After the popular Elizabethan writer Robert Greene died in 1592, a series of pamphlets appeared with stories of his ghost’s haunting returns. These pamphlets—Henry Chettle’s Kind-Harts Dreame (1592), Barnabe Riche’s Greenes Newes both from Heauen and Hell (1593), and John Dickenson’s Greene in Conceipt (1598)—played on the striking persona that Greene had fashioned for himself, premised on a mode of self-disclosure at odds with his romances’ fictional surfaces and crafted to remedy the impersonality of print circulation. The ghost pamphlets both appropriated and demystified the charisma of Greene’s persona, their acts of ventriloquism exposing the fiction behind his performance of sincerity. At the same time, they confronted the fictionality at the heart of public discourse itself—the imaginary presence that grounded the increasingly diffuse readerships of the early modern book trade.

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