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

Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 this challenge to make us see Isabella Augusta Gregory whole, and to see the human dimensions of her influence on Irish literature. Robert C. Petersen __________________________________Middle Tennessee State University TWO ON SHAW Stanley Weintraub, ed. Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 8. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988. $25.00 Harold Bloom, ed. George Bernard Shaw's 'Saint Joan'. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. $19.95 Daniel Massey, in his essay on the acting of Shaw, suggests that the secret to success with his plays is a fairly straightforward, if not simple matter: "Everyone involved-actors, technicians, designers, directorsmust find someway of opening themselves to him. To resist him, because of what he does not provide, because of what he isn't and you wish he was, is to court disaster." While Massey is, of course, speaking of artists, the same thing may be said-with qualifications-of the critic. To open oneself up to Shaw does not mean to embrace every element in his work or life as beyond reproach of judgment; it does mean to try to meet the writer on terms that are relevant and thoughtful, even if such a meeting finally results in a parting of ways. Stanley Weintraub, in the eighth of the Shaw annuals, succeeds splendidly in this challenge; Harold Bloom, in his Modern Critical Interpretations volume devoted to Saint Joan, fails at the task. Both volumes do have much to recommend them: happily, Bloom's mischief is primarily restricted to an extraordinarily wrong-headed introduction and curiously imbalanced selection of essays. Shavian scholars will already be familiar with the Shaw Annual, a continuation in book form of what was once The Shaw Review. Under Stanley Weintraub's General Editorship, Shaw has consistently offered its readers a mixture of historical, critical, and biographical scholarship on Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as such Shavians as the Continuing Checklist, obscure or previously unpublished writings by Shaw, and remarks by actors who have performed in his plays. The editorial policy is to alternate a general annual with a specialized one: past themes have included Shaw's plays in performance; next year's volume, to be guest-edited by Fred D. Crawford, will feature "Shaw Offstage." This year's offering is a general volume, and features essays and other writings covering a wide range of topics and approaches. While there is no central theme, many of the essays do cluster around a few common areas. Two essays focus on Misalliance, exam248 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 ining historical sources for the aviation elements of character and plot in the play. Robert G. Everding looks at the possible influence of flights at Hindhead Field in 1909 (and other related contemporary events) as a direct source for Shaw's interest in aviation. Rodelle Weintraub's essay proposes a historical prototype for Shaw's aviatrix, Lina Szcepanowska, one Dolly Shephard, a hot-air balloonist, a woman who appears to have been both pragmatist and heroine. If Shaw did not have Dolly Shepherd in mind when he created Lina, Weintraub's lively and anecdotal account convinces us that he should have. Three of the essays look at relationships between Shaw and other artists or public figures. Two speak to Shaw's encounters with contemporary figures. Michel Pharnad analyzes Shaw's championing of Eugene Brieux, a social-problems playwright almost unanimously regarded today as second-rate, but whose plays considered such timely issues as venereal disease, prostitution and unionism, and, for this reason, won Shaw's approval. Pharnad's thesis, that Shaw simply must have ignored Brieux's artistic shortcoming in favor of his casual rhetoric , is reasonable, if not particularly daring. In addition, Pharand included Shaw's essay on Brieux, originally published in the souvenir program for Women's Theatre Inaugural Week. Manfred Weidhom focuses on Winston Churchill's "skirmishes" (Weidhorn's apt word) with such members of the British literary intelligentsia as Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells, not to mention of course Shaw. Weidhorn's essay is an entertaining and insightful recreation of Shaw the orator and Shaw the politician, as well as of Churchill the would-be-belle-lettrist. The...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 248-251
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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.