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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0227  Monday, 27 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Marcus Dahl <
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	Date: 	Friday, 24 Mar 2006 09:09:59 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

[2] 	From: 	Jeffrey Jordan <
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	Date: 	Friday, 24 Mar 2006 22:09:37 -0600
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Marcus Dahl <
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Date: 		Friday, 24 Mar 2006 09:09:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

Dear All,

Yes I fear I may have mis-read Gerald's argument there - apologies.

Can we separate out the strands here again?

Which are the sections in GGW directed to which poets according to your 
reading?

re: 1HVI - the tygers hart line indeed comes from 3HVI/True Trag but in 
order for the author of GGW to have seen (or heard or read) 3HVI by 1592 
(when it was published) and for Nashe to have seen Talbot onstage (1HVI) 
and for the 'harey VI' in Henslowe to refer to the Folio 1HVI we must 
allow for some serious rushing through of production of the three plays. 
Taylor and others thus date 1HVI later than 3HVI etc. Yet the first of 
the 5 texts to be published is Contention in 1594 - 2 years after GGW 
and Greene's death.

All best,
Marcus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jeffrey Jordan <
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Date: 		Friday, 24 Mar 2006 22:09:37 -0600
Subject: 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0216 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

Responding to Bob Grumman.

 >Moreover, as I have shown 
(http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/1492/chettle),
 >it is near-certain that Chettle was speaking of Shakespeare.

The main argument against Chettle's apology - in Kind-hearts - having 
anything to do with Shakespeare is the fact that Chettle never revealed 
what he was apologizing for.  Chettle left the issue he was writing 
about unmentioned, only calling it a "private cause."  A writer's, or 
actor's, public reputation is not a "private cause."  Public reputation 
is a public matter.  If Chettle had been apologizing to Shakespeare 
about the "Shake-scene" remarks he would have been overt about it. 
There was no reason not to be, if that were the case.  And indeed, 
Shakespeare would have wanted an overt correction, as anybody would, 
when public reputation was at issue.  But Kind-hearts contains no such 
thing.

The reason why Chettle, in Kind-hearts, left the issue undisclosed, as a 
"private cause," was because it was something he couldn't mention 
expressly in print without creating more trouble.  It was the issue of 
Marlowe's atheism.  Groatsworth contained the implicit revelation that 
Marlowe was an atheist, and had advocated atheism.  Even worse, it was 
in the form of a "deathbed confession" by Greene.  Marlowe's name wasn't 
used, but anybody who knew Greene's friends and associates could figure 
it out, as scholars over the years have done.  Greene "outed" Marlowe as 
an atheist, in a society which had an official state religion, of which 
the Queen was the head.  That's trouble.

For anybody who doesn't think it's a serious matter, a published 
accusation of atheism in England at that time, that is, look at what 
happened to Thomas Kyd.  He was arrested in 1593, was apparently 
tortured, and it was the end of his career.  Marlowe was also arrested 
and appeared before the Privy Council, which put him on probation (he 
was on that probation when he was killed.)  That all happened within a 
couple years of the publication of Groats-worth.

This is why Chettle left the issue he was apologizing about unmentioned, 
in Kind-hearts.  He couldn't expressly mention Marlowe's atheism in 
print.  He could only call it a "private cause."

Marlowe was the ill-tempered fellow who visited Chettle.  That's clear 
enough.

The other fellow who visited Chettle was John Lyly.  Look at exactly 
what Chettle says about the second person.  Chettle wrote of the "grace" 
of the second fellow's writing.  "Euphues" is from the Greek for 
"graceful." Chettle mentions "diverse persons of worship."  Lyly had 
been appointed esquire to the body for Queen Elizabeth, for one thing. 
That was as "worshipful" as one could get in England at that time.  Lyly 
also dedicated one of his Euphues writings to Lord Burghley, and 
apparently had some patronage from Burghley.  During the 1580s Lyly was 
probably the most celebrated author in England.  Of course Chettle knew 
of him, and was duly impressed.  Lyly was also a member of Parliament at 
the time.  Lyly visited Chettle because of the political trouble he 
foresaw, and the potential personal trouble for Marlowe.

But in 1592, when Groats-worth appeared in print, there was nothing at 
all in print with the name "Shakespeare" on it.  Venus and Adonis hadn't 
even been published yet.  Those who argue for the second person, who 
visited Chettle, being Shakespeare, are arguing an anachronism. 
Shakespeare wasn't in print yet.  He was not the big deal at that time, 
that he later became. He was just another working stiff at the theater, 
just becoming successful.

Shakespeare ignored Groats-worth.  Why would he bother with it?  He 
wasn't a "scholar" (which is one of the great ironies of history) and he 
wasn't one of Greene's friends or associates, so it meant nothing to 
him.  So, Greene didn't like it that an actor could also write plays. 
So what?  Greene was dead, and Shakespeare was busy.

The historical documentation on Shakespeare is so sparse, in terms of 
what people would like to know, that scholars have gone overboard with 
Kind-hearts.  People are grasping at straws.  But the second person, who 
visited Chettle, is far more credibly Lyly than Shakespeare.

Sure, the Groats-worth remarks about "Shake-scene" are about 
Shakespeare. But that doesn't mean Chettle was writing about Shakespeare 
in Kind-hearts. Chettle was writing about, and apologizing for, allowing 
an implicit revelation of Marlowe's atheism to appear in print.  That's 
the reasonable conclusion.

Lyly is mentioned, implicitly, in Groats-worth.  He's one of the "two 
more." The letter in Groats-worth is actually to five playwrights, three 
of whom were mentioned in personal remarks, and then the two more 
mentioned in passing.  Lodge was not in England, and Lyly was not 
writing for the public stage.

The reason Marlowe and Lyly approached Chettle, and apparently 
approached Nashe as well, is because they were looking for somebody who 
would claim authorship of Groats-worth, so that they'd have a living 
author who could print a correction.  A living author could write that, 
no, he didn't mean Marlowe, and he didn't really mean anybody advocating 
atheism, and so on. That's what they were hoping for, but Greene was dead.

As to Chettle being the author of Groats-worth, why would Chettle, 
himself, implicitly "out" Marlowe as an atheist?"  Really, why would he 
do that?  I would like to hear somebody make a serious effort to answer 
that very basic question.  What actual documentary evidence is there 
that Chettle knew Marlowe, before Groats-worth, or had anything against him?

Of course Groats-worth displays some of Chettle's style.  Chettle, 
himself, in Kind-hearts says he rewrote Groatsworth.  But that doesn't 
make Chettle the "author" of Groats-worth, it makes him the 
editor/compositor, which is exactly what he said he was.

 >4. Downs thinks "Erne effectively argues that Shakespeare is not
 >likely to be referred to as 'scholar.'" I don't. Chettle's letter is
 >clearly rushed. ...

There's no reason to think Chettle's prefatory comments in Kind-hearts 
are "rushed."  Look at what it actually says.

"... hath beene a custome Gentle men (in my mind commendable) among 
former Authors (whose workes are no lesse beautified with eloquente 
phrase, than garnished with excellent example) to begin an exordium to 
the Readers of their time, much more conuenient I take it, should the 
writers in these daies (wherein that grauitie of enditing by the elder 
exercised, is not obseru'd, nor that modest decorum kept, which they 
continued) submit their labours to the fauourable censures of their 
learned ouerseers. For seeing nothing can be said, that hath not been 
before said..."

And so on.  Nobody who's rushed writes all that out by hand.  Your 
characterization can't be correct.

 >According to Downs, however, "The strong prima facie case for
 >Chettle's forgery was effectively told by Chauncey Sanders in the
 >thirties, but the facts almost speak for themselves. The copy was in
 >Chettle's hand. The book was entered at his 'peril.' Most importantly
 >to my mind, the very friends addressed in GGW pegged it for a
 >forgery. They were in a better position to judge, in every way."
 >
 >This doesn't mean much to me. ...

You are "right on" there, Bob.  It doesn't mean much to me, either.  G-W 
could hardly have been entered at Greene's peril, because Greene was 
dead. And as mentioned, Chettle, himself, said he rewrote Groats-worth, 
so of course it was in his hand.  And you're right that nobody called it 
a "forgery."

The supposed "evidence" of Chettle authoring G-W is a style analysis 
from the 1930s, and a "computer study" from, good heavens, 1969. 
Really, now. Hasn't the Funeral Elegy fiasco taught us anything about 
these "style analyses" and "computer analyses" for determining 
authorship?  It doesn't work, at least not with current technology. 
Maybe in another 50 or 100 years technology will get to that point, but 
we're not there yet, and the analytic technology was certainly not 
available in the 1930s or in 1969. The earlier studies are worthless on 
this point -- and especially with Chettle saying outright that he 
rewrote G-W.  All that's been proven about the authorship of G-W is 
simply that Chettle was telling the truth, that Greene was the author, 
but that Chettle rewrote it.

Or, if scholars want to try to argue "style" as opposed to the old 
reliable name-on-the-title-page, then what are you going to do about the 
eccentrics who claim they've proven Marlowe wrote the works of 
Shakespeare, based on some "style" analysis?  Hasn't anybody thought 
about that?  I am not talking "authorship," I'm talking scholarly 
integrity.  Mr. Cook would like to focus on scholarship, and 
Groats-worth/Kind-hearts is a great case in point, I think.  For G-W, 
it's name-on-the-page versus "style analysis."  Style analysis, at this 
time, with current technology, is a personal judgment call. 
Name-on-the-page is documentary evidence.  Are people really willing to 
allow personal judgment to overcome documentary evidence, and is that 
good scholarship?  I don't think it is.

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