Knack is about the unmasking and punishment of four knaves--a hypocritical priest, a flattering courtier, a greedy farmer, and a double-crossing conycatcher. While King Edgar allows Honesty, an allegorical character, to go after the "caterpillars as corrupt the commonwealth" and personally helps him to catch one of them, he is himself subject to carnal temptation. In the subplot the King commands Earl Ethenwald to woo "beauteous" Alfrida to become his concubine. After a short internal struggle Ethenwald decides to court Alfrida for himself He wins her love and her father's permission to marry her. Returning to the King he tells him that Alfrida is fit for an earl but not good enough for England's king. The King, who is shown a picture of Alfrida by the devious courtier Perin, realizes that he has been hoodwinked and resolves to visit Alfrida himself Ethenwald tries to trick the King by presenting him the kitchen maid as Alfrida and vice versa, but the King sees through the scheme. Feeling betrayed, he determines to kill the faithless earl, but Bishop Dunston stops the King by calling up the devil Asmoroth. At first sight the Edgar-Ethenwald-Alfrida subplot seems very much in Greene's vein. (103) There are other plays by Greene, where a lustful ruler sends out a nobleman to woo a young woman for his own pleasure. But in design, language, and tone the proxy-wooing subplot in A Knack is unlike those in James IV and Friar Bacon. Alfrida's part, which has only fifty-one lines and no speech longer than eleven lines, is much shorter than those of Greene's heroines. Margaret's part in Friar Bacon (255 lines) is five times longer than Alfrida's, which seems to have been cut drastically. Alfrida is not very convincingly drawn and no longer one of "Greene's favorite thematic archetypes, the virtuous pastoral heroine." (104) The depiction of constant, noble, forgiving women has been considered one of Greene's strong points. There is some doubt about the constancy of Alfrida, who is eager to dazzle the King with her finery, and naively (or is it slyly?) gives away her husband's scheme to trick the King with the kitchen-maid.

The closer one looks at the proxy-wooing scenes in A Knack the less they resemble those in Greene's plays. Not only do they differ from Greene's work, but also from the rest of A Knack. The language in Ethenwald's part, particularly in his three soliloquies, is more varied than Greene's, the imagery, often taken from nature, more forceful. In Ethenwald's speeches the ornamental classical allusions that Greene sprinkled excessively through his work are used sparsely and ironically. Most strikingly, the speeches that seem atypical of Greene have a distinct structural function. They build up tension, create atmosphere, produce comical situations and add a psychological dimension to character.

Stylistic inconsistencies in A Knack were noticed, almost a century ago, by H. Dugdale Sykes, to whom it seemed certain "that the text has been freely altered." Sykes, who believed that A Knack was originally written by Peele, detected the presence of an another author, "a smooth versifier in a style unlike Peele's." He thought that traces of a different hand "appear after the entry of Ethenwald ... they are most palpable in the scenes in which he figures (i.e., in the Edgar-Afrida plot) and vanish altogether with his disappearance." (105)

A short soliloquy illustrates what may have struck Sykes. After a scene in which Honesty sets a trap for Coneycatcher, and arranges to meet him the next day, "upon the Exchange at eight o'clock," Ethenwald enters alone. The audience whichhad been engrossed in the main action of the play is reminded by Ethenwald's soliloquy that there is another story line, the courting of a concubine for the King:
  Ethen.The night drawes on, & Phoebus is declining
  towards the West.
  Now shepheards bear their flocks vnto the folds,
  And wintred Oxen fodered in their stalles
  Now leaue to feede, and gin to take their rest,
  Blacke duskie cloudes inuyron round the globe,
  And heauen is couered with a Sable robe.
  Now am I come to doe the kings command.
  To court a Wench & win her for the King.
  But if I tyke her well, I say no more,
  Tis good to haue a hatch before the dore:
  But first I will moue her Father to prefer
  The earnest suit I haue in canuasing,
  So may I see the Maid, woo, wed, I and bed her too:
  Who is here? what ho. (106)

The first six lines anchor the scene in time--evening--and place--the countryside. They create an atmosphere of calm, but also of mystery. The subsequent lines build up suspense: What will Ethenwald do? Will he court the wench for the King or for himself? To the casual oberver it would seem to be immaterial at what time of day Ethenwald arrives to do his courting. But Os-rick's words of welcome show that the description of nightfall serves a purpose:
  Your Honor shall repose you here to night,
  And earlie as you please begin your taske,
  Tyme serves not now, come, Ethenwald,
  As welcome asthe King himselfe to me. (107)

The audience can now safely shift its attention back to the main plot. The short, apparently pointless scene helps to bridge the time to "tomorrow ... at eight o'clock," when Coneycatcher is to meet Honesty for the encounter that will seal his fate.

The attention to time for structural purposes (108) and the use of the night as a begetter of mood are typical for one playwright: Shakespeare. Unlike Greene, who never used the night as a dramatic device, Shakespeare was a master at exploiting its potential. Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard 3, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream all have memorable nocturnal scenes.

Compare the description of nightfall in A Knack with the one in the poem Venus and Adonis, written and published less than a year after the first performance of the play:
  'Look, the world's comforter, with weary gait
  His day's hot task hath ended in the west.
  The owl, night's herald, shrieks 'tis very late;
  The sheep are gone to fold, birds to their nest,
  And coal-black clouds that shadow heaven's light,
  Do summon us to part and bid good night.

  (11. 529-34)

Both passages are fairly standard, in the tradition of chronographies by Ovid or Virgil. What is noteworthy is the similarity of the imagery in the six lines at the beginning of Ethenwald's soliloquy and in the stanza of Venus and Adonis: 1. Setting of the sun. 2. Animals going to their rest. 3. Black clouds gathering in the sky. One and the same mind, freely associating similar thoughts, seems to be at work.

There are further parallels: In both passages the sun is personified and the west is specifically mentioned (at the end of a line) as his destination. Both passages describe an evening in the country with sheep going to their fold. In A Knack oxen 'gin to take their rest,' in Venus and Adonis 'birds go to their nest'--a variation of the same theme with different creatures. In both passages a short sentence of four syllables tells us roughly what time of day it is:

"The night draws on.." (A Knack)

"T'is very late" (Venus and Adonis)

In A Knack "heaven is covered with a sable robe," whilst in Venus and Adonis "heaven's light" is shadowed by clouds. The clouds are "black-duskie" in A Knack, "coal-black" in Venus and Adonis. After the leisurely description of dusk both passages turn briskly to a statement of the speaker's purpose, both beginning with the adverb "now":

"Now am I come to do the king's command;"

(A Knack)

"Now let me say good night, and so say you:"

(Venus and Adonis, 1.535)

What are we to make of these "Shakespearean" touches in this shortest (twenty-six lines) of all the scenes of A Knack ? The similarities in diction between the two passages hint at the possibilty that Shakespeare had a hand (109) or at least a finger in A Knack. Was it the the actor and play-mender Shake-speare, who, for structural reasons, inserted the scene of Ethenwald's arrival at Osrick's house into A Knack? If this was the case, it is not likely that the interpolation of an innocuous scene would have annoyed Greene. As we know from the fate of Orlando Furioson (110) he was used to actors taking liberties with his texts. There is, though, evidence of more drastic mending that would have infuriated the university educated "Arch-plaimaking poet."

