Robert Greene has been written about profusely. "More time and trouble have been bestowed than one cares to remember," complained the late Mr. Collins as he laid down his editor's pen. So much, indeed, has been done, so various have been the researches as to Greene's sources, his literary relationships, his friendships and his quarrels, his sinning and repenting, that one who desires to study him must go over a vast amount of material. There is the further difficulty that a few sensational remarks in Greene's writings have been given such emphasis as to withdraw attention from certain other aspects of his works and to obscure what is of more importance. I have tried to present a comprehensive treatment, based upon the investigations of previous writers and developed by what I have been able to add of my own.
In the personality of Greene, and in the nature of his activity, there is considerable to stir the imagination, and to invite criticism and evaluation. These two elements, the human and the literary significance of Greene's work, I have, therefore, sought to bear in mind. Thus submitting Greene to analysis, I have found the outlines of his character as a man of letters to be rather sharply drawn. Sharply enough, I think, to be permanent. New facts will be added, new sources discovered. But these will only help to make the portrait a little more distinct. They will not, I believe, change our fundamental idea of the man or of his attitude toward literature.
To those scholars who have made my work possible I acknowledge my indebtedness. Especially have I benefited . . .