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Professor Ruth Robbins

About Professor Ruth Robbins

Ruth's research interests centre on the late-Victorian period in English literature, especially the literature of Decadence, and include the writings of Oscar Wilde, Arthur Symons and Vernon Lee - her book Pater to Forster, 1873-1924 (2003) deals with literature written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century period. Her recent book Oscar Wilde (2011) revisits her interests in the fin de siècle; additionally she is co-author of a book on the British Short Story (with Emma Liggins and Andrew Maunder, 2010). She also has research interests in literary theory, particularly post-structuralist theories and a wide range of feminist positions; her first book, Literary Feminisms, was published on feminist theories in 2000. Ruth also has interests in autobiographical writing. Her monograph Subjectivity was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2005. She has also published on women and the medical profession (Medical Advice for Women, 1830-1914 for Routledge, an anthology of nineteenth-century texts on the subject, was published by Routledge in 2009).

Ruth has experience of research supervision and is keen to work with students on any of the areas of her research interests, i.e. nineteenth-century literature; feminism and poststructuralism; autobiography; and women and the medical profession in the nineteenth-century; Victorian and early modernist literature more generally; contemporary women's writing.

Current Teaching

Ruth currently teaches on modules in the English literature and English & History programmes. These include The Victorian Novel and Literary Modernisms.

Research Interests

Ruth is working on a number of different projects at the moment, including essays on Arnold Bennett and on late-nineteenth-century masculinity.

Additionally, her next large project will be a cultural study of the figure of the dancer in the art, literature and actuality of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this period dancers were everywhere – in imagery from the high art of Degas and Renoir through to the more ephemeral art-nouveau poster products (themselves often produced by serious artists like Mucha or Toulouse-Lautrec) which advertised night life in Western Europe in the period. As in art, so too in literature. This new project focuses on the intersections between cultural representations (largely male-authored) and the lived experiences of the (mostly female) dancers from the 1880s to the 1910s. In tracing these particular stories, Ruth hopes to show an alternative history of both the late nineteenth century and of the development of modernist aesthetics.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (4)

Books (11)

Chapters (14)

  • Robbins R (2019) The Importance of Artifice: Ritual and Language Play in the Importance of Being Earnest. In: Roden FS Critical Insights: Oscar Wilde Print Purchase Includes Free Online Access. New York: Salem Press, pp. 125-142.
  • Robbins RC (2018) Gender and Genre in the Short Story. In: Delaney P; Hunter A The Edinburgh Companion to the Short Story in English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 293-312.
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  • Robbins RC (2016) 'The seasoned spirit of the cunning reader': The Textual Subversions of The Turn of the Screw. In: Womack, K; Decker JM Victorian Literary Cultures: Studies in Textual Subversion. Madison Wisconsin: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, pp. 153-164.
  • Robbins RC (2015) Always Leave Them Wanting More: Oscar Wilde's Salome and the Failed Circulations of Desire. In: Ford J; Edwards Keates K; Pulham P Economies of Desire at the Victorian Fin de Siecle: Libidinal Lives. New York and Abingdon UK: Routledge, pp. 21-34.
  • Robbins RC (2012) Clog Dancers and Clay: Empathy, Geology and Geography in Arnold Bennett's Clayhanger.. In: Cockin K The Literary North. : Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 73-86.
  • Robbins RC (2012) Late Victorian and Early Modern Responses to Modernism. In: Casaliggi C; March-Russell P Legacies of Romanticism. : Routledge, pp. 117-129.
  • Robbins RC (2010) "Feminism" and 'Careers for English Graduates. In: Wolfreys J The English Literature Companion. : Palgrave Macmillan, pp. .
  • Robbins RC (2010) The Short Story: Ghosts and Spectres. In: Maunder A Teaching Nineteenth-Century Fiction. : Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 109-130.
  • Robbins RC (2009) (Not Such)Great Expectations: Unmaking the Maternal Ideal in Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child and Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin.. In: Ridout A; Watkins S Doris Lessing. : Continuum International Publishing Group, pp. 92-106.
  • Robbins RC (2008) Mapping the Future of Victorian Studies. In: Willis M The Victorian Literature Handbook. : Continuum, pp. 204-216.
  • Robbins RC (2006) Death Sentences: Living with Dying in Narratives of Terminal Illness. In: Gill J Modern confessional writing. : Psychology Press: New Critical Essays, pp. .
  • Robbins RC (2003) Flirting. In: Wolfreys J Glossalalia: An Alphabet of Critical Keywords. : Edinburgh University Press, pp. 91-104.
  • Robbins RC (2001) Will the Real Feminist Theory Please Stand Up? Notes towards readings of Mrs Dalloway and Middlemarch. In: Wolfreys J Introducing literary theories. : Edinburgh University Press, pp. .
  • Robbins RC (2000) The Genders of Socialism: Eleanor Marx and Oscar Wilde. In: Stokes J Eleanor Marx (1855-1898). : Ashgate Publishing, pp. .

Internet publications (1)

  • Robbins RC (2016), A Woman's Work is Never Done? Women and Leisure in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond

Lectures (1)

  • Robbins RC (2013) Telling the Dancer from the Dance: Image, Dancer, Text (inaugural lecture)
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