Greene's protagonists who court fair maidens invariably resort to mythological allusions. In Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Prince Edward compares Queen Eleanor to Helen of Troy and the nymph Daphne:
  Should Paris enter in the courts of Greece
  And not lie fettered in fair Helen's looks?
  Or Phoebus'scape those piercing amorets
  That Daphne glanced at his deity?
  Can Edward then sit by a flame and freeze,
  Whose heat puts Helen and fair Daphne down? (111)

Similar extravagant comparisons are found in A Knack. Looking at Alfrida's picture King Edgar exults:
  A face more faire than is the Suns bright beames,
  Or snow white Alpes beneath faire Cynthea,
  Who would refuse with Hercules to spin,
  When such faire faces bears us companie.
  Faire Polyxena neuer was so faire:
  Nor she that was proud loue to Troylus.
  Great Alexanders loue, Queen of Amazons,
  Was not so faire as is faire Alfrida. (112)

When the King orders Ethenwald to woo the girl, he explicitly tells him to use classical courting formulas that are not much different from those we find in Greene:
  And tell her this, we heare she is as wyse,
  As eloquent and ful of oratory, as Thaly was,
  daughter of Iupiter
  Whose speaches was so pleasing mong the Greeks
  That she was tearmde a second Socrates.
  For some report, women hue to be praised;
  Then in my cause I pray thee loue thou Alfrida. (113)

Ethenwald. all eager and obedient, promises to use equally hgh-flown, pre-postereous rhetoric:
  I will, my Lord, woe her in your behalfe,

  Plead loue for you, and straine a sigh to show
  your passions,
  I will say she is fayrer than the Dolphins eie,
  At whome amazde the night stars stand and gaze,

  Then will I praise her chin and cheeke, and prety hand,
  Long made like Venus, when she usde the harp,
  When Mars was reueling in Ioues high house,
  Besides, my Lord, I will say she hath a pace,
  Much like to Juno in Idea vale,
  When Argus watcht the Heifer on the mount:
  These words, my Lord, will make her loue, I am sure;
  If these will not my Lord, I haue better far. (114)

Strikingly, when Ethenwald courts Alfrida for himself he does so in a style that is completely at odds with the rhetoric that he had given the King a sample of:
OSRICK     How fares my L. of Ciornwel, what displeased Or troubled
           with a mood that's male content?

ETHENWALD  Not male content, and yet I am not well, For I am
           troubled with a painfull rume, That when I would be
           mery, troubles me, And commonlie it holds me in my eies,
           With such extreames that I can scantly see.

OSRICK.    How long haue you been troubled with the pain, Or is it
           a pain that you haue vsuall? Or is it some water that,
           by taking cold, Is falne into your eies and troubles

ETHENWALD  I cannot tel, but sure it paines me much, Nor did it
           euer trouble me till nowe, For till I came to lodge
           within your house, My eies were cleare, and I neuer felt
           the paine.

OSRICK     I am sory that my house shuld cause your grief Daughter,
           if you haue any skil at all, I pray you, vse your
           cunning with the Earle, And see if you can ease him of
           his paine.

ALFRIDA.   Father, such skill as I receiued of late, By reading
           many pretie pend receites, Both for the ache of head,
           and paine of eyes. I wil, if so it please the Earle to
           accept it, Indeuour what I may to comfort him. My Lord,
           I haue waters of approued worth, And such as are not
           common to be found: Any of which, if it please your
           honour vse them, I am in hope, will help you to your

ETHENWALD  No (matchlesse Alfrida) they will doe me no good. For I
           am troubled only when I looke.

ALFRIDA    On what (my Lord) or whome?

ETHENWALD  I cannot tell.

ALFRIDA    Why let me see your eies (my Lord) looke vpon me.

ETHENWALD  Then twil be worse.

ALFRIDA    What, if you look on me? then lie be gone.

ETHENWALD  Nay stay, sweet loue, stay beauteous Alfrida, And giue
           the Earle of Cornwel leaue to speake: Know Alfrida, thy
           beautie hath subdued, And captiuate the Earle of
           Cornwels heart Briefly, 1 louethee, seeme I neere so
           bold. So rude and rashlie to prefer my sute, And if your
           father giue but his consent, Eased be that paine that
           troubles Ethenwald. And, this considered, Osricke shall
           prooue My father, and his daughter be my loue, Speake
           Osrick, shall I haue her I or no?

OSRICK     My Lord, with al my hart, you haue my consent, If so my
           daughter please to condiscend.

ETHENWALD  But what saith Alfrida?

ALFRIDA    I say (my Lord) that seing my father grants, I will not
           gainsay, what his age thinks meet: I do appoint my selfe
           (my Lord) at your dispose,

ETHENWALD  Wei Osrick, nowe you see your daughter's mine, But tel
           me when shall be the wedding day,

OSRICK     On Monday next; till then you are my guest. (115)

The scene in A Knack makes fun of the renaissance convention of the tearful lover. Love is compared to the trivial complaint of a rheum. Instead of Greene's romanticism (116) the playgoers get comedy bordering on farce. The playgoer, unlike Alfrida and her father, suspects that Ethenwald only pre-t4ends to be "troubled with a painfull rume." The discrepancy between the awareness of the audience and that of the two characters make for a fine comic effect. Giving the audience an advantage of awareness is a staple of Shakespeare's craftsmanhisp.

In Shakespeare's plays, like in the wooing scene of A Knack, rheum is often feigned to hide true feelings. An example is the scene in Antony and Cleopatra, where Agrippa says
  When Antony found Julius Caesar dead,
  He cried almost to roaring; and he wept
  When at Philippi he found Brutus slain.


  and Enobarus answers
  That year, indeed, he was troubled with a rheum;


We also find "rheum" standing for make-believe or deception in King John ("Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes, For villany is not without such rheum" 4.3.107-8), Much Ado About Nothing (5.2.74), Richard II (1.4.8), Coriolanus ("At a few drops of women's rheum, which are / As cheap as lies" (5.6.45-46). Othello simulates a rheum to find out whether Desdemona was unfaithul: "I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me; / Lend me thy handkerchief" (Othello, 3.4.51-52)

Greene never uses the word "rheum." The association of rheum with deceit seems to be a quirk of Shakespeare's mind and appears to be unique amongst playwrights of his time. The author of the wooing scene seems to have one overriding concern: to entertain the audience. The groundlings at the Rose were not likely to listen patiently to elaborate declarations of love in the style of Prince Edward praising Queen Elinor in Friar Bacon. On the other hand spectators would have enjoyed the rheum antics, which allowed the actor impersonating Ethenwald to show off his talent as a comedian. The scene, full of action, is bound to keep even an unruly public's attention. One can picture the gestures and movements of the actors: Ethenwald pretends suffering, Osrick approaches him to see what is wrong, he asks Alfrida to help the guest, Alfrida goes to inspect Ethenwald's eyes, Ethenwald turns away, she makes for the door, he holds her back and makes his marriage proposal.

The whole spirit of the scene is more reminiscent of irreverent Shakespeare than of maudlin Greene. Greene took renaissance romantic conventions seriously, the genial sceptic Shakespeare was more cynical. The forthright wooer Ethenwald has little in common with Greene's silver-tongued lovers. He is a forerunner of Petrucchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Berowne (B iron) in Love's Labour's Lost or of blunt Harry in Henry V: "I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say 'I love you' "(5.2.127).

Berowne expresses Shakespeare's witty disrespect for the rhetorical courting conventions that Greene still followed:
  O, never will I trust to speeches penned,
  Nor to the motion of a schoolboy's tongue,
  Nor never come in visor to my friend,
  Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper's song.
  Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
  Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation,

  Figures pedantical--these summer flies
  Have blown me full of maggot ostentation.
  I do forswear them, and I here protest,
  By this white glove--how white the hand, God knows!--
  Henceforth my wooing mind shall be expressed,
  In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes.


"Figures pedantical" is what Ethenwald promised to use in his wooing on the King's behalf. (117) When it comes to the actual courting of Alfrida, Ethen-wald has "words better far" than those he rehearsed before the King. Thalia, Venus and Juno are not pressed into service: instead Ethenwald relies on "russet yeas and honest kersey noes." John Russell Brown has noted: "Shakespeare also knew the value of a simple vocabulary 'Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief' and took as much delight in a rock-hard 'yes' or 'no' as in the creation of a long line of hyperboles or brilliant conceits." (118) Brown reminds us that "words obsessed Shakespeare," "that in almost every scene of every play his characters speak about the use of words" and that "almost every character of significance is alive to the power of words, aware of what they can do, how they can be managed, or how they may be received." (119) Ethenwald, like Shakespeare's characters, is "alive to the power of words" and manipulates them skillfully. If, as I suspect, the actor/reviser Shakespeare did sneak an unconventional, straightforward woo-ing scene into Greene's play, the scholar-poet Greene, Vtriusque Acadetniae in Artibus Magister, (120) would not have been amused. The established playmaker might have viewed the lines "These words, my lord, will make her Jove, I am sure; / If these will not, my lord, I have better far" as a gauntlet thrown down by the arrogant newcomer. "Words better far" than Greene's who thought himself "exquisite" in the "facultie" of writing plays? Who does this impertinent upstartthink he is? The only Shake-scene in the country?

