Critical Papers on Elizabeth Robins by Joanne E. Gates

Bibliographies, Papers on Elizabeth Robins

by Joanne E. Gates

Write to the author if you need access to the now removed temporary files placed here for the purposes of the JSU Faculty Research Committee's Review of Scholarship Presented.


Elizabeth Robins, 1862-1952: Actress, Novelist, Feminist. Link to ordering my biography of Robins at University of Alabama Press. Available in hardcover, paper and e-book.

Summary of recent updates and scholarship on Robins: 

Dr. Joanne E. Gates added new documents to her on line resources at the Elizabeth Robins Web. The site is primarily a repository for public domain texts authored by Robins. Over 150 pages of added material consolidates at the author site publications from periodical literature from the 1890s to the 1920s. Additions are keyed to Gates's interlinked chronology. Short fiction newly available includes two stories under Robins' early pen name, C. E. Raimond: "Confessions of a Cruel Mistress," 1895 and "La Bellerieuse," 1898. Once her sensational novel of 1898 (The Open Question, a previous repository at the Robins Web) identified her, she selected "The British Merlin" to commemorate when asked to contribute a column to The Times feature, "Among My Books." In addition to a number of early twentieth century novels published and available at multiple sites on line, Gates has added "Lady Quassia," the short story of 1905, and Robins' non-fiction impressions of immigrants eager to make their way to America from a German rail station, "Embryo Americans" (1901), which further exemplify Robins' reputation once her pseudonym was disclosed. Each of these are linked in the Chronology and/or the folder Shorter Works

Significant to Robins' reputation as a voice of reform and modernism in the theatre are: "On the Need of the London Stage" (1904) and two articles written near simultaneously to commemorate the Henrik Ibsen Centennial in 1928. (These are accessories to the major British Drama League lecture Robins delivered and later published, "Ibsen and the Actress," which Dr. Gates has edited for a forthcoming anthology).

Gates finds most interesting the multipart series for the British Good Housekeeping. In five articles published in 1922 and 1923, Robins attacked the stereotype of sewing as an ideal female pursuit. She ironically titled one part "She Loves to Sew" and made her point in another title using "The One-Eyed Monster" (the sewing needle), even critiquing the magazine's cultivation of women as home makers and suggesting that the "temptation" to succumb to the pursuit was as "deadly" as the hypodermic needle. Gates has collected the five articles as a set with the added title "Oppressed by the Needle."

Dr. Joanne Gates presented a paper at SAMLA's virtual conference, November 14 and 15, 2020. With the theme of the conference "Scandal," her title was: "Scandals of Justice Delayed: Revisiting Elizabeth Robins' Chronicles of Women's Suffrage Advocacy in the Time of Trump." In the paper and accompanying visual presentations, she compared the collection of speeches and articles Robins wrote for the women's suffrage campaign to the website kept by Amy Siskind, "The Weekly List," which for four steady years chronicled what she deemed the offensives of the Trump presidency. Robins' articles were collected as Way Stations (1913), previously rendered into hypertext by Dr. Gates. The chapters are accompanied with "Time Tables" to mark the politics of the long struggle for the vote. Siskind subtitled her project "This is How Democracy Ends," and stressed that her effort began with the premise, "Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember." For the project, Dr. Gates located visuals of the Women's Writers Suffrage League and images from Women's mass meetings at Albert Hall.

Updated from a previous version of the website, the list of options I have used when studying Robins and Votes for Women in the Women's Literature Classroom: Teaching Elizabeth Robins in the Women's Literature Classroom.

Gates vita related to Research on Robins Current to 2014. See below in updated credentials.

Bibliography of recent Criticism, prepared for First Actresses Symposium (current to 2014: updated and comprehensive bibliography will be posted). See also Sue Thomas Bibliography in External Links for material prior to 1994.

Selected papers:

Henry James’s Dictation Letter to Elizabeth Robins: "The Suffragette Movement Hot from the Oven." The Henry James Review 31 (2010; Henry James and Women special issue): 254–263.  Now in GEM FInder Database. PDF is available through ProQuest.

"The Theatrical Politics of Elizabeth Robins and Bernard Shaw." From Bernard F. Dukore's volume of the conference proceedings, Shaw and the Last One Hundred Years. 1994. Now in GEM Finder Database.

The Herstory of a Button by Elizabeth Robins. Published for the first time in The American Voice (1990), with a preface by Joanne E. Gates. A school girl story from Putnam Female Seminary.

Stitches in a Critical Time The Diaries of Elizabeth Robins, American Feminist in England, 1907-1924. (Html reformat, by permission of the editors): Published in A/B -- Auto/Biography. PDF Scan of the original pages, followed by Issue Table of Contents. Winter 1988. Vol. 4, Number 2 (3-4), pages 130-139. 

"Elizabeth Robins and the 1891 Production of Hedda Gabler." Modern Drama 28.4  (December 1985): 611-619. Originating from a paper for a Special Session, "Ibsen Campaign in London," Modern Language Association Convention; New York, New York, December 1983.

From A Dark Lantern to The Convert (A study of her fictional style and feminist viewpoint), article published in the Neglected Authors double issue of Massachusetts Studies in English (1978/9). PDF scan.

Earlier status of this page included:

My current project is finalizing the volume that will put together my copyrighted play, Hedda Hilda and I: A Life of Elizabeth Robins, and the paper prepared for Ohio State's First Actresses Symposium in May 2014. Title of Presentation: "First Hedda, First Hilda, and Hilda, Harnessed to a Purpose: Elizabeth Robins, Ibsen, and Women’s Suffrage." As of now, only a practice audio version (WMA Audio Format) of the presented paper is available (you must request the link). An expanded version will restore cuts and add asides which will help in reading this alongside the two bibliographies that I distributed at the talk and which are available below. Currently the play has been sent out for competition, but a copy can be forwarded to those interested in considering it for a non-professional reading or workshop production. (And yes, the Nomination to the National Women's Hall of Fame is submitted!)

Since 2015, I have delivered three papers on Robins for the November SAMLA Conferences, including that in Durham, for a panel sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society. I will connect mentions Robins made of Wharton and her works to the stronger streak of feminist heroine in the fiction of Robins. The strength of the recent Robins research allowed me to earn a professional leave grant for Fall 2020.

Additional Credentials:

JG profile and photo, courtesy of English Department Faculty Listings. Current status: Retired faculty, with Emerita status pending.

To access the former department section, Gates at English

Full Curriculum Vitae, current to September 2021