ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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ESSAYS

 

Collections

1. David Gray and other Essays, chiefly on poetry (London: Sampson Low, Son, and Marston, 1868).

The Poet, or Seer
David Gray
The Student, and His Vocation
Walt Whitman
Herrick’s Hesperides
Literary Morality
On a Passage in Heine
On My Own Tentatives

(Available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

 

2. Master-Spirits (London: Henry S. King and Company, 1873).

Introduction: Criticism as One of the Fine Arts
The ‘Good Genie’ of Fiction (Charles Dickens)
Tennyson, Heine, and De Musset
Browning’s Masterpiece
A Young English Positivist
Hugo in 1872
Prose and Verse (A Stray Note)
Birds of the Hebrides (Written on Board the ‘Ariel’)
Scandinavian Studies:
     I. A Morning in Copenhagen
     II. The Old Ballads of Denmark
     III. Björnson’s Masterpiece
     IV. Danish Romances
Poets in Obscurity
     I. George Heath, the Moorland Poet
     II. The Laureate of the Nursery
Note:
     Hunter’s Retrospect

(Available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

 

3. A Poet’s Sketch-Book. Selections from the prose writings of Robert Buchanan (London: Chatto & Windus, 1883).

The Poet, or Seer: A Definition
     I. Vision
     II. Emotion
     III. Music
David Gray: A Memoir
Literary Sketches—
     Thomas Love Peacock: a Personal Reminiscence
     The Good Genie of Fiction: Charles Dickens
     Ossian
     Two Poets: Heine and de Musset
     Victor Hugo
     Prose and Verse: a Stray Note
Nature Sketches—
     The Highland Seasons, Lakes and Woods, The Moors, The Shielings, Dunollie Castle, Rain and Rainbows, Drought in the Highlands, The Ascent of Cruachan, A Day Afloat, Canna and Skye, Celtic Superstition, Herring Fishers, The Outer Hebrides, Hebridean Lagoons, The Lochan, Eagles and Ravens, Hawks and Owls, The Water-Ousel, The Kingfisher, Hebridean Birds, Night in the Sea, Morning Glimpses: off Skye, A Sunset. The Birth of the Cuchullins, Hart-o’-Corry, Loch Corruisk, Canna and its People, Eiradh of Canna

(Available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

 

4. A Look Round Literature (London: Ward and Downey, 1887).

From Æschylus to Victor Hugo:
     I. Prometheus
     II. Gilliatt
     III. Æschylus
     IV. The One God
     V. Victor Hugo
     VI. The Promethean Myth
     VII. Summary
The Character of Goethe:
     I. The Amours
     II. Goethe’s Toryism
     III. Sources of Agitation
A Note on Lucretius
Free Thought in America
     I. Robert Ingersoll
     II. Octavius Frothingham
     III. The Hope of the Human Race
A Note on Dante Rossetti
Thomas Love Peacock: A Personal Reminiscence
Sydney Dobell, and the ‘Spasmodic School’: A Souvenir
The Irish ‘National’ Poet
Heine in a Court Suit
A Talk with George Eliot
The Literature of Spiritualism: ‘Post Mortem’ Fiction
The Modern Stage:
     I. Notes in 1876
     II. A Note in 1886
     III. The Drama and the Censor
Flotsam and Jetsam:
     I. A Note on Émile Zola
     II. Charles Reade: A Souvenir
     III. George Eliot’s Life
     IV. Epictetus
     V. The Gospel According to the Printer’s Devil
     VI. “L’Exilée” in English
     VII. The Church and the Stage
     VIII. The American Socrates
From Pope to Tennyson
A Last Look Round:
     I. Circumspice
     II. First, Hear the Cardinal
     III. The Attitude of Science
     IV. Minor Results and Influences
     V. The New Gironde
     VI. The Outcome in Society
     VII. Conclusion

(Available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

 

5. The Coming Terror, and other essays and letters (London: William Heinemann, 1891).

The Coming Terror: A Dialogue Between Alienatus, a provincial, and Urbanus, a Cockney
Are Men Born Free and Equal? A Controversy
On Descending Into Hell: A Protest Against Over-Legislation in Matters Literary
The Modern Young Man as Critic
Is Chivalry Still Possible?
Imperial Cockneydom
Is the Marriage Contract Eternal?
Flotsam and Jetsam:
     I. What is Sentiment?
     II. Emma Wade’s Martyrdom
     III. The Apotheosis of the Gallows
     IV. The Defeat of the Total Abstainer
     V. The Carnival of Robert Burns
     VI. Beneficent ‘Murder’ (1)
     VII. Beneficent ‘Murder’ (2)
     VIII. Booksellers’ Romance
     IX. Professor Huxley’s Miraculous Conversion (1)
     X. Professor Huxley’s Miraculous Conversion (2)
     XI. ‘The Journalist in Absolution’
     XII. The Courtesan on the Stage
     XIII. Goethe and Criticism
     XIV. ‘Dramatic Criticism as She is Wrote’
Final Words:
     I. The Paradox
     II. The Social Sanction
     III. The Outcome in Minor Literary Criticism
     IV. Types of Egoismus
     V. ‘Morality’ as Literature
     VI. The Outcome in Idealism
     VII. ‘Poor Humanity’

(Available on this site. Also available to download as a zipped .rtf file.
The second (American) edition is also available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

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Pamphlets

1. The Fleshly School of Poetry and Other Phenomena of the Day (London: Strahan and Company, 1872).
(Available on this site. Also available to download as a zipped .rtf file and at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)
(Buchanan’s original essay is also available in the Fleshly School section.)

