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Sunday, 9 November 2008

William Archer Perth Perthshire Scotland

William Archer, (1856-1924), Critic, was born on 23rd September 1856 in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland, and was educated there and at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating he studied for the English Bar but by then he had turned to journalism for a living. He worked first for the Evening News in Edinburgh, and between 1879 and 1881, by which time he had moved to London, he was employed as the drama critic of Figaro. From then until the end of his life Archer devoted himself to the theatre through his work as a critic for The World, The Nation, Tribune, the Morning Leader and the Manchester Guardian: he became one of the most influential critics of the day with a firm belief in good dramatic structure and high standards of stagecraft. He died in London on 27 December 1924. Although he did much to revitalize the English theatre through his outspoken criticism, it is as the translator of the works of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1826—1906) that Archer is best remembered; it was in his translations of the prose dramas, collected in four volumes (1890—91), and the complete works, published in 11 volumes (1906-7), that Ibsen's work was introduced to the theatre in England. In 1923 Archer's own play The Green Goddess was staged successfully in London, two years after it opened in New York. His other dramatic works are War is War, Martha Washington, Beatrice Juana and Lidia. Many of his journalistic writings were collected in book form and among his writings on the theory of theatre may be mentioned Masks or Faces (1888) and Play-making (1912), which were considered the standard works on the art of stagecraft and plot. Archer was also a campaigning journalist with interests in
criminology, rational humanism and race relations, and with Harley Granville-Barker
(1877-1946) and others he was active in the drive to create a national theatre.
Works: with R. W. Lowe, The Fashionable Tragedian (1877); English Dramatists of Today (1882); Henry Irving: a Critical Study (1883); Henry Irving: Actor and Manager (1884); About the Theatre (1886); Masks or Faces (1888); William Charles Macready (1890); Study and Stage (1899); America Today (1900); Poets of the Younger Generation (1902); Real Conversations (1904); Shirking the Issue (1904); A National Theatre: Scheme and Estimates (1907); Through Afro-America (1910); The Life, Trial and Death of Francisco Ferrer (1911); Play-making (1912); Fighting a Philosophy (1914); The Thirteen Days: 23 July - 4 August 1914 (1915); Colour-blind Neutrality (1916); Knowledge and Character (1916); 501 Gems of German Thought (1917); God and the Wells (1917); India and the Future (1917); Six of One and Half-a-dozen of the Other (1917); The Villains of World Tragedy (1917); The Peace-President (1918); The Pirate's Progress (1918); War is War (l919); The Green Goddess (1923); The Old Drama and The New (1923); Three Plays (1927); The Great Analysis (1931); On Dreams (1935).

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