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  • Tracking Down Shaw Studies:The Effective Use of Printed and Online Bibliographical Sources
  • Charles A. Carpenter (bio)

Suppose that Shaw bibliographies did not exist, and an energetic young Shaw scholar is approaching the first stage of a major project on her chosen subject. The first thing she feels compelled to do is hunt down everything significant that has been published about Shaw. What kinds of publications will she want to examine? She is a systematic person, so she first categorizes the subject of her inquiry. It soon dawns upon her how many Shaws there are, from "Georgie" to G.B.S.; from novelist and vegetarian to dramatist and vestryman; from Fabian socialist to Creative Evolutionist; from early critic of fiction, art, music, and drama to late commentator on Fascism and the atomic bomb. Then she proceeds to categorize the kinds of people who are likely to write about Shaw. She soon learns that a wide variety have done so, from next-door neighbors, Havelock Ellis and Winston Churchill, to scholars of literature, theater, music, history, philosophy, religion, economics, sociology, political science, ecology, semiology, science fiction, feminist studies, Anglo-Irish studies, media studies, and so on.

Let's say she bravely samples Internet resources for recent publications of some interest. Just from 1998 to late 2004, she will encounter a startling array of articles, among them ones in Book History, Opera Quarterly, History of Photography, Coat of Arms, Clavier, Translation Review, the Journal of Arabic Literature, Legal Studies Forum, the Journal of Value Inquiry, Fish and Fisheries, the Journal of the Wooden O Symposium, and Enter Text: An Interactive Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Cultural and Historical Studies and Creative Work. She now realizes that she needs a multinational force of librarians along with a WPA army of minimum-wage workers to do the searching before she can get past the first stage of her project. [End Page 165]

Luckily for us, our overstressed scholar is purely hypothetical. She doesn't exist, and Shaw bibliographies do. In fact, there is even a new one. A great deal of fruitful bibliographical labor has been expended on Shaw studies, something that cannot be said about many major writers. This article is intended as a how-to handbook describing the special features of existing sources of secondary bibliography, old and new, printed and online. It is designed to help your plunges into the morass of publications about Shaw to be done more intelligently, effectively, and economically.

To begin with essentials, there are three works wholly devoted to Shaw that should yield 95 percent of the significant commentaries for the years through 2003. Each one has its distinctive scope and limitations, which have to be recognized if you are to use all three profitably and know what else may be needed.

  • 1 First is the three-volume work G. B. Shaw: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him, which covers publications on Shaw from the first in 1871 through 1978. I'll refer to this hereafter as G. B. Shaw.

  • 2 Second is the "Continuing Checklist of Shaviana," which began appearing long ago in the Shaw Bulletin (1951), then moved to its titular successor the Shaw Review, then to its successor, SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Since G. B. Shaw goes through 1978 and SHAW begins in 1981, covering 1980, you need the Shaw Review only for the year 1979. My shorthand for these will be the SHAW checklists.

  • 3 The third logical source is no longer my own pair of volumes entitled Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism . . . : An International Bibliography, 1966 to 1990, which derived from annual checklists I contributed to the journal Modern Drama from 1974 to 1992.1 Their nine hundred–odd entries on Shaw are now incorporated into my recent compilation, A Selective, Classified International Bibliography of Publications About Bernard Shaw.2 For self-promoting purposes, I am tempted to refer to this always by author, title, and purchase price (only $20!), but I will settle for "Carpenter."

G. B. Shaw, edited by J. P. Wearing and others, was published in 1986.3 This is a year-by-year listing, with a separate alphabetical sequence for each year. About nine...


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