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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

II. Chapman, Marston, Dekker

§ 2. Shakespeare and the “Rival Poet”

It is difficult to escape the conviction that Minto was correct in his identification of Chapman with the “rival poet” of Shakespeare’s Sonnets; and it has been argued with great force and ingenuity that the rivalry here indicated may be traced elsewhere in the work of both authors, and that the note of anger in the strain of invective which frequently appears in Chapman’s poems and prefaces, hitherto interpreted in his favour as the natural scorn of a great artist for inferior work, was the outcome of bitter personal resentment at the success of the unlettered Shakespeare and was directly aimed at him. According to this view, The Amorous Zodiac, in the 1595 volume of poems, in the poem indicated by Shakespeare in his twenty-first sonnet; Holofernes, in Love’s Labour’s Lost, is a satirical portrait of Chapman in reply to his malevolent attacks, and Troilus and Cressida an elaborate castigation of Chapman’s extravagant laudation of Homer, his praise of Greek ideals and his contempt of all poets who were not his equals in scholarship. Though not proven, the thesis cannot be lightly dismissed.