Dr Robb's research interests include Scottish literature from the eighteenth-century to the present. His publications include studies of George MacDonald and Sydney Goodsir Smith. He has also published on Hugh Miller (1802-56), and on Muriel Spark.
In recent years, he has been particularly concerned with the work of the late Alexander Scott (1920-89): he is editor of the Collected Poems and has recently completed a book on this well-known Scottish figure who has so far received little critical attention.
Dr Robb was Joint General Editor of the Scottish Writers series and General Editor of the Scottish Classics series. He is a past president of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.
Auld Campaigner: a Life of Alexander Scott (Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2007).
The Collected Poems of Alexander Scott, ed. (Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1994), xxiv + 260 pp.
Muriel Spark's 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', Scotnotes No.7 (Aberdeen: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1992), 57 pp.
George MacDonald (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1987), 136 pp.
Edwin Muir Centenary Assessments, Association for Scottish Literary Studies Occasional Papers No.9, ed. with C.J.M. MacLachlan (Aberdeen: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1990).
[Proceedings of the Edwin Muir Centenary Conference (St Andrews, 1987)]
Articles & Book Chapters
The Fiction of George MacDonald' in Literature of the North, ed. by D.Hewitt & M.Spiller (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1983), pp. 70-81.
[This essay was reprinted as follows: 'The Fiction of George MacDonald', SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review, 6 (1985), 35-44]
'Sydney Goodsir Smith', in Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, 1945-1960: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol 27, ed. by V.B. Sherry (Detroit, 1984), pp. 340-46.
'George MacDonald's Aberdeenshire Fairytale', in Studies in Scottish Fiction: Nineteenth Century, ed. by H.W.Drescher & J.Schwend (Frankfurt, 1985), pp. 205-5.
'Saltire Review', in British Literary Magazines; Part 4, The Modern Age, 1914-1984, ed. by Alvin Sullivan (New York; London: Westport, 1986), pp. 413-17.
'George MacDonald and Animal Magnetism', SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review, 8 (1987), 9-24
'Realism and Fantasy in the Fiction of George MacDonald', in The History of Scottish Literature, Vol 3, Nineteenth Century, ed. by Douglas Gifford (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988), pp. 275-90.
'The Published Novels of Willa Muir', in Studies in Scottish Fiction: Twentieth Century, ed. by H.W.Drescher & J Schwend (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1990), pp. 149-61.
'George MacDonald's Scottish Novels', in The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald, ed. by W.Raeper (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990), pp. 12-30.
‘"Stand, and unfold yourself": My Schools and Schoolmasters’, in Hugh Miller and the Controversies of Victorian Science, ed. by Michael Shortland (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 246-64.
'Miller and Edinburgh: My Schools and Schoolmasters’, Scottish Literary Journal, 22:2 (November 1995), 14-28
‘The Plays of Alexander Scott’, Scotlands, 5:2 (1998), 1-14
‘Granite’s Secret Beauty: Alexander Scott’s Other Poems on Aberdeen’, Studies in Scottish Literature, 31 (1999), 46-80
‘“A Teuch Toun”: Alexander Scott’s “Heart of Stone”’, Scottish Literary Journal, 27:1 (Spring 2000), 65-76