ABSTRACT:

Robert Greene holds a significant place in our understanding of Elizabethan literature, not least because of the attack on Shakespeare in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, which represents the earliest allusion to Shakespeare as an actor-dramatist in London. Greene is recognized as a prolific pamphleteer, but he was also an important dramatist. His canon of plays nevertheless remains uncertain, with scholarly consensus assigning him four plays as sole author and one as coauthor. This article offers the most rigorous attempt yet undertaken to determine the scope of the playwright's canon through analyses of Greene's verse style and the dramatist's phraseology in his attested plays and in comparison to three plays that have long been on the margins of Greene's corpus: Locrine, Selimus, and George a Greene. The article also compares results for other authorship candidates and, by extending and developing the findings of previous scholars, as well as drawing from a new resource in early modern authorship studies, concludes that Greene is the most likely author of Locrine, that he coauthored Selimus, and that George a Greene remains dubious.

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