Robert Greene (8 July 1558 - 3 September 1592) is sometimes considered to have been the first professional author in England. Greene published in many genres including romances, plays and autobiography. He is now best known for his mysterious double-edged connection to the then-up-and-coming William Shakespeare. Greene's final pamphlet Groats-Worth of Wit describes Shakespeare in very disparaging terms, and Shakespeare scholars have long puzzled over the reason for this hostility. Some, including Isaac Asimov, have hypothesised that Greene was the co-author of Shakespeare's early plays, and was dissatisfied with the finished products overseen by the younger man. Around 1610, Shakespeare adapted the long-dead Greene's novel Pandosto: The Triumph of Time for the stage as The Winter's Tale.
Very little is known about Robert Greene, due to the preponderance of men with the same name living in 16th-century London, and his autobiography is thought to be extremely dishonest. He died as the result of eating improperly cooked "pickled herring and Rhenish wine," according to his contemporary biographer Gabriel Harvey.
Robert Greene (1558-1597) was a well known playwright in London. When the Archbishop of Canterbury informed Lope de Vega that he suspected certain playwrights of treason, Greene was one of the first names de Vega expected to hear. However, he had heard that Greene was violently ill from eating rotten pickled herring, and was not likely to recover.