In this context we may remember the words that the anonymous author of The Second Part of the Return from Parnassus put into the mouth of Will Kemp, the very clown whose "Merrimentes" were advertised on the title page of A Knack. When Richard Burbage, who, like Kemp is a character in the play, suggests that the Cambridge scholars "will be able to pen a part," Kemp replies scornfully: "Few of the university pen plaies well, they smell too much of that writer Ovid, and that writer Metamorphoses, and taike too much of Proserpina & Jupiter. Why heres our fellow Shakespeare put them all downe ..." (121)

The author of the the play, which was acted no later than Christmas 1602 at St. John's College (where Greene had been a sizar two decades earlier), must have come into contact with Kemp and Burbage, when the Chamberlain's Men visited Cambridge in 1594/5 or at an unrecorded later date. The character Kemp's comment seems to be an accurate rendering of the famous clown's view of the university playwrights. When Kemp says "our fellow Shakespeare put them all downe," what does he mean? Does he refer to Shakespeare poking fun at plays submitted by university poets?

In A Knack there is one speech given by Ethenwald that looks like a parody of the plays that smell too much of that "writer Ovid, and that writer Metamorphoses, and talke too much of Proserpina & Jupiter" After courting Al-frida for himself, Ethanwald returns to the King to report on his mission:
KING        Ethenwald welcome, how fares our beautious loue, Be
            breefe man, what, will she loue or no?

ETHENWALD   Then as your Grace did giue to me in charge, I have
            dischargde my dutie euery way, And communed with
            the maid you so commend: For when the Sun, rich
            Father of the day, Eie of the world, King of the
            spangled vale, Had run the circuit of the Horizon,
            And that Artofelex, the nights bright star, Had
            brought fair Luna from the purpled mayne, Where she
            was dallying with her wanton loue, To lend her
            light to wearie traueilers, Then twas my chance to
            arriue at Osricks house: But being late, I could
            not then vnfolde The message that your Grace had
            giuen in charge: But in the morne Aurora did
            appeare, At sight of whom the Welkin straight did
            cleare. Then was the spangled vale of heauen drawne
            in, And phoebus rose lyke heauens imperiall King:
            And ere the Sun was mounted fiue degrees The maid
            came downe and gaue me the good day.

KING        But being come, what said she then? How likest thou
            her, what is she faire or no?

ETHENWALD   My Lord, she is colloured lyke the Scythia Maide,
            That challenged Lucio at the Olympian games, Well
            bodied, but her )face was something blacke, Lyke
            those that follow household businesse: Her eies
            were hollow sunke into her head, Which makes her
            haue a cloudie countenance. She hath a pretie
            tongue, I must confesse, And yet (my Lord) she is
            nothing eloquent.

KING        Why then (my Lord) theres nothing good in her.

ETHENWALD   Yes my Lord, she is fit to serue an Earle or so,
            But far unfit for Cdgar Englands King. (122)

Mockery of classical imagery is not the main goal of the author/reviser of the speech. He attempts to increase the play's theatrical effectiveness and give the actor playing Ethenwald an opportunity to shine. Having betrayed the King's trust by wooing Alfrida for himself, Ethenwald has the embarassing (and dangerous) task of reporting the result of his mission to the King. The King is still in the dark, but the audience knows that Ethenwald has double-crossed him. The advantage in awareness that the audience enjoys over a character lends itself to dramatic exploitation. Ethenwald's report, innocuous enough when read, can be richly comical and full of suspense when well acted.

The scene exploits the linguistic vice of answering something irrelveant to what is asked (heterogenium), a simple but effective dramatic artifice that we find e.g., in Romeo and Juliet (2.4.35-69), where Juliet, who impatiently demands news from Romeo, has to listen to endless irrelevant musings by the Nurse, before she finally gets the answer she has been pining for. Greene lacked the dramatic craftsmanship that would have allowed him to keep the audience on tenterhooks, while at the same time making it laugh. It took an actor-playwright of Shakespeare's caliber to be able to play with the spectators' anticipation and to fashion an exciting scene out of a simple incident like the delivering of a message. (123)

In Ethenwald's report to the King there is a baffling classical reference which does not seem to make sense. He describes Alfrida: "My lord, she is coloured like the Scythia maid, / That challenged Lucio at the Olympian games." (124) Who was this Scythia[n] maid and who was Lucio? And what did they compete in at the Olympian games? Wrestling? The whole reference seems absurd. (125) Greene had the tiresome habit of inventing pseudoclassical names and allusions, (126) but he kept them to his prose romances. The graduate of both universities would not have placed a character with the Italianate name of Lucio at the Greek Olympic Games, and he would also have known that women were barred from these games. In the whole of Greene's works no Lucio can be found and he always refers to the Olympiades not the Olympian Games:

Did the strange allusion get into A Knack as the result of memorial reconstruction and faulty memory? Hardly. The lines are metrically correct and the rest of Ethenwald's speech is perfectly coherent. It seems more likely that the allusion was an insider joke (with its meaning now lost on us) that was inserted by a reviser of Greene's work. That the young Shakespeare could have been the tamperer is suggested by his familiarity with the terms in the strange passage. In Shakespeare we come across the Olympian games (in 3 Henry VI): "And if we thrive, promise them such rewards / As victors wear at the Olympian games." (2.3.52-53) We encounter a Scythian maid (who succes-fully challenged a man in combat) in / Henry VI: " I shall as famous be by this exploit/ As Scythian Tomyris by Cyrus' death. (2.3.5-6) And Lucio? Shakespeare would later use the name for a character--Lucio, a fantastic in Measure for Measure, and a "Lucio and the lively Helena" complete Capulet's list of invited guests (Romeo and Juliet, 1.2.72). There is also, for what it's worth, a Lucie (or Sir William Lucy) in the Bordeaux scenes of I Henry VI, Vincent calls Lucie a "pecularly Shakespearean character" and emphasises "is not only an after-thought but a 'troublesome afterthought.' " (127)

Shakespeare was amused by pseudoclassical allusions and used them in one of his plays. In Twelfth Night the clown Feste ascribes a proverbial saying to an imaginary philosopher:

"For what says Quinapalus?--'Better a witty fool than a foolish wit." (1.5.32-3). In the same play Sir Andrew Aguecheek praises Feste for making up learned nonsense names
  In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night,
  when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus,
  of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queuhus


Is it far-fetched to suggest that Shakespeare, in "very gracious fooling" himself, invented "the Scythia maid that challenged Lucio at the Olympian games," and that these nonsense characters are precursors of "Pigrogromitus of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Quebus"? (128) Greene would not have appreciated being ridiculed by the upstart's fabrication of pseudoclassical allusion.

The vocabulary, the imagery, the word clusters, the jingles and puns in Ethenwald's part have more in common with the young Shakespeare's art than with Greene's. The same applies for the cadences, the rhythm and flow of the verse, as well as the comparatively high number of feminine endings in Ethenwald's speeches. (129) I have pointed out parallels between Ethenwald's part and Shakespeare in The Rare Wit and the Rude Groom (130) and will not rehash them here.

In Ethenwald's three soliloquies we can detect "Shakespearen" ingredients that we look for in vain in Greene's monologues. The differences between Lacy's soliloquy in Friar Bacon and Ethenwald's similar address to himself in A Knack are instructive. In both plays the situation is the same: Lacy and Ethenwald are sent to woo a girl to be their master's concubine, wrestle with their conscience, and finally decide to court the girl for themselves.
Friar Bacon:                 A Knack:

LACY                         ETHENWALD
Daphne, the damsel           My fancies thoughts,
that caught Phoebus          lyke the labouring
fast, And lock'd him         Spyder, That spreads her
in the brightness of         nets, to entrap the
her looks, Was not so        sillie Flie:
beauteous in                 Or lyke the restlesse
Apollo's eyes                billowes of the seas,
As is fair Margaret          That euer alter by
to the Lincoln Earl.         the fleeting ayre,
Recant thee, Lacy,           Still houering past
thou art put in trust:       their woonted passions,
Edward, thy sovereign's      Makes me amazed in
son, hath chosen thee,       these extremities.
A secret friend, to          The King commands me
court her for himself,       on his embassage,
And dar'st thou wrong        To Osricks daughter,
thy prince with treachery?   beauteous Alfrida,
Lacy, love makes no          The height and pride
exception of a friend,       of all this bounding ill;
Nor deems it of a            To poste amaine, plead
prince but as a man.         loue in his behalfe,
Honour bids thee             To court for him,
control him in his lust;     and woo, and wed
His wooing is not            the mayd, But haue you
for to wed the girl,         neuer heard that theame,
But to entrap her            Deceit in loue is
and beguile the lass.        but a merriment,
Lacy, thou lov'st,           To such as seeke a
then brook not such          rivall to preuent,
abuse, But wed her,          Whether (distraught) romes
and abide thy                my unruly thoughts,
prince's frown--             It is the King I cosen of his choise,
For better die               And he nil brook Earl
than see her                 Ethenwald should prooue
live disgrac'd. (131)        False to his Prince, especially
                             in loue. (132)

