Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > The Plays of the University Wits > His Repentance
  His literary career; his Novels and Pamphlets Early dramatic work  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

VI. The Plays of the University Wits.

§ 15. His Repentance.


Even more puzzling, however, than his change of attitude, about 1590, or than his real feeling in his so-called exposures, is the question raised with much ingenious argument by Churton Collins, whether Greene began his dramatic work earlier than 1590. Greene himself says in his Repentance: “but after I had by degrees proceeded Master of Arts (1583) I left the University and away to London, where … after a short time … I became an author of plays and love-pamphlets.” That, certainly, does not sound as if Greene did not write any plays, for some seven years after he left Cambridge. Moreover, another passage in Perimedes (1588)—“Two mad men of Rome [that is London] had it in derision for that I could not make my verses jet upon the stage in tragical buskins”—is open to two interpretations: namely, that he was derided for not attempting to write blank verse plays, or for failure in the attempt. 11  Churton Collins skilfully emphasises what is true, that neither Nashe, in the preface to Menaphon, nor any of the writers of commendatory verse accompanying Greene’s publications before 1590, mention his drama. But it is to be noted that two of the four passages cited by Churton Collins are dated as early as 1588.   22

Note 11. Churton Collins, unfortunately for his argument, seems to favour both opinions. See p. 75, vol. I, of his Plays and Poems of Robert Greene, where he holds the former opinion; and p. 40 of his introduction, where, apparently, he holds the second. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  His literary career; his Novels and Pamphlets Early dramatic work  
 
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