In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS Cambridge Shaw Christopher Innes, ed. The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. xxxii + 343pp. Cloth $59.95 Paper $18.95 IT IS FORTUNATE for several of the contributors to this volume that Shaw was cremated and his ashes scattered, for one cannot say that he would be turning over in his grave. Nevertheless wherever in the universe those molecules of energy that were Shaw are dancing, they must be mightily tempted to coalesce again and return to stamp out all of the nonsense that has been perpetrated here. Apart from the difficulties with particular contributions, my primary complaint is the absence of a bibliography: people purchase a companion both for an overview of the author in question and as a reference, a guide to where to look for the best that has been written on Shaw, the most reliable sources of information and critical thinking on Shaw. This is how Christopher Innes—an otherwise able scholar who has written one of the two best books on modern British drama—deals with the question of the companion as guide to Shaw criticism and scholarship: "Most of the major critical studies, as well as recent bibliographies of Shaw, are listed in the endnotes to the various chapters." "Most"? It seems to me that all of the "major critical studies" should be listed, not "in the endnotes," or haphazardly appended to each article in "lists of'further reading,'" but rather in a bibliography or guide to references, so that the book can serve as a genuine companion to the study of Shaw. All of the other Cambridge Companions I have seen present such bibliographies. This omission devalues the volume measurably. Among the weakest essays is Robert Everding's "Shaw and the Popular Context." It contains more errors per page than I have ever seen in a university press publication. In 1956, Siobhan McKenna did not record Saint Joan for Caemdon (sic) records (as the author mis-states on p. 311); she did not even record it for Caedmon records; she did however record a version of the play for RCA records, a fact the author duly and confusingly notes on the following page, but there mistakenly calls it "the first entire Shaw play," produced for records. It is an abridged version of the play, not the entire play. Then in 1966, McKenna re-recorded the role with a different cast for Caedmon records, but this time the complete play. It was Kurt Kasznar (not "Kasmar") who played the Devil in Don Juan in Hell in Los Angeles, 1955; it was Edward Hermann (not "George" Hermann) who played Shaw in Dear Liar on television. And 211 ELT 43 : 2 2000 Michael Voysey (not "Vorsey") devised An Evening with G B. S. The book for Richard Rogers's musical version oïAndrocles and the Lion was written by Peter Stone (not "Store"). It was Harris Yulin (not "Harry" Yulin) who appeared in the 1992 Don Juan in Hell. Did anyone actually read this article before sending it to the printer? Did anyone proofread it when it came back from the printer? The way one of the references under "Further Reading" is mangled suggests not: Daniel Leary, not Stanley Weintraub, edited volume 3 ofShaw, and only the second half of the articles 's title is provided. Worse though than any of these mechanical errors is the article's failure to note, its subject being Shaw's popularity, that the last film adaptation of Shaw was in 1968, that the last U.S. television production of Shaw—and public television at that—was in the mid-eighties, that Shaw is performed in England infrequently, and that Broadway has not seen a hit revival of any Shaw play since the early eighties. Sally Peters in her biographical introduction reiterates her intuition that Shaw secretly believed himself to be homosexual. As David Gordon says in a footnote to his subsequent article on Shaw and Wilde, "the record of [Shaw's] life and work does not support such an inference." Apart from this bête noire of hers, however, and a few other overstatements of Shaw's attitudes and feelings, such as...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 211-215
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.