While there are similarities in thought and diction between the two solilo-quies, their opening lines are totally different. Lacy's soliloquy starts with a conventional classical simile comparing Margaret's beauty to the nymph Daphne's in Greek mythology. Ethenwald's, on the other hand, expresses his inner turmoil in two vivid images which stand out in a play that is "notable for the baldness of its imagery." (133)

The working of Ethenwald's mind is rather daringly compared to a labouring spider and to restless billows. These similies have the qualities but also the defects of Shakepeare's early imagery. As Wolfgang Clemen noted long ago, the young Shakespeare used imagery for decorative purposes, which, as in Henry VI, could make them seem "superfluous, mere 'padding'. There is good evidence for this in the fact that to one image or comparison a second, expressing the same thing, is added, linked with the first by the particle or. One image would have been quite sufficient, but the accumulation of images shows that the pleasure of finding nice comparisons is still the chief motive." (134)

The second image, "Or tyke the restlesse billowes of the seas, / That euer alter by the fleeting ayr, / Still houering past their woonted passions," is nebulous. A. E Falconer's study of Shakespeaere's sea imagery (135) may help us to make sense of it. He points out that in Shakespeare's description of waves "most frequent are words that have nothing to do with what waves are in themselves but convey feelings about them blind, ruthless, ruffian, chidden--that might arise in an onlooker." (136) In 2 Henry IV the King speaks of "the visitation of the winds,"
  Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
  Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
  With deafing clamour in the slippery clouds.

  (3.1. 23-24)

The image of the wind blowing the top of the waves away and hanging them in the clouds describes the same natural phenomenon as the little billows vignette in A Knack. Falconer explains: "The wind has its greatest effect on the crest of the waves, tending to drive them faster than the main body and thus causing them to break. In a virulent wind, 'sprindrift,' a sort of driving spray, is swept from their tops and is carried along the surface of the water, flying like a vapour or rising in clouds:" (137) The boldness and complexity of the billows-image, as well as the specific choice of words, as good as eliminate Greene as its author, who, as F. I. Carpenter noted, more than a century ago, uses "few striking and original metaphors" and whose "nature images are few and not vividly rendered." (138)

Ethenwald, who boldly defies the King in order to follow his heart's desire, who, when struggling with his conscience, cooly analyzes his own state of mind, who rationally ponders the consequences of his actions, who uses his imagination and his command of words to achieve his goals, who cynically reflects on the frailty of woman, (139) and who is not afraid of taking extreme risks, strikes me as a very Shakespearean character. Peter Holbrook considers the "fascination with characters who justify their existence through native wit and energy, without reference to conventional systems of value" "a pervasive feature of Shakespeare's writing." (140) Ethenwald is such a character. Greene, for all his qualities, lacked the skill to create a complex figure like the devious, ingenious, strong-willed lover Ethenwald.


The eye-catching, peculiar features in Ethenwald's part are typical of Shakespeare and they find an echo in Shakespeare's canonical plays. They appear to be beyond Greene's range as a dramatist. I believe that these features were added to A Knack, when Shakespeare oversaw the play's production for Strange's Men in May/June 1592 and rewrote Ethenwald's part. (141)

If, as I suggest, Shakespeare mended A Knack to Know a Knave, he would have done so at speed and under pressure to meet a deadline ("overnight"). And he would have done it in a rather perfunctory way, without fully engaging his creative imagination, but (to quote Ben Jonson) relying on his "excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped." (142) Admittedly, the verse is rhythmycally flat and not of the high quality we associate with Shakespeare. But if Ethenwald's lines strike us as ordinary, we have to keep in mind that a reviser's work did not include writing immortal poetry.. Competent dramatic craftsmanship was called for not scintillatingt verse.. As Geoffrey Bullough put it: " Mastery of construction indeed seems to have preceded his mastery of poetic imagery and texture; Shakespeare was a fine dramatist before he became a finished poet." (143)

The conjecture that Shakespeare revised the part of Ethenwald gets support from the research of Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern, who show just how important the "part" was not only for the actor Shakespeare but also for the playwright Shakespeare. They remind us "that this astonishing writer was--already and always an actor. Before he ever got close to getting one of his own plays on the main stage, he was working on other people's plays. As an actor, there was effectively no such thing as 'the play-text': or rather, his part was the play-text in so far as he ever got hold of it. The part supplied the whole; or if it didn't, the young Shakespeare must have imaginatively filled out the gaps so as to make it do exactly that. Like any actor, he might have wished his parts better, fuller, funnier," (144) And, on at least one occasion, he may have done something to make a part, Ethenwald's in A Knack, "better, fuller, funnier."

We have no idea who played what character in the 1592/3 performances of A Knack by Strange's Men, except that Kemp impersonated one of the tradesmen and that Alleyn had the leading role. But what was the leading role? The longest part was the King's (338 lines), (145) the second longest Honesty's (264 lines). Ethenwald's part has only 186 lines, but with its three prominent solil-oquies and its scope for comical gesturing it is by far the most exciting for an actor. Did Shakespeare, if he did mend the part, improve it for himself or for one of his fellows? It is tempting to imagine that he did play Ethenwald, which would make Greene's anger even more understandable. Katherine Duncan-Jones has recently put forward the suggestion that Shakespeare's tampering with Greene's lines (as an improvising actor rather than as a reviser) may have been one of the reasons for the attack in Groats worth: "If the pushy player did improve and expand lines that he delivered in plays originally composed by Greene and his friends, that would be sure to annoy the original poets--and all the more so if these turned out to be the lines to which audiences responded most strongly." (146)

The superior stagecraft that distinguishes the proxy-wooing scenes in A Knack from similar matter in Greene's Friar Bacon and James 1V points to Shakespeare as the author/reviser of Ethenwald's part. Did he rewrite Ethenwald's part completely or did he keep some of Greene's thoughts and lines? Did he confine himself to revising Ethenwald's speeches or did he also alter those of the other characters in the subplot? Questions remain, but I think I have made a prima facie case for Shakespeare's revising hand in the play. New methods of stylistic authorship attribution should render it possible to either verify or falsify my hypothesis. In the last two or three decades computational stylistics has made considerable progress and, although on occasions its practitioners have gone astray, (147) it is has become a useful diagnostic tool for the determination of authorship. (148)

Every author has his own compositional and linguistic habits, making up a verbal fingerprint or DNA. Arthur E Kinney calls it a demonstrable fact "that authors tend to draw on the same set of words in their various works. Whatever vast range of words they may know, or recognize, when they write, they write within a narrower lexicon, a lexicon that comes naturally in composition. While an author can always extend his or her range of active words--almost every new work introduces some new words the strong tendency always is to revert to familiar and customary word usage; it is these words, along with words an author rarely or never uses, however common in the culture, that establish a good basis for discriminating one author from another and, in many cases, identifying an author." (149) Or as MacDonald P Jackson put it: "In fact most authors do repeat themselves in ways that distinguish their writing from others." (150)

If we accept that Shakespeare mended or revised plays, his own and others', (151) if we accept that he was with Strange's Men in the spring of 1592, if we accept Greene's authorship of A Knack to Know a Knaveand if we accept that scenes in the subplot and the speeches given to the character Ethenwald are, in many respects, unlike Greene's, then the question of Shakespeare's putative revision of the subplot of A Knack deserves further study. (152)

Even if the 1594 quarto of A Knack should be based on memorial reconstruction or on an abridged script used in provincial performance, Ethenwald's part is remarkably free of the corruption that mars other passages in the play. The verse is serviceable and there are few unresolvable lexical or logical problems. Nothing, therefore, stands in the way of subjecting the lines spoken by Ethenwald to computational stylistic analysis,

To sum up my reading of what happened: In April/May 1592 Greene (with or without the help of Nashe) wrote A Knack to Know a Knave, a play that was intended to cash in on the succes of his conycatching pamphlets. The social and economic discontent that was rife at the time would make a satirical play exposing "caterpillers as corrupt the common welth" topical and popular. For his romantic subplot Greene rehashed the proxy-wooing motif of his Friar Bacon. When Strange's Men received Greene's script they were dissatisfied with a subplot which seemed to reek "too much of that writer Ovid, and that writer Metamorphoses." Shakespeare, whether on his own initiative or asked by his fellows, "mended" the play. Ever the "opportunistic craftsman ready to leap in a new direction when an occasion presented itself," (153) he transformed Greene's subplot, making it funnier and more theatrical. In his revision he concentrated on Ethenwald's part, taking care not to cause too many changes in the lines of the characters interacting with Ethen-wald. While rewriting the subplot, Shakespeare could not resist putting in some digs at Greene's fondness for fantastical and often invented classical allusions. When Greene found out about the cheeky changes the ruthless Johannes Factotum had made to his play, he was outraged. (154) Was he not "his crafts master" in "plotting Plaies"? (155) And when Strange's Men left him in the lurch, he put the blame on the callous upstart who took himself to be the "onely Shake-scene in a countrey."

