My Little Sister by Elizabeth Robins, Notes and Commentary
My Little Sister by Elizabeth Robins (1913)
Notes and Commentary
Note that the novel is the topic of Episode Four, The Elizabeth Robins Diary Podcast, by Natalie Kahler. There are links to Stead's Maiden Tribute in my Notes on the Podcast Series and important information and illustrations in the website for the podcast.
COMMENTS. This work was published in Great Britain under a different title, Where Are You Going To? by Heinemann (1913). Robins had long contemplated a novel about child abduction, called then "white slavery." In 1909, she discussed the matter with the poet John Masefield, and he proposed to assist her. After she heard of the death of her close friend, William T. Stead, on the Titanic in April 1912, she revived interest in the original form of her work and completed it independent of Masefield's suggestions. (Stead had been instrumental in bringing attention to the horrors of prostitution in his 1885 series, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon.) When McClures offered to serialize it, conditional upon its release before the London edition, Heinemann agreed to delay publication of his edition. The serialized edition appeared in two installments: McClures 40 (December 1912, 121-145 and January 1913, 253-260). The 1912 McClures issue may be the reason modern references list its publication for that year.
Negotiations for both American and British productions of a stage adaptation of the work were initiated, but the censor in England and the reluctance of commercial management in the United States halted these efforts. Further discussion of the composition and the context for Robins' interest in the issue of white slavery can be found in Joanne E. Gates, Elizabeth Robins, 1862-1952: Actress, Novelist, Feminist (University of Alabama Press, 1994), pages 207-12.
Sue Thomas's publication, Elizabeth Robins (1862-1952): A Bibliography (Victorian Fiction Research Guide 22, University of Queensland, 1994) lists over 200 contemporary reviews of the British or American editions.
For an on line review, see Hildegarde Hawthorne's on February 23, 1913, copyright by New York Times. LINK
Notes on this electronic editions: Formatting in the separate chapters allows for easier reading on the screen. For text of the complete book, go to My Little Sister, full text.
PERMISSIONS. This published work of Elizabeth Robins is a pre-1923 publication and as such, is in the public domain in its country of publication, the United States. Permissions to format the publication for hypertext was secured from Mabel Smith, past literary executor.
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Table of Contents
Available since August 1997