Robert Greene, 1558?–1592, English author. His short romances, written in the manner of Lyly's Euphues, include Pandosto (1588), from which Shakespeare drew the plot for A Winter's Tale, and Menaphon (1589). His best plays, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (1594) and The Scottish History of James IV (1598), are a potpourri of romance, fantasy, and history. He wrote numerous tracts and pamphlets reflecting his knowledge of the London underworld as well as his own bohemian life. An alleged attack on Shakespeare—one of the earliest references to the man—is in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance (1592). A Quip for an Upstart Courtier (1592), a social allegory, is considered his best pamphlet. Greene's short life ended in dire poverty. After his death he became the subject of a heated quarrel between Gabriel Harvey and Thomas Nashe.
See his Life and Complete Works (ed. by A. B. Grosart, 15 vol., 1881–86; repr. 1964).