Details of this hypothetical reconstruction of events may be wrong. But if state of the art stylometric analysis of Ethenwald's part and of the wooing scene should demonstrate that they were indeed written in Shakespeare's idiolect, the case for his mending hand in A Knack to Know a Knave would be compelling. We might then, at long last, have a satisfactory answer to the question of why Greene attacked Shakespeare in his Groatsworth of Wit.


(1.) John Semple Smart, Shakespeare: Truth and Tradition, 2nd ed. (London: Ox-ford University Press, 1966), 167.

(2.) Park Honan, Shakespeare: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 159.

(3.) For a recent discussion of the passage see Bart van Es, "Johannes fac Totum7: Shakespeare's First Contact with the Acting Companies," Shakespeare Quarterly 61 (2010): 351-77.

(4.) Quotations follow the reprint of the Bodley Head Quarto facsimile edition: Robert Greene, Groats-worth of Wine, bought with a million of Repentance (1592), ed. G. B. Harrison (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1966). Quotations from Greene's other prose works are from The Life and Complete Works, in Prose and Verse of Robert Greene, ed. Alexander Grosart, 15 vols. (London: 1881-86).

(5.) For a survey of critical opinion on the "upstart crow" passage see Greene's. Groatsworth of Wit: Bought with a Million of Repentance (1592), ed. D. Allen Carroll (Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1994), 131-45.

(6.) See J. Dover Wilson, "Malone and the Upstart Crow," Shakespeare Survey 4 (1951): 56-68.

(7.) Peter Alexander, Shakespeare's Life and Art (New York: New York University Press, 1961), 50-54; Samuel Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 511: "But after the dust and feathers have settled, there is no doubt (at least in this reader's mind) that Alexander has carried the day."

(8.) Peter Ackroyd, Shakespeare: The Biography (New York: Nan A. Telese, 2005), 177.

(9.) David Bevington, Shakespeare's Ideas: More Things in Heaven and Eartth (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), 9.

(10.) Charles W. Crupi, Robert Greene (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986), 13: "Greene's "yarking up" of pamphlets was not always scrupulous by modern standards, for he freely pieced out some of his works with unacknowledged translations, borrowings from other writers, and repetitions from his own earlier works."

(11.) See Stephen Orgel, The Authentic Shakespeare and other Problems of the Early Modern Age (New York: Routledge, 2002), 89-105, esp. 96: "The question of the morality of literary imitation, then, starts to appear significantly in England only after the Renaissance, and on the whole in reaction to it."

(12.) Jonathan Bate, Soul of the Age: The Life Mind and World of William Shake-speare (London: Viking, 2008), 40.

(13.) Crupi, Robert Greene, 3.

(14.) Stanley Wells, Shakespeare: For All Time (Basingstoke and Oxford: Macmillan, 2002), 49.

(15.) The quip is Bill Bryson's, Shakespeare: The World as a Stage (London: Harper Press, 2007), 143.

(16.) A. L. Rowse, Shakespeare the Man, rev. ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988), 50-51.

(17.) For arguments in favor of Chettle's authorship see Carroll, ed., Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1-31; D. Allen Carroll, "For There is an Upstart Crow," Upstart Crow (1995): 150-53; John Jowett, "Johannes Factotum: Henry Chettle and Greene's Groatsworth of Wit," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 87 (1993): 453-86), Katherine Duncan-Jones, "Shakespeare, the Motley Player," The Review of English Studies 247 (2009): 730-33.

Terence G. Schoone-Jongen, Shakespeare's Companies (Farnham: Ashgate, 2008): 17-26.

(18.) Carroll, ed., Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 6.

(19.) Warren B. Austin, A Computer-Aided Technique for Stylistic Discrimination: The Authorship of 'Greene's Groatsworth of Wit' (Washington, D.C.: US. Department of Health. Education and Welfare, 1969).

(20.) Richard Westley, "Computing Error: Reassessing Austin's Study of Groats-worth of Wit," Literary and Linguistic Computing 21 (2006): 363-78.

(21.) Henrie Chettle, Kind-Hartes Dreame (1592), ed. G. B. Harrison (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), 6-7: "I had onely in the copy this share, it was it wrtten, as sometime Greenes hand was none of the best, licensd it must be, ere it could bee printed which could neuer be if it might not be read. To be breife I writ it ouer, and as neare as I could, followed the copy, onely in that letter I put something out, but in the whole booke not a worde in, for I protest it was all Greenes, not mine nor Maister Noshes, as some vniustly haue affirmed."

(22.) Harold Jenkins, "On the Authenticiy of Greene's Groatsworth of Wit and The Repentence of Robert Greene," The Review of English Studies 11 (1935): 33; Greene's latest biographer Charles W. Crupi, Robert Greene, 32, makes the following point: "Moreover, if Chettle wrote the most famous part of the Groats-worth, the letter to Greene's fellow playwrights, it was his earliest literary effort and no convincing motive for his using the dead Greene to attack other writers has ever been offered."

(23.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groats-worth of Wine, 39.

(24.) Ibid., 42-43.

(25.) Ibid., 43.

(26.) The long passage beseeching Marlowe to abandon atheism is another telling argument against Chettle's authorship. If Chettle, as he implies in his introduction to Kind-Hartes Dreame, was not acquainted with Marlowe and did not care "if I newer be," how would he have known so much about Marlowe's views and taken so much pain to dissuade him from them?

(27.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groats-Worth of Witte, 43.

(28.) Ibid., 44.

(29.) Ibid., 44-45.

(30.) Ibid., 45.

(31.) Greene in Grosart, ed., Life and Complete Works ... of Grune, 8:128-29.

(32.) Already in Never Too Late a sour note enters. Greene uses a disquisition about the theatre in ancient Rome to draw an unflattering portrait of the famous actor Roscius: "yea, so prowde he grewe by the daylie applause of people, that he looked for honour and reuerence to bee done him in the streetes." He lets Cicero attack the actor with the words: "why, Roscius, art thou proud with Esops crow, being pranct with the glorie of others feathers? Of thy selfe thou canst say nothing, and if the Cobler hath taught thee to say Aue Caesar, disdain not thy tutor, because thou pratest in a Kings chamber: what sentence thou vtterest on the stage, flowes from the censure of our wittes, and what sentence or conceipte of the inuention the people applaud for excellent, that comes from the secrets of our knowledge. I graunt your action, though it be a kind of mechanical labour; yet wel done, tis worthie of praise: but you worth-lesse, if for so small a toy you waxe proud." (Greene in Grosart, ed., Life ... of Greene, 8:132).

(33.) See John Clark Jordan, Robert Greene (New York: Columbia University Press, 1915), 96-107; Rene Pruvost, Robert Greene et ses romans (1558-1592) (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1938), 44-53.

(34.) Cuthbert Cunny-catcher, The Defence of Conny catching or A Confutation of those two incurious Pamphlets published by R.G. against the pratctitioners of Nimble-witted and mystical Science (1592), ed. G. B. Harrison (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press., 1966), 37.

(35.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groats-werth of Witte, 45-46.

(36.) Acts of the Privy Council, 22: 264.

(37.) Henslowe's Diary, ed. R. A. Foakes and R. T. Rickert (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), 16-19.

(38.) It is highly improbable that there was another exceptionally successful Talbot play on stage in London. There is no record of any such play.

