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ELT 36 : 1 1993 novelist, a profession, however, that he found uncongenial. Unfortunately , there are numerous other passages that weaken the realistic and ironic narrative because they preach the dreamy doctrines of Yeats's early lyricism at its worst; e.