The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0242 Tuesday, 28 March 2006
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
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
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
>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.
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