(39.) Thomas Nashe, Pierce Pennilesse. His Supplication of the Dive11 (1552), ed. G. B. Harrison (Edinburgh University Press, 1566). 87

(40.) The case for Nashe as author of act 1 of I Henry VI was first made by H. C. Hart, ed., The First Part of King Henry VI (London: Methuen, 1909), vii--I, and taken up again by Dover Wilson, ed., The First Part of King Henry VI (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952), xxi--xxxi. Dover Wilson's arguments were largely ignored until Gary Taylor, "Shakespeare and Others: The Authorship of Henry the Sixth, Part One," Medieval and Renaissance Drama in Englisand 7 (1993) again revived the idea of mulitple authorship of 1 Henry VI. Recent contributions making the case for Nashe as author of act 1 are from Paul J. Vincent, When harey Met Shake-speare: The Genesis of the First Part of Henry the Sixth, (PhD diss., University of Auckland, 2005) and Brian Vickers, "Incomplete Shakespeare: Or, Denying Coau-Worship in 1 Henry VI," Shakespeare Quarterly, 58: (2007).

(41.) Hereward T. Price, "Construction in Shakespeare," The University of Michigan Contributions in Modern Philology 17 (1951): 24-37.

(42.) Tiffany Stern, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 8-35.

(43.) Gun, The Shakespearean Playing Companies, 262: "A strong run of figures from the Stanley family goes all through the first Henriad and into Richard III, where the Earl of Derby crowns Richmond. Other Stanley references may appear in Love's Labour's Lost, where the King of Navarre is called Ferdinand, and The Taming of the Shrew, where Christopher Sly is dressed up as what Charles Nicholl calls a 'mock Lord Strange.'" Also Nicholl, A Cup of News, 206-12, For Shakespeare's relationship with Strange's Men see Lawrence Manley, "From Strange's Men to Pembroke's Men: 2 Henry VI to The first Part of the Contention," Shakespeare Quarterly 54 (2003): 253-87; also E. A. J. Honigmann, Shakespeare's Impact on his Contemporaries (London: The Macmillan Press, 1982), 59-76.

(44.) Shakespeare was always a model company man, loyal to his fellows. It may be significant that no less than six prinicpal actors--George Bryan, Richard Cowley, John Heminges, Will Kemp, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope--who, together with Shakepeare (and Burbage), would, in 1594, form the core of Lord Chamberlain's Men were with Strange's in 1592/3. See Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 49-50.

(45.) Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 53, infers "that Burbage's break with the Strange's company must have come when the Alleyns quarelled with with his father in 1591 ... He may have formed a new company to play at his father's abandoned Theatre ... Shakespeare may have been another Pembroke's man if their possession of his plays is any indication of where his early allegiance lay."

(46.) None of five plays safely associated with Pembroke's can be dated before the summer of 1592: The First Pan of the Contention, The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, The Taming of a Shrew (the revised/adapted/alternate versions respectively of Shakepeare's 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, The Taming of the Shrew), Titus Andronicus and Marlowe's Edward H. Marlowe wrote the unfinished Edward II in early 1593 before he was fatally stabbed on May 30, Titus Andronicus ("ne" on January 24, 1594) also most likely dates from 1593.

(47.) Henslowe Papers, ed. W. W. Greg (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), 3:116-18.

(48.) Greene would have known when rehearsals were scheduled. Actors were obliged to attend "all suche rehearsal which shall the night before be given publickly out." (Henslowe Papers, 3:123).

(49.) Michael Hattaway, ed., The Second Pan of King Henry VI (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 63-64, also thinks it most probable "that Shakespeare wrote the whole of the trilogy, and in the order of the events it protrays," that he "wrote the trilogy for performance by Lord Strange's Men" and that "Greene could have known 3 Henry VI, from which he parodied the 'tiger's heart' line, from performances, from manuscript of even, if the play was newly written from rehearsal."

(50.) Taylor, "Shakespeare and Others," 182: "it becomes almost impossible not the identify Henry the Sixth, Part One as the "Harey the vj" so successfully performed by Lord Strange's Men at Henslowe's playhouse, beginning on 3 March 1592. Part One thereby attains the distinction of being the only play in the Shakeapseare canon whose first performance can be dated to the day. The play also confirms Shakespeare's connection with Stranges Men."

(51.) For an overview of the playwrights' relations with Lord Strange see Charles Nicholl, A Cup of News (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), 80-98. Not only did Greene and his consorts write for Strange's Men, they also flattered Lord Strange in their printed works and attempted to gain the patronage of this rich and powerful young nobleman, who, albeit transiently, became a favorite of the Queen. As early as 1589 Greene had dedicated Ciceronis Amor to him, asking--apparently without success--to be "shrowded under the protection of so honourable a Maecenas." Peele celebrated the performance of "Derby's son and heir, brave Ferdinand" at the Accession Day Tilts of 1590. When Marlowe was arrested in January 1592 in the Low Countries he protested his innocence by saying "himself to be very well known both to the Earl of Northumberland and my Lord Strange." In Pierce Pennilesse Nashe lavished effusive praise on Strange, whom he calls "magnificent rewarde of vertue, loues Eagle-borne Ganimed, thrice noble Amyntas."

(52.) Greene, in Harrison, ed., Groats-werth of Wine, 45.

(53.) Foakes and Rickert, ed., Henslowe's Diary, 283-84.

(54.) See the Web site REED (Records of Ealy English Drama), http://link.library.utoronto.caireed/index.cfm.

(55.) Greene in Grosart, ed., Life and Complete Works ... of Greene, 11: 291.

(56.) Gabriel Harvey, Foure Letters and certaine Sonnets, especially touching Robert Greene and other parties by him abused: 1592, ed. G. B. Harrison (London: John Lane, 1923), 13.

(57.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groatsworth of Wine, 48-49.

(58.) Honigmann suggested "tentatively" that "in the period 1590-94, when the London acting companies were regrouping and a new financial strategy was called for, not only Henslowe but others may have emerged as theatrical bankers and paymasters, one for each company; one other, as the far-sighted reader has guessed, being William Shakespeare." Honigmann also reminds us of Shakespeare's later "extraordinary financial success" and his "talent for bargaining." (1-14, esp. 7-8).

(59.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groatsworth of Wine, 38.

(60.) Honan, Shakespeare: A Life, 160.

(61.) For a similar use of "in his owne conceit" see the dedication of his Ciceronis Amor to Lord Strange, where Greene writes: "Phidias pensill in his own conceit was as sharp pointed as Pigmlions chasing moles; mean wits in their follies have equall paines with learned Clarkes in their fancies." (Greene in Grosart, ed., Life and Complete Works ... of Greene, 100).

(62.) For a discussion of the various readings of Johannes Fac totum see Greene's Groatsworth, Carroll, ed., Greene's Groatsworth of Wine, 134, 138-39.

(63.) Leicester's Commonwealth: the Copy of a Letter written by a Master of Art of Cambridge (1584), ed. D. C. Peck (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1985), 107.

(64.) E.K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930), 1:217.

(65.) I remain unconvinced by arguments that Chettle's apology was directed at Peele and not Shakespeare. Why should Peele "take offence" at a letter which praises him as "no lesse deseruing than the other two, in some things rarer, in nothing inferiour"? In view of his own reckless life he could hardly have objected to Greene's comment that he was "driuen (as my selfe) to extreme shifts." it is difficult to believe that Chettle, a member of the Stationers' Company since 1584, was "not acquainted" with the city poet Peele, who had been an established figure of the London literary scene since at least 1585. But see Lukas Erne, "Biography and Mythography: Rereading Chettle's Alleged Apology to Shakespeare," English Studies 79 (1998): 430-40.

(66). Quoted in Schoenbaum, 28.

(67.) For an overview of how plays were prepared and how acting companies treated plays and playwrights see Tiffany Stern, Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Andrew Gurr, ed., The First Quarto of Henry V (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), ix, thinks that the quarto text of Henry V that was "set from an authorised playhous manuscript" offers "the best evidence we have of what routinely happened to the scripts that the Shakespeare company bought from its resdident playwright." The quarto, according to Gurr, had become "the prime case in point to test the view that the plays were radically altered between their first drafting and their first appearance on stage." There is no reason to believe that Strange's Men treated scripts differently than did Shakespeare's later company.

(68.) Sir Thomas More: A Play by Anthony Munday and Others Revised by Henry Chettle, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood and William Shakespeare, ed. Vittorio Gabrielli and Giorgio Melchiori, (Manchester: Manchester University Press,1990), 24-29.

