The book traces in some detail Shaws work as a critic (puritanical opposition to Shakespeare) and as a dramatist. G K Chesterton was ideally placed to write this critical biography of the literary works and political views of George Bernard Shaw. He was a personal friend and yet an ardent opponent of Shaws progressive socialism. The lightness of tone and the humour of his other works are equally present in his examination of Shaw. The book presents a perceptive and far from dated critique of Shaws philosophy and politics and through them the emerging progressive orthodoxy of the 20 century. The book represents an excellent introduction to Shaws work and the spirit of the age in which they were created.
The British playwright, critic, and pamphleteer George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) produced more than 52 plays and playlets, three volumes of music and drama criticism, and one major volume of socialist commentary.
In his plays Shaw combined contemporary moral problemswith ironic tone and paradoxes, "Shavian" wit, which have produced suchphrases as "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches", "England andAmerica are two countries divided by a common language", "Christianitymight be a good thing if anyone ever tried it", and "I never resisttemptation because I have found that things are bad for me do not temptme." Discussion and intellectual acrobatics are the basis of his drama,and before the emergence of the sound film, his plays were nearlyimpossible to adapt into screen. During his long career, Shaw wroteover 50 plays. He continued to write them even in his 90s. GeorgeBernard Shaw died at Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, on November 2,1950. He was cremated and it was his wish that his ashes be mixed withthose of his wife, Charlotte – she had died seven years before, "an oldwoman bowed and crippled, furrowed and wrinkled," as Shaw depicted herin a letter to H.G. Wells.
The British playwright, critic, and pamphleteer George Bernard Shaw produced more than fifty-two plays, three volumes of music and drama criticism, and one major volume of socialist commentary. Shaw is generally considered the greatest dramatist to write in the English language since William Shakespeare. Following the example of Henrik Ibsen, he succeeded in revolutionizing the English stage, disposing of the romantic conventions and devices of the “well-made” play, and instituting a theater of ideas grounded in realism. During his lifetime, he was equally famous as an iconoclastic and outspoken public figure. Essentially a shy man, Shaw created the public persona of G. B. S.: showman, satirist, pundit, and intellectual jester, who challenged established political and social beliefs.
Several of his books online, at Project Gutenberg.
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