Robert Greene



The Life and Complete Works in Prose and Verse of Robert Greene, ed. Alexander B. Grosart, 15 vols, The Huth Library (privately printed, 1881-6; reprinted New York, 1964).


No authentic example of Greene's handwriting is currently known. As the frontispiece to the first volume of his edition of Greene (1881) Grosart reproduced a manuscript Latin prayer taken from St Augustine's Meditations and signed ‘Robert Grene’, a manuscript which he said was ‘believed to be’ Greene's holograph. The manuscript was then owned by ‘a private collector in London’ and is now unlocated. In fact, all circumstances militate against this manuscript's having any connection with Robert Greene the writer and dramatist. Not only is the spelling of the name different (without the medial double e), but there is also the inherent improbability of Greene's making excerpts from St Augustine, besides which the writing may well belong to the early-seventeenth century. In any case, the manuscript might be a transcript of a transcript made by one ‘Robert Grene’ (and the name is hardly uncommon). Grosart's facsimile is reproduced in A.D. Wraight and Virginia F. Stern, In Search of Christopher Marlowe (London, 1965), p. 185.

Three notable items are recorded in the entries below. The most important is what is probably Edward Alleyn's part in Orlando Furioso (GrR 9). A printed exemplum of A Looking Glasse for London and England (GrR 8) is of some interest since it would seem to be one of the earliest surviving printed plays marked up as a contemporary prompt-book. There also survives a playhouse manuscript copy of a sequel to Greene's Friar Bacon (GrR 7) which can probably be likewise attributed to that author.

In addition there are just a few known extracts from Greene's verse and prose works in seventeenth-century miscellanies (GrR 0.5-6).

Peter Beal