(69.) See Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives, 245-66, esp. 245.

(70.) Ibid., 253.

(71.) Eric Rasmussen, "The Revision of Scripts" in A New History of Early English Drama, ed. John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997): 441-460, esp. 441-42.

(72.) Stern, Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan, 114.

(73.) Ibid., 12.

(74.) All quotations from Shakespeare's works follow Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005).

(75.) Greene in Harrison, ed., Groats-worth of Witte, 36.

(76.) Foakes and Rickert, ed., Henslowe's Diary, 283-85. The entry for the first beformance of A Knack can be seen in MSS 7/008r in the Henslowe-Alleyn-Digitisation project: With the plays performed before and after Henslowe gives the dates "9 of June 1592" and "12 of June 1592" with A Knack he notes "10 day." There have been suggestions that the play was performed on June 11, a Sunday, when apprentices gathered in Southwark "by occasion and pretence of their meeting at a play" and then started the riot that led to the closure of the playhouses.

(77.) A notable exception is Werner Habicht, Zum Studium der Dramenform for Shakespeare (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitatsverlag, 1968), 122-27; also Curtis Perry, Literature and Favoritism in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 137-46, who in his discussion of A Knack examines the theme of misrule and the relationship between the corruption of the realm and the king's own moral weakness. John D. Cox, The Devil and the Sacred in English Drama 1350-1642 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 132-36, traces themes and characters in A Knack to the medieval mystery plays.

(78.) Paul Esmond Bennett, ed., A Critical Edition of A Knack to Know a Knave (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1952); G. R. Proudfoot, ed., "A Critical Edition of the anonymous play 'A Knack to Know a Knave" (Oxford: unpublished dissertation, 1961).

(79.) Hanspeter Born, The Rate Wit and the Rude Groom; The Authorhsip of A Knack to Know a Knave in Relation to Greene, Mahe and Shakespeare (Bern: Francke Verlag, 1971).

(80.) Richard Simpson, The School of Shakespeare (London, 1878), 2:383, was the first one to draw attention to the possible. Nicholl, A Cup of News, 125, considered the possibility, only to reject it: "The play is too crude, however, and it would hardly have been published anonymously, as it was in 1594, if it were in fact by two such saleable authors as Greene and Nashe." Neither of Nicholl's two arguments carries much weight: A Knack may have serious defects, but it is not "crude." Title pages of plays published in 1594 or before did not mention the author' even if he was "saleable." This goes for stage hits like Tamburlaine or The Spanish Tragedy, early Shake-spearean quartos and for all of Greene's plays. The question of Nashe's hand in A Knack remains unresolved. Nashe deferred to Greene as the superior plotter and his contribution to the play would have been minor. To pin it down seems near impossible.

(81.) In an e-mail dated Februrary 7, 2011 Richard Proudfoot writes: "I still think that such indicators as there are for KKK point most persuasively to Greene and Nashe--a view slightly confirmed rather than challenged by a little more LION searching."

(82.) Habicht, Zum Studium der Dramenform, 124.

(83.) Like Orlando Fuirioso that depends on the Italian original of Ariosto the romantic subplot of A Knack relies on an Italian source in the orginal, Petruccio Ubaldino, Le Vite delle Donne Illustri (London 1591), See Born, The Rate Wit, 5-6.

(84.) In his unpublished Oxford thesis, lxix--lxx, Proudfoot writes: "To sum up, the subjects of A Knack resemble the subjects of plays and pamphlets by Greene and its tone is quite in keeping with the didactic moralising found in all the works of his repentance'; it seems to have been written in imitation of A Looking Glass; it could be regarded as reply to The Defence of Conny-catching; and, so far as we know, Greene would have had time to write it. The text contains many suggestive pararellels with Greene's known works but its corrupt stated precludes the use of these as evidence of authorship."

(85.) Norman Sanders, untitled review, The Yearbook of English Studies 3 (1973): 274.

(86.) 90. Quotations from the play are taken from A Knack to Know a Knave (1594), Proudfoot, G. R. ed. (Oxford: Malone Society Reprints, 1964).

(87.) See Karl Melnikoff, "Jones' Pen and Marlowe's Socks; Richard Jones, Print Culture, and the Beginnings of English Dramatic Literature," Studies in Philology 102 (2005): 184-209. Also Sonia Massai, Shakespeare ant the Rise of the Editor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 81-87.

(88.) See Manley, "From Strange's Men to Pembroke's Men," 279-80.

(89.) The title page of Orlando Furioso (SR 7 December 1593), sold by Strange's Men (or Alleyn personally) a month before they disposed of A Knack to Know a Knave also does not mention the company's patron but advertises it "as playd before the Queenes Maiestie."

(90.) Foakes and Rickert, ed., Henslowe's Diary, 280.

(91.) Bennett, A Critical Edution of A Knack to Know a Knave, 58.

(92.) Born, Tje Rate Wit, 8-12.

(93.) Paul Werstine, "Plays in Manuscript" in A New History of Early English Drama, ed. John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 441-97.

(94.) Laurie E. Maguire, Shakespearean suspect texts: The 'bad' quartos and their contexts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

(95.) For a recent extensive discussion of "the rise and fall of the theory of memorial reconstruction" see Gabriel Egan, The Struggle for Shakespeare's Text--Twentieth Century Editorial Theory and Pracitce (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 100-128).

(96.) Maguire, Shakespearean suspect texts, 275-76.

(97.) See Paul Werstine, "A Century of 'Bad' Shakespearean Quartos," Shakespeare Quarterly 50 (1999), 311-33; The First Quarto of King Henry V, ed. Andrew Gurr, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet, ed. Lukas Erne, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

(98.) See A Knack to Know a Knave (1594), ed., G. R. Proudfoot, vi.

(99.) That Richard Jones made editorial "improvements" in the plays he had bought is attested to by his preface to Tamburlaine. Massie, 82, speaks of "his tendency to cast himself as an arbiter of the literary qualities of the books he published."

(100.) Maguire, Shakespearean suspect texts, 330-31.

(101.) See Andrew Gurr, "Did Shakespeare Own his Own Playbooks?," The Review of English Studies 60 (2009): 206-29, esp. 229.

(102.) In his general introduction to A Select Collection of Old plays, ed. Robert Dodsley, 12 vols. (London: Septimus Prowett, 1825-27), quoted from http://infomotions.cornietexts/gutenberg/dirs/etext06/7oep610.htm, J. P. Collier writes: "unless much were left to the extemporaneous invention of the performer, or unless much has been omitted in the printed copy, which was inserted by the author in his manuscript, it is difficult at this time of day to discover in what the wit, if not the drollery, consisted. As this portion of the play has come down to us, it seems to be composed of mere ignorant and blundering buffoonery, unworthy of a comedian, who undoubtedly afterwards sustained important humorous characters in the plays of Shakespeare." Robert Hornback, The English Clown Tradition from the Middle Ages to Shakespeare (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2009), 134: "In a mere 39 lines of scripted dialogue (one suspects Kemp improvised more in performance to warrant advertising his connection to the play on the title page), the mad aldermen of Gotham are depicted as having several of the stereotypical features (even beyond ignorance) of the stage puritan."

(103.) Cox, The Devil and the Sacred, 133. "The playwright almost certainly borrowed the Ethenwald/Alfrida plot from Friar Bacon."

(104.) Crupi, Robert Greene, 133.

(105.) H. Dugdale Sykes, "The Authorship of A Knack to Know a Knave," Notes & Queries 146 (1924): 410-12.

(106.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 721-34.

(107.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 740-43.

(108.) Compare 2 Henry VI: "Well, for this night we will repose us here:/ To-morrow toward London back again, / To look into this business thoroughly." (2.1.212-14).

(109.) I exclude the possibility that Greene and Shakespeare collaborated amicably in the writing of A Knack. It seems inconceivable to me that the celebrated scholar-poet Greene, renowned for his love novellas, would have accepted a collaboration, in which the mere actor Shakespeare was entrusted with penning the romantic subplot.

(110.) W. W. Greg, Two Elizabethan Stage Abridgments: The Battle of Alcazar and Orlando Furioso (Oxford: The Malone Society, 1923), 133-34.

(111.) Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, ed. Daniel Seltzer, (London: Edward Arnold, 1963), 6-12.

