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"SOMETIMES SUPPRESSED AND SOMETIMES EMBROIDERED": THE LIFE AND WRITING OF ELIZABETH ROBINS, 1862-1952 (ENGLAND; SUFFRAGE)
American expatriate Elizabeth Robins was a major figure of her times. She was more instrumental than any single performer in the staging of Ibsen plays in England in the 1890s. Her writing on behalf of women's suffrage and other women's issues in the first quarter of the twentieth century represents an important contribution to feminist politics. This study of her life and literary output begins with her arrival in England in 1888, and concludes with her feminist treatise against militarism published in 1924, because during these years especially, her life was rich with competing ambitions and a double career. Simultaneous with her London acting career, she published several novels under the pseudonym C. E. Raimond. She carefully documented her trip to Alaska in 1900 in a journal. The journal served as a source for two novels, the memoir of her brother Raymond Robins, and many stories and articles. After 1906, she participated in the organized effort to win the vote for women in England and formulated a more feminist aesthetic in her fiction. Her political activity extended to many women's issues, including white slave traffic and the plight of working women in postwar England. Her fiction bears comparisons to Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather. She responded to the satiric spirit of the early 1890s with parodies of Hubert Crackanthorpe and aggressive lady authoresses, honored Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot in her essays and fiction, and won acclaim for her feminist novels and plays.^ Robins formed close associations with Florence Bell, William Archer, William Heinemann, Henry James, Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst, Dr. Octavia Wilberforce, and Viscountess Rhondda (Margaret Haig). She wrote about her part in a changing theatre world with a sense of female difference, and what she wrote and did not publish based on her stage experience is equally engaging. She transformed her long personal history of ill-health and poor medical treatment into feminist concerns. Her life was not without contradiction, failure to achieve, missed or denied opportunities. These very aspects of her life defined her feminism and led to her woman-identified existence. ^
JOANNE ELIZABETH GATES,
""SOMETIMES SUPPRESSED AND SOMETIMES EMBROIDERED": THE LIFE AND WRITING OF ELIZABETH ROBINS, 1862-1952 (ENGLAND; SUFFRAGE)"
(January 1, 1987).
Electronic Doctoral Dissertations for UMass Amherst.