Positively revelling in the demeaning circumstances of Greene’s death ‘of a surfeit of pickled herring and Rhenish wine’ in 1592, Gabriel Harvey seized the opportunity to ridicule the work of a man who could no longer retaliate. Punning on the name of his dead adversary in Four Letters (1592), Harvey mocked Greene’s ‘greene head’ and ‘greene wits’, which he observed had been ‘greene in experience, and as the manner is, somewhat overweening in conceit’ and ‘wedded to the wantonness of’ his ‘own fancy’.1 As Lesel Dawson explains in her work on early modern poetry, the ‘green sickness is invoked in dedicatory verse as a means of disparaging bad poetry for its immaturity, or to criticize the reading public’s desire to consume the “trash” such poets produce’.2 Gabriel Harvey’s pronouncement is clear: Greene’s work is immature, raw and unsophisticated.3


Early Modern Period Substantial Legacy Heighten Emotionalism Italian Accent Modern Drama 
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Copyright information

© Jenny Sager 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK

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