Shaw: The Annual Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. 25

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Penn State Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 320 pages
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SHAW 25 offers eighteen articles, thirteen initially presented at the International Shaw Society conference, 17-21 March 2004, Sarasota, Florida. Additional conference and Shaw Festival Symposia information is provided in the Introduction.

Stanley Weintraub's conference keynote, "Shaw for the Here and Now," considers modernizing Shaw's plays, validating Shaw's creative force for today and into the future. Dan H. Laurence's delightful "Shaw's Children" shows a warm, caring, playful Shaw--a giver of self. Howard Ira Einsohn's article on gifting brings together Shaw, Ricoeur, and Derrida to explore the ethics of giving "superabundantly" but not foolishly. Jay Tunney reflects on the ways in which his father, boxer Gene Tunney, fits the personal and professional shoes of Shaw's Cashel Byron, with life imitating art.

In "Machiavelli, the Shark, and the Tinpot Tragedienne," Bernard F. Dukore delivers a rereading of Major Barbara that highlights characters and traits, revealing an ensnarling web of beliefs, values, actions, and consequences. Sidney P. Albert's essay explores connections between Major Barbara and Plato's Republic. Using a current theoretical lens, Vicki R. Kennell sees Pygmalion as a narrative literary bridge that predicates postmodern critiques. L.W. Conolly's research on Phillipa Summers reveals a model for Vivie Warren and provides insights into women's lives and education at the turn of the century.

In "Who's Modern Now? Shaw, Joyce, and Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken," Kathleen Ochshorn looks at the interrelationships of the three dramatists. Miriam Chirico rewrites critical opinion of You Never Can Tell, arguing that the play is a serious social critique, particularly of marriage. Citing two well-documented instances of Shaw-bashing, John A. Bertolini explores Shaw's responses and reveals Shaw's fair-mindedness. Hannes Schweiger's detailed research substantiates Shaw's influential connection to Viennese culture and politics. Valerie Barnes Lipscomb analyzes Shaw's use of age differences to subvert romantic expectations, thereby drawing greater attention to serious sociocultural issues.

Part II continues the legacy of Shaw scholarship with Charles A. Carpenter's must-read bibliographic piece, which reads like a mystery and gives a wealth of research information on Shaw. Focusing on the importance and difficulties of cycle plays, Julie Sparks looks at Man and Superman, Heartbreak House, Back to Methuselah, and current offerings such as Kushner's Angels in America. Kay Li, tracing the influence of Shaw on Chinese drama, argues that modern Chinese drama emerged from the failure of Mrs. Warren's Profession. Frank Duba's article analyzes the evolving role of the Preface in Shaw's works, focusing especially on Man and Superman.

Coming full circle, the volume returns to Stanley Weintraub's presentation of Shaw and the fascinating story of Lady Colin Campbell--a story that asks us to consider what it means to be endowed with beauty, fame, and ambition, and what it means to finally lose them. Finally, Michael W. Pharand's addendum to SHAW 24 gives supplementary bibliography on Shavian matters related to love, sex, marriage, and women. SHAW 25 also includes reviews as well as John R. Pfieffer's "Continuing Checklist of Shaviana."


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About the author (2005)

Gale K. Larson is Professor of English at California State University, Northridge.

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