 

2. On Descending into Hell: a letter addressed to the Right Hon. Henry Matthews, Q.C., Home Secretary, concerning the proposed suppression of literature (London: George Redway, 1889).
(Reprinted in The Coming Terror, available on this site. The original version is available at the Internet Archive.) (reviews)

 

3. Is Barabbas a necessity? A discourse on publishers and publishing (London: Robert Buchanan, 1896).
(Available on this site.) (reviews)

 

4. The Voice of “The Hooligan”; a discussion of Kiplingism (with Sir Walter Besant) (New York: The Tucker Publishing Co., 1900)
(A reprint of Buchanan’s original essay published in The Contemporary Review, with Sir Walter Besant’s reply and Buchanan’s response, ‘The Ethics of Criticism’. All three essays are available on this site.)

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Other Essays

Donne the Metaphysician (Temple Bar - August, 1861.)

Society’s Looking-glass (Temple Bar - August, 1862.)

Poems About Babies (The St. James’s Magazine - November, 1863.)

Bridal Poetry (The St. James’s Magazine - December, 1863.)

Wintering at Étretat (The Argosy - Part I: January, 1866. Part II: March, 1866.)

Étretat in the Bathing Season (The Argosy - August, 1866.)

Immorality in Authorship (The Fortnightly Review - 15 September, 1866.)

George Heath, The Moorland Poet (Good Words - March, 1871.)

Mr. John Morley’s Essays (The Contemporary Review - June, 1871.)

The Fleshly School of Poetry: Mr. D. G. Rossetti (The Contemporary Review - October, 1871.)

On Mystic Realism (The Drama of Kings - 1871, Poetical Works, Vol. III - 1874.)

Tennyson’s Charm (The Saint Pauls Magazine - March, 1872.)

Criticism as One of the Fine Arts (The Saint Pauls Magazine - April, 1872.)

Pity the Poor Drama! (The Saint Pauls Magazine - May, 1872.)

Prose and Verse (The Saint Pauls Magazine - September, 1872.)

The Newest Thing in Journalism (The Contemporary Review - September, 1877.)

Fashionable Farces (The Contemporary Review - November, 1877.)

Wylie’s Life of Thomas Carlyle (The Contemporary Review - May, 1881.)

Charles Reade: a Personal Reminiscence (Harper’s New Monthly Magazine - September, 1884.)

The Stage of Today (New-York Daily Tribune - 21 December, 1884.)

A Talk with George Eliot (New-York Daily Tribune - 18 January, 1885.)

The Landlord-Shooters (New-York Daily Tribune - 1 February, 1885.)

Free Thought in America (The North American Review - April, 1885.)

Literary Bohemia (New-York Daily Tribune - 12 July, 1885)

Dining with Trollope (New-York Daily Tribune - 23 August, 1885.)

Review of Ballads and Poems by Members of the Glasgow Ballad Club (The Academy - 12 September,1885.)

Theatrical First Nights (New-York Daily Tribune - 11 October, 1885.)

W. E. Forster: a Personal Reminiscence (The Pall Mall Gazette - 9 April, 1886.)

Mr. Ruskin and Mr. Froude (The Pall Mall Gazette - 15 June, 1886.)

A Note on Emile Zola (The Pall Mall Gazette - 20 September, 1886.)

The Modern Drama and Its Minor Critics (The Contemporary Review - December, 1889.)

How Plays Are Made (The Newcastle Courant - 21 December, 1889.)

The French Novelette As Norwegian Drama (The Illustrated London News - 31 January, 1891.)

The Drama in England (The Argus (Melbourne, Australia) - 21 November, 1891.)

How I Write My Plays (The Pall Mall Gazette - 21 September, 1892.)

The Muses In England (The Argus (Melbourne, Australia) - 1 October, 1892.)

My First Book (The Idler - May, 1893.)

The Ethics of Play-Licensing (The Theatre - 1 May, 1896.)

An Interesting Experiment (The Theatre - 1 July, 1896.)

A Word on the Defunct Drama (The Theatre - 1 October, 1896.)

Robert Buchanan’s Preface to The Truth about the Game Laws: a record of cruelty, selfishness, and oppression by J. Connell (London: William Reeves, 1898.)

An Author’s Struggles: Robert Buchanan’s Autobiography
(An edited version of the original article in M.A.P. (29 April, 1899) from The Burrowa News (Australia) (14 July, 1899) and The Edinburgh Evening News (11 June, 1901.)

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Buchanan also wrote a regular column in The Echo in June and July, 1891 under the title, ‘Latter-Day Leaves’. These articles are available in the Buchanan and the Press section.

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Most of Buchanan’s essays originally appeared in the numerous literary journals being published at that time and some were noticed in the press. Some of these initial reviews are available in the section below:

Robert Buchanan and the Magazines

 

Home
Biography
Bibliography

 

Poetry
Plays
Fiction

 

Essays
Reviews
Letters

 

The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

 

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

 

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Site Diary
Site Search