World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Robert Coates (critic)

Robert Myron Coates (April 6, 1897 – February 8, 1973) was an American writer and a long-term art critic for the New Yorker. He coined the term "abstract expressionism" in 1946 in reference to the works of Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

As a writer of fiction, he is considered a member of the Lost Generation, having spent part of his life abroad in Europe. His first three novels are highly experimental, drawing upon Dada, surrealism and expressionism for their effect. His last two novels are examples of crime fiction in which the narrator presents a psychopathological case study of the protagonist. Nowadays, Coates is best known for The Outlaw Years (1930), which deals with the history of the land pirates of the Natchez Trace.

Anthony Boucher praised Coates as "one of the most persuasive recorders of the unaccountable and disturbing moment," singling out his fantasy stories for their "haunting tone of uncertainty and dislocation."[1]

Coates was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1897 and died at the age of 75 in New York City in 1973.[2]

Partial bibliography

Maxim Lieber was Coates' literary agent from 1935 to 1938 and in 1941 and 1945.


  • The Eater of Darkness (Contact Editions, Paris 1926; Macaulay, New York, 1929; republished by Putnam, 1959)
  • Yesterday's Burdens (1933; repr. 1975)
  • The Bitter Season (1946)
  • Wisteria Cottage (1948) (also known as The Night Before Dying)
  • The Farther Shore (1955)

Short story collections

  • All the Year Round (1943)
  • The Hour After Westerly (1957)
  • The Man Just Ahead of You (1965)

Short stories

  • Coates, Robert (November 29, 1947). "The law".  


  • The Outlaw Years (1930)
  • The View from Here (1960). Memoir
  • Beyond the Alps (1961)
  • South of Rome (1965)




  1. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, May 1957, p.77.
  2. ^ Wagle, Greta (2003). "Coates, Robert M[yron]". In Serafin, Steven R. The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature. Bendixen, Alfred. London: Continuum Publishing. p. 207.  

Further reading

  • Pierce, Constance. "Gertrude Stein and her Thoroughly Modern Protege." Modern Fiction Studies 42.3 (Autumn 1996): 607–25.
  • Pierce, Constance. "Language • Silence • Laughter: The Silent Film and the 'Eccentric' Modernist Writer." SubStance 16.1 (1987): 59–75.
  • Roza, Mathilde. Following Strangers: The Life and Literary Works of Robert M. Coates. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2011.
  • Roza, Mathilde, & Mearns, Jack. "Collecting Robert M. Coates". Firsts, 17.8 (2007): 18-27.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.