London: William Pickering, 1831. Item #00855
One Of Only 250 Copies
GREENE, Robert. The Dramatic Works of Robert Greene, to Which are Added His Poems. With Some Account of the Author, and Notes, by the Rev. Alexander Dyce, B.A. London: William Pickering, 1831.
First collected edition. Two octavo volumes (7 5/8 x 4 3/4 inches; 193 x 120 mm.). vi, , cxii, 222; , 324 pp.
Contemporary full polished calf. Covers triple-ruled in gilt with small gilt cornerpieces, spines decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with five raised bands and red and green morocco gilt lettering labels, board edges double-ruled in gilt, turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers. Front joint of Volume I slightly tender. Otherwise a fine copy. Armorial bookplate of James John Falconer on front pastedown of each volume.
Only 250 copies only were issued in two printings, one on thin wove paper (as here) and the other on ribbed paper watermarked "Balston 1829."
Greene was an important and popular dramatist. His works include the earliest reference to Shakespeare as a dramatist, and served as a source for Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. Asterisked by Keynes as a particularly attractive Pickering book.
Robert Greene (1558–1592), “born in Norwich, educated at St John's College and Clare Hall, Cambridge, from 1575 until 1583, and incorporated at Oxford in 1588. From about 1585 he lived mainly in London. Although he liked to stress his connections with both universities, his later literary persona was that of a feckless drunkard, who abandoned his wife and children to throw himself on the mercies of tavern hostesses and courtesans; writing pamphlets and plays was supposedly a last resort when his credit failed. He is said to have died of a surfeit of Rhenish wine and pickled herrings, though it may more likely have been plague, of which there was a severe outbreak in 1592. Greene was attacked at length by G. Harvey in Foure Letters (1592) as the ‘Ape of Euphues’ and ‘Patriarch of shifters’; Nashe defended him in Strange Newes in the same year, acknowledging Greene to have been a drunkard and a debtor, but claiming that ‘Hee inherited more vertues than vices.’ Greene’s 37 publications, progressing from moral dialogues to prose romances, romantic plays, and finally realistic accounts of underworld life, bear out Nashe’s assertion that printers were only too glad ‘to pay him deare for the very dregs of his wit’. The sententious moral tone of his works suggests that his personal fecklessness and deathbed repentance may have been partly a pose. Among the more attractive of his romances are the Lylyan sequel Euphues his Censure to Philautus (1587); Pandosto: The Triumph of Time and Perimedes the Blacke-Smith (1588); Menaphon (1589). Among his ‘repentance’ pamphlets are Greenes Mourning Garment and Greenes Never too Late (1590) and the work attributed to him, Greenes Groats-Worth of Witte (1592). Greenes Vision (1592) is a fictionalized account of his deathbed repentance in which he receives advice from Chaucer, Gower, and King Solomon. The low-life pamphlets include A Notable Discovery of Coosenage (1591) and three ‘conny-catching’ pamphlets in the same years 1591–2. His eight plays were all published posthumously. The best known are Orlando furioso (1594), Frier Bacon, and Frier Bongay (1594), and James the Fourth (1598)…Greene is now best known for his connections with Shakespeare. The attack on him in the Groats-Worth of Witte…as an ‘upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers’ is the first reference to Shakespeare as a London dramatist; and his Pandosto provided Shakespeare with the source for The Winter’s Tale. The voluminousness of Greene’s works and the supposed profligacy of his life have caused him to be identified with the typical Elizabethan hack-writer; he probably provided a name and a model for the swaggering Nick Greene in V. Woolf's Orlando (1928). Greene’s works were edited in 15 volumes by Grosart (1881–6)” (The Oxford Companion to English Literature).
Lowndes, pp. 935-938.