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The Critical Shaw: On Literature

by George Bernard Shaw

"The general reader, turning over the pages, will learn many things that are not of the slightest importance to him, but which he may, nevertheless, wish to know because other people occasionally write or speak of them." --Bernard Shaw, 1885Critical Shaw: Literature is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw's ideas and opinions on a wide range of literary forms of expression, from Shakespearean drama to ghost stories, from naturalist novels to philosophical essays. Shaw meticulously applied his comprehensive knowledge of the intricacies of writing and publishing (composition, typesetting, style, themes, censorship) and in the process produced an extensive array of critical works spanning more than fifty years. Always with an axe to grind--whether aesthetic, ethical, or otherwise--Shaw tested the boundaries of satire in his critical essays, occasionally locking horns as a result with some of the most prominent authors of his lifetime. Displaying wit and wisdom in equal proportions, some of his reviews remain fresh even though the authors and books they appraised have long since fallen into oblivion. Shaw's views about literature challenged established conventions of the canon and helped to shape a renewed collective concept of literature.The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw's voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw's life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.

The Critical Shaw: On Music

by George Bernard Shaw

"Without music we shall surely perish of drink, morphia, and all sorts of artificial exaggerations of the cruder delights of the senses." --Bernard Shaw, 1894Critical Shaw: Music is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw's extensive writings on a wide range of musical topics. Still recognized as one of Great Britain's most important music critics, Shaw enriched London's musical scene for some twenty years with his provocative, original, and penetrating reviews, before giving up music criticism to concentrate his talents on playwriting. His vast critical output encompassed opera, operetta, vocal and orchestral performance, musical theater, and oratorios, and took in major composers and performers as well as many long since forgotten names. Frequently embellished by his controversial political and social opinions, and delving as well into the nature of music criticism itself, Shaw's reviews continue to stimulate and surprise, their depth and range setting standards that are rarely, if ever, matched today. Included in this edition is a previously unpublished draft on voice training prepared by Shaw for Vandeleur Lee, his mother's singing teacher.The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw's voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw's life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.

The Critical Shaw: On Politics

by George Bernard Shaw

"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." --Bernard Shaw, 1903Critical Shaw: Politics is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw's opinions on a wide range of political movements, ideologies, and events that helped shape the international landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With unwavering conviction, and in many cases openly courting controversy and calumny, Shaw spoke his mind on the big "-isms" of his time: Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, and Fascism. He championed Socialism in its formative years, he condemned all combatants in the First World War, he berated America's embrace of Capitalism, he praised Russia's choice of Communism, he lauded Stalin, he rejected the notion that Hitler was responsible for the Second World War, and he scorned Democracy. Persistently provocative, sometimes outrageous, always the political iconoclast, Shaw's political convictions--as soapbox orator or world famous pundit--challenge us to face the political issues and dilemmas of our own time with similar rigor and integrity.The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw's voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw's life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.

The Critical Shaw: On Religion

by George Bernard Shaw

"The real difficulty about the Bible in America is that, though nobody reads it, everybody imagines he knows what is in it." --Bernard Shaw, 1925Critical Shaw: Religion is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw's pronouncements--many of them deliberately inflammatory--on all facets of religion and belief: on Christianity and the Church; on various religions, among them Protestantism, Catholicism, Quakerism, Christian Science, Fundamentalism, Calvinism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam; on atheism and agnosticism, atonement and salvation; on the crucifixion, the resurrection, transubstantiation, and the Immaculate Conception; on the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church. And much more. In speeches, essays, and prefaces, Shaw relentlessly scrutinized and critiqued scores of religions--only to find most of their doctrines in need of exhaustive reform. And yet, in keeping with his many other paradoxes, though Shaw was fond of calling himself an atheist, he nonetheless recognized the importance, indeed the necessity, of religion.The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw's voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw's life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.

The Critical Shaw: On Theater

by George Bernard Shaw

"With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his." --Bernard Shaw, 1896 Critical Shaw: Theater is a comprehensive selection of essays and addresses about drama and theater by renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw. An outspoken critic of the melodramas and formulaic farces that comprised most of the popular theater in the late nineteenth century, Shaw relentlessly campaigned for audiences, actors, theater managers, and even government officials to take theater more seriously, to use the stage as a forum for representing complex real issues such as poverty, marriage and divorce laws, sexual attraction, gender equality, and political power, so that through seeing them acted out, audiences could better understand and address them when they left the theater. Shaw's commitment to social reform through theater was matched by his expertise in the artistic and practical aspects of drama: whether he was reviewing productions, lecturing about acting, or schooling agents on royalties and copyright law, Shaw set a standard for intelligent professionalism that our own theaters might still aspire to and be measured against. The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw's voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw's life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.

Major Barbara

by George Bernard Shaw

Fabian socialist and ardent proselytizer, George Bernard Shaw viewed his role as a playwright as far more than that of an entertainer. His audiences heard fully articulated sermons on moral and economic issues, a potentially dry theatrical experience enlivened by Shaw's genius for creating vital characters and scintillating dialogue. Major Barbara offers a sparkling example of its author's unique gift for presenting social theories in an engaging format.The eponymous heroine, an officer in the Salvation Army, is the daughter of Andrew Undershaft, a wealthy armaments manufacturer. When the Army accepts donations from Undershaft and a whiskey distiller, whose money Barbara regards as tainted, she resigns in disgust, but eventually sees the truth of her father's reasoning that social iniquity derives from poverty; it is only through accumulating wealth and power that people can help each other.

Major Barbara

by George Bernard Shaw

Major Barbara is thought to be one of Shaw's most controversial works. While trying to give a realistic presentation of how he saw Christianity, many accused him of blasphemy. Major Barbara Undershaft thought it hypocrisy that her church accepted charity from companies, such as a whisky distiller, and eventually decided that it would be more fulfilling to bring salvation to people who had plenty of vises, the people in need. Shaw intended to show that no matter how terrible the donor may be, the donation can produce good.

Major Barbara

by George Bernard Shaw

Classic play.

Man and Superman

by George Bernard Shaw

One of Shaw's finest and most devilish comedies, Man and Superman portrays Don Juan as the quarry instead of the huntsman. John Tanner, upon discovering that his beautiful ward plans to marry him, flees to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where he is captured by a group of rebels. Tanner falls asleep, and dreams the famous "Don Juan in Hell" sequence, which features a sparkling Shavian debate among Don Juan, the Devil, and a talkative statue. With its fairy-tale ending and a cast literally from hell, Man and Superman is a hilarious cocktail of farce, Nietzschean philosophy, and Mozart's Don Giovanni.

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