The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0178 Wednesday, 15 March 2006
Date: Tuesday, 14 Mar 2006 17:56:03 -0500
Subject: 17.0165 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0165 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
>I would like to see Chettle's famous description of Shakespeare, "his
>uprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious
>grace in writing", etc. kept in the biographical canon (sic). But Lukas
>Erne's ""Biography and Mythography: Rereading Chettle's Alleged
>Apology to Shakespeare," ES (1998), p. 430-40, disputes the
>applications of Chettle's description to Shakespeare. Has Erne's
>attack been "accepted"?
>I can think of two objections to it, that Peele (Erne's choice for
>Chettle's object of description) remains a less likely Greene target
>than Shakespeare ("the onley Shake-scene in a countrey").
My main argument against Erne is that Chettle's apology seems
specifically to apologize for the insults the Crow sustained, and the
Crow is certainly Shakespeare. Peele was much less insulted than the
Crow. Greene also mixed some praise in. I also think the point I make
in my essay on Chettle that Chettle seems to be praising the second
playwright for his occupation as an actor (or whatever he professed) AND
for his writing, not twice praising him for his writing, and Peele
didn't have two occupations.
I frankly feel that a lot of academics are straining too hard to say
fresh things about Shakespeare. They should move on to authors who
haven't have fifty million books and essays written about them.
>Chettle's reference to "schollers" is too grammatically ambiguous
>to exclude Shakespeare; Chettle says that his defense of scholars is
>well known, and now he turns to the objects of Greene's attack who
>may or may not be scholars.
>Does the listserv have an opinion about this? The Chettle bit is, after
>all, a widely accepted piece of Shakespeare lore, as Erne points out.
I certainly accept it, but haven't gotten around to rebutting Erne. You
can read what I say about the Groatsworth at
and about Chettle's preface at
>Incidentally, does anyone know what defense of scholars Chettle
>is referring to?
Not I. My impression was that he in general defended writers.
>PS I quickly checked the SHAKSPER postings, and there seems
>to be a tendency to assume that Chettle wrote the Greene attack;
>but I believe Erne deals with this.
I go with Greene, but admit that a good case can be made for Chettle.
And I certainly would not wholly dismiss Erne's opinion of whom Chettle
was writing about in his preface.
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