William Archer (critic)
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William Archer (23 September 1856 – 27 December 1924) was a Scottish critic and writer.
Archer became a leader-writer on the Edinburgh Evening News in 1875, and after a year in Australia returned to Edinburgh. In 1878 he took up residence in London. In 1879 he became dramatic critic of the London Figaro, and in 1884 of the World, where he remained until 1905. In London he soon took a prominent literary place.
Archer had much to do with introducing Ibsen to the English public by his translation The Pillars of Society, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, 1880. He also translated, alone or in collaboration, other productions of the Scandinavian stage: Ibsen's A Doll's House (1889), The Master Builder (1893, with Edmund Gosse); Edvard Brandes's A Visit (1892); Ibsen's Peer Gynt (1892, with Charles Archer); Little Eyolf (1895); and John Gabriel Borkman (1897); and he edited Henrik Ibsen's Prose Dramas vols., 1890–1891).
In 1897 Archer, along with Elizabeth Robins, H. W. Massingham, and Alfred Sutro, formed the Provisional Committee to organize an association to produce plays of high literary intrinsic merit, such as Ibsen's. The association was called the "New Century Theatre" but was a disappointment by 1899, although it continued until at least 1904. In 1899, a more successful association, called the Stage Society, was formed to replace it.
Archer was a friend of George Bernard Shaw, and arranged for his plays to be translated into German. An attempted collaboration on a play, Widower's Houses, did not work, however, and Archer was often critical of Shaw's drama. For a time, Archer lived at 27 Fitzroy Square in central London, while Shaw lived at number 29.
During World War I, Archer wrote a series of open letters on behalf of Wellington House, arguing Germany's culpability in starting the conflict. He viewed the Allies (including England) as innocent bystanders, forced into defending the world against German militancy.
His play, The Green Goddess, was produced by Winthrop Ames at the Booth Theatre in New York. It was a melodrama, and a popular success, although relatively of much less importance to the art of the drama than his critical work.
- English Dramatists of To-day (1882)
- Henry Irving, a study (1883)
- About the Theatre (1886)
- Masks or Faces? A Study in the Psychology of Acting (1888)
- W. C. Macready, a biography (1890)
- "The Theatrical World" (1893) (5 volumes)
- America To-day, Observations and Reflections (1900)
- Poets of the Younger Generation (1901) John Lane, the Bodley Head, London 
- Real Conversations (1904)
- A National Theatre: Scheme and Estimates, with H. Granville Barker, (1907)
- Through Afro-America (1910)
- The Life, Trial, and Death of Francisco Ferrer (1911)
- Play-Making (1912)
- India and the Future (1917)
- The Old Drama and the New (1923)
- The Great Analysis: A Plea for a Rational World-Order (1912). Introduction by Gilbert Murray
- War is War (1919)
- The Green Goddess (1921)
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Archer, William.|
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Archer, William". Encyclopædia Britannica 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- William Archer on SF Encyclopedia
- Works by William Archer at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about William Archer at Internet Archive
- Works by William Archer at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Papers of William Archer at Edinburgh U. LIbrary
- Archer, William (1918), India and the Future, New York: Alfred A. Knopf