(112.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1349-56.

(113.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 207-12.

(114.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 215-26.

(115.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1120-74.

(116.) A good example for a traditional wooing scene can be found in Robert Greene, The Scottish History of James the Fourth, ed. Norman Sanders, (London; Methuen, 1970):
  IDA. Good sir, sit down: my mother here, and I,
  Count time misspent an endless vanity.
  EUSTACE. Beyond report, the wit, the fair, the shape!
  What work you here, fair mistress, may I see it?
  IDA. Good sir, look on: how like you this compact?
  EUSTACE. Methinks in this I see true love in act:
  The woodbines with their leaves do sweetly spread,
  The roses blushing prank them in their red;
  No flower but boasts the beauties of the spring;
  This bird hath life indeed if it could sing.
  What means, fair mistress, had you in this work?
  IDA. My needle, sir.
  EUST. In needles then there lurks
  Some hidden grace, I deem, beyond my reach.
  IDA. Not grace in them, good sir, but those that teach.
  EUST. Say, that your needle now were Cupid's sting
  But ah! her eye must be no less,
  In which is heaven and heavenliness,
  In which the food of gods is shut,
  Whose powers the purest minds do glut.
  IDA. What, if it were?
  EUST. Then see a wondrous thing;
  I fear me you would paint in Tereus' heart
  Affection in his power and chiefest part.
  IDA. Good lord, sir, no! for hearts but pricked soft,
  Are wounded sore, for so I hear it oft.
  EUST. What reeks the wound, where but your happy eye
  May make him live, whom. Jove hath judg'd to die
  IDA. Should life and death within this needle lurk,
  I'll prick no hearts, I'll prick upon my work.


(117.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1120-74.

(118.) John Russell Brown, William Shakespeare: Writing for Performance (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), 21.

(119.) Ibid., 18.

(120.) Grosart, Life of Greene, 9:117.

(121.) The Three Paranassus Plays (1598-1604 ed. J. B. Leishman (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1949), 337.

(122.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1281-1314.

(123.) See Arthur Sewell, "Place and Time in Shakespeare's Plays," Studies in Philology 42 (1945): 221. "An incident which in the time of plot may be almost momentary (such as the delivery of a message, etc.) must be given more than merely sufficient stage-time or its importance will be impoverished. Shakespeare's method is generally to adopt a spiral-like pattern--as though the scene circles round and round the point, ever approaching it more nearly until finally we have it for what it is worth. In this way he uses stage-time to tease the audience (and, perhaps some of the persons on the stage) into impatience, so that when the news is delivered or the incident at last achieved they are especially grateful for it. The spiral-like method lends to the scene an adventitious excitement and suspense; what might have been flat information or a dead moment of action becomes an emotional climax."

(124.) A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1304-5.

(125.) Maguire, Shakespearean suspect texts, 199: "No plausible relation has yet been established between the Olympic games, Lucio and a Scythian maid."

(126.) James Applegate, "The Classical Learning of Robert Greene," Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, XXII (1945): 354-68. 28 (1966): 366-77: "Wherever Greene may have got his knowledge, the most striking thing about his use of legitimate classical information is his misuse of it Constantly--throughout his writing career and probably more often than not--Greene's allusions imply a distortion of classical story ... And everywhere Greene invents both the anecdotes attached to familiar names and the names themselves to which invented anecdotes or descritptions are attached."

(127.) Vincent, When Larey met Shakespeare, 124-5.

(128.) Pliny's fantastical Ianamyst (a bird?) in A Knack, 11.1425-28, may be another satirical dig at Greene's habit of inventing quotations:
  For Pliny writes, women are made lyke waxe,
  Apt to receue any impression:
  Whose mindesare lyke the lanamyst,
  That eater, yet cries, and neuer is satisfied.

(129.) Born, The Rate Wit, 137-42.

(130.) Ibid., 109-32.

(131.) Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, vi, 50-65.

(132.) A Knack to Know a Knave, pp. 901-26.

(133.) Maguire, Shakespearean suspect texts, 201.

(134.) Wolfgang Clemen, The Development of Shakespeare's Imagery, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1977), 41.

(135.) Alexander Frederick Falconer, Shakespeare and the Sea (London: Constable, 1964).

(136.) Ibid., 124.

(137.) Ibid.

(138.) Frederic Ives Carpenter, Metaphor and Simile in the Minor Elizabethan Drama (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1895), 57-58.

  The King is amorous, and my wyfe is kind,
  So kind (I feare) that she wil quickly yeeld
  To any motion that the king shal make:
  Especially if the motion be of loue
  For Pliny writes, women are made Tyke waxe,
  Apt to receiue any impression:
  Whose mindes are tyke the fanamyst,
  That eates, yet cries, an neue is saisfied;
  (A Knack to Know a Knave, 11. 1421-28)

(140.) Peter Holbrook, Shakespeare's Individualism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 99.

(141.) Tiffany Stern, Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sherican, 119-20, has shown that revamping of plays was common in the early modern theater: "Lines were sometimes cut in group rehearsals, and verbal changes were occasionally made there (as often as not against the author's will), but the most significant moments for overall revision were pre-rehearsal (when managers 'corrected' texts before agreeing to mount them), during 'study' (when individual actors changed their 'part' away from the text), and after the first perfomance." According to Stern "there is enough evidence to suggest that plays were often regarded as being flexible between first and second performance; a pre-performance text and a post-performance text might well be different, and indeed, some of the texts that we have in two versions could well be the result of overnight revision rather than of the long reflective period of rewriting that has often been imagined."

(142.) Ben Jonson, quoted in Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives, 28.

(143.) Geoffrey Bullough, ed., Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, 8 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul:1960) 3:40.

(144.) Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern, Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 3.

(145.) According to S. P. Cerasano, "Edward Alleyn, the new model actor, and the rise of the celebrity in the 1590s," Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 19 (2005): 50, Alleyn played King Edgar.

(146.) Katherine Duncan-Jones, "Shakespeare, the Motley Player," The Review of English Studies 60 (2009): 732.

(147.) The notable case of the misattribution of A Funeral Elegy by W.S. to Shakespeare has had a salutary effect, leading to more caution and to a refinement of methods in computational stylistics. See Brian Vickers, 'Counerfeiting' Shakespeare; Evidence, Authorship and John Ford's Funerall Elegye (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

(148.) For a discussion of the problems involved in the use of stylo-statistical methods see Lene P. Petersen, Shakespeare's Errant Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3010).

(149.) Arthur F. Kinney, "Transforming King Lear" in Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship, ed. Hugh Craig and Arthur F. Kinney. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 197-98.

(150.) MacDonald P. Jackson, "The Date and Authorship of Hand D's Contribution to Sir Thomas More: Evidence from 'Literature Online,'" Shakespeare Survey 59 (2006):70.

(151.) It is now generally accepted that Shakespeare mended Sir Thomas More. See MacDonald P. Jackson, "The Autorhship of the Hand-D Addition in The Book of Sir Thomas More" in Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship, ed. Hugh Craig and Arthur F. Kinney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 134-61.

(152.) Richard Proudfoot: "Is There, and Should There Be, a Shakespeare Apocrypha?", in In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare. ed. Christa Jansohn (Munster: LIT-Verlag, 2005), also believes that "the role of Ethenwald in A Knack to Know a Knave and the 1610 additions to Mucedorus offer themselves to prospective investigators as experimental samples of modest length." MacDonald P. Jackson is at present completing an article on the Mucedorus additions. Who amongst our stylometricians will take on the Etthenwald scenes?

(153.) E. Pearlman, "Shakespeare at Work: The Two Talbots", Philological Quarterly 25 (1996): 19.

(154.) Voluntary collaboration was very common in the early modern theater. However, when "collaboration" occurred against the plotter's will, he felt entitled to object. Ben Jonson did not like that "a 2nd pen had a good share" in the acted version of Sejanus. See Tiffany Stern, Documents of Perfromance in Early Modem England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 25-26,

(155.) The Works of Thomas Nashe, ed. R. B. McKerrow, (London; A.H. Bullen, 1904-10), 3:132.
COPYRIGHT 2012 Associated University Presses
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Robert Greene and William Shakespeare
Author:Born, Hanspeter
Publication:Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Previous Article:Shakespeare and the Cobham controversy: the Oldcastle/Falstaff and Brooke/Broome revisions.
Next Article:Revising jealousy in the Merry Wives of Windsor.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |