Robert Greene

Robert Greene, 1558?–1592, English author. His short romances, written in the manner of Lyly's Euphues, include Pandosto (1588), from which Shakespeare drew the plot for A Winter's Tale, and Menaphon (1589). His best plays, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (1594) and The Scottish History of James IV (1598), are a potpourri of romance, fantasy, and history. He wrote numerous tracts and pamphlets reflecting his knowledge of the London underworld as well as his own bohemian life. An alleged attack on Shakespeare—one of the earliest references to the man—is in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance (1592). A Quip for an Upstart Courtier (1592), a social allegory, is considered his best pamphlet. Greene's short life ended in dire poverty. After his death he became the subject of a heated quarrel between Gabriel Harvey and Thomas Nashe.

See his Life and Complete Works (ed. by A. B. Grosart, 15 vol., 1881–86; repr. 1964).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

FREE! Robert Greene
John Clark Jordan.
Columbia University Press, 1915
FREE! The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene
J. Churton Collins; Robert Greene.
Clarendon Press, vol.1, 1905
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Alphonsus King of Arragon," "A Looking Glasse," and "Orlando Furioso"
FREE! The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene
J. Churton Collins; Robert Greene.
Clarendon Press, vol.2, 1905
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Frier Bacon and Frier Bungay," "The Pinner of Wakefield," and "A Maidens Dreame"
Homosociality, Imitation, and Gendered Reading in Robert Greene's Ciceronis Amor
Gustafson, Kevin L.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 3, Summer 2003
Sons and Authors in Elizabethan England
Derek B. Alwes.
University of Delaware Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "'He Who Cannot Dissemble, Cannot Live': Robert Greene's Romances" and Chap. 6 "'I May Terme My Selfe a Writer': Cony-Catchers and Greene's Defense of Poetry"
Elizabethan Plays and Players
G. B. Harrison.
University of Michigan Press, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. V "Greene Turns Playwright" and Chap. VI "The Death of Greene"
Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England
Lori Humphrey Newcomb.
Columbia University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "'Growne So Ordinarie': Producing Robert Greene's Pandosto and Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, 1585-92"
Framing Elizabethan Fictions: Contemporary Approaches to Early Modern Narrative Prose
Constance C. Relihan.
Kent State University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Romance of Service: The Simple History of Pandosto's Servant Readers" begins on p. 117
Theatre and Humanism: English Drama in the Sixteenth Century
Kent Cartwright.
Cambridge University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Robert Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay: The Commonwealth of the Present Moment"
Humanist Poetics: Thought, Rhetoric, and Fiction in Sixteenth-Century England
Arthur F. Kinney.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "Omne Tulit Punctum Qui Miscuit Vtile Dulci: Robert Greene's Fiction of Wonder"
Fashioning Authority: The Development of Elizabethan Novelistic Discourse
Constance C. Relihan.
Kent State University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Robert Greene begins on p. 61
English Drama 1586-1642: The Age of Shakespeare
G. K. Hunter.
Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Robert Greene begins on p. 22
A Shakespeare Companion, 1550-1950
F. E. Halliday.
Funk & Wagnalls, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Greene, Robert" begins on p. 246
Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World: Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America
John A. Wagner.
Oryx Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Greene, Robert (1558-1592)" begins on p. 129
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