Tag Archives: upstart crow

The Upstart Crow!

Jack of all trades, master of none

I came across this phrase and was toying with it since morning. I wondered about its origin and who might have framed it. Who else better than Google to answer my question.. So after a li’l googling, I came across some very interesting facts which I wish to share. I say interesting because it relates to a very popular literary figure. For those who are curious, this is how it goes…

Back in the late 16th century, there was a very popular English author called Robert Greene who had apparently authored scores of literary works.

Enter William Shakespeare – author, poet, playwright and actor. He shot to fame in the literary world, first as an actor who slowly started writing plays and poems which are masterpieces even today. Greene did not trust ‘actors’ because they stole the show, became heroes in the eyes of public and handsomely paid. On the other hand, authors were beginning to get ignored and did not receive their worth even as a lack of copyright laws belittled their work.

Groatsworth
Source: Wikipedia

So, in 1592, when Shakespeare was in his late 20s, Greene penned ‘Groats-worth of Witte, bought with a million of Repentance‘ in which he attacked Shakespeare for being a Jack of all trades (and master of none).   Greene referred to Shakespeare as the ‘upstart crow‘ in his works, a title which remains associated with him.

Greene left for his heavenly abode that same year (1592) and Shakespeare went on to create history as we know it today.

 Now you know all about the ‘The Upstart Crow’! 😀


Disclaimer: None of this research is mine. This information is merely a brief compilation. All credits go to the respective owners and all rights remain with them. You can visit the websites directly for more extensive info:

  1. Wikipedia – Robert Greene
  2. Wikpedia – William Shakespeare
  3. Literarygenius.info
  4. phrases.org.uk