Shakespeare’s First Plays

  • E. A. J. Honigmann


By 1592, when Greene described him as ‘in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey’, Shakespeare had already established himself in London. Two years later R. B. explained what had happened, less emotionally, in Greenes Funeralls:

Greene, is the pleasing Obiect of an eie:

Greene, pleasde the eies of all that lookt vppon him.

Greene, is the ground of euerie Painters die:

Greene, gaue the ground, to all that wrote vpon him.

Nay more the men, that so Eclipst his fame:

Purloynde his Plumes, can they deny the same?

OED, ground, 6b: in painting or decorative art, a main surface or first coating of colour, serving as a support for other colours; viz. Greene supplied the ground for all who wrought upon him). R. B. confirms Greene’s own complaint — that by 1592 Shakespeare had eclipsed Greene, whose importance as a writer in the late 1580s had been second to none.1


Ghost Defend Lost Malone Flint 


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Copyright information

© E.A.J. Honigmann 1983

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  • E. A. J. Honigmann

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