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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0242  Tuesday, 28 March 2006

From: 		Bob Grumman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 28 Mar 2006 17:06:17 -0500
Subject: 17.0227 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0227 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

Jeffrey Jordan <
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I wholly agree with Jeffrey Jordan's take on Chettle's apology to 
Marlowe, but that has nothing to do with his apology to the second 
playwright, whom I continue to believe quite firmly was Shakespeare.

The main reason I think Chettle was probably apologizing to Marlowe and 
Shakespeare, as I've said, is that they were the two playwrights most 
insulted. There's no reason Chettle should have gone into detail about 
exactly what he was apologizing to either for. In fact, it would have 
been impolite--for putting the insults into circulation again. Moreover, 
these kinds of texts back then (my impression is) were almost always 
indirect. Like the Groatsworth.

As I argue in my Internet essay, Chettle DID refer near-directly to what 
Greene said about Shakespeare, pretty much apologizing for each insult 
separately.

The idea that Shakespeare would not have cared what Greene said about 
him doesn't make sense to me. His sonnets certainly whine a lot about 
loss of reputation, etc. Why would he not care that someone called him 
cruel, conceited and incompetent, and denigrated his vocation, acting? 
More important, Greene was warning playwrights to have nothing to do 
with him and his fellow actors. But Shakespeare and his fellow actors 
depended on those playwrights, so Shakespeare would likely have wanted 
to stay in their good graces--as he wouldn't if they took Greene's word 
that he'd stiff them the first chance he got.

As for Lyly, he would seem to have been insulted much less than the 
others, if Greene was referring to him, at all--and he wasn't of the 
quality, nor--if "quality" is not taken to refer to acting--would 
Chettle have likely thought him excellent in something he professed 
besides writing. I would add, that Lyly had been around a long time, so 
it would seem odd to me that Chettle didn't know him. Surely, even if he 
hadn't known him personally, he wouldn't have had to be told by "divers 
of worship" that he was an upstanding fellow, considering Lyly's 
reputation then.

 >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.

Nothing with Shakespeare's name on it? I don't understand what that has 
to do with it. Why would that keep him from being offended? Or keep 
Chettle from apologizing to him if he let Chettle know he was offended?

 >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," etc.

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

Read my essay. Chettle's preface is full of sloppy grammar and illogic, 
at least that part of it concerning the two offended playwrights. I'm 
saying he wrote that part without thinking about such trivial details as 
whether or not, strictly speaking, the Groatsworth was addressed to the 
Crow.  (Is the Chettle preface on the Internet somewhere, by the way?  I 
don't have a copy of the whole of it.)

Glad you agree with me about the authorship of the Groatsworth.

--Bob G.

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