Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Thomas William Robertson was a prolific writer of periodical articles and stories before he achieved success as a playwright. However, none of this work is of lasting interest, and none of it advances theories of dramaturgy. Robertson produced one novel of interest, David Garrick (1865). Four of his prose works are easily accessible to modern readers. “The Poor Rate Unfolds a Tale,” in Rates and Taxes and How They Were Collected, edited by Thomas Mood and published in 1866, anticipates the play Caste in many important ways, including similar characters, motifs, and themes. “After Dinner,” in The Savage Club Papers of 1867, is a spoof on marriage customs that gently suggests that neither cold calculation nor lusty romance guarantees a happy marriage. “Exceptional Experiences,” in The Savage Club Papers of 1868, is a modestly witty essay aimed at exploding a variety of social myths: the brutality of miners, the rapacity of innkeepers, the jolliness of sailors, and the snobbishness of successful men toward their former acquaintances. Robertson’s restiveness about the unfairness of stereotyping is characteristic of his plays as well. His introduction to Artemus Ward’s Panorama (1869) is essentially an effusion memorializing his friend, the American humorist Charles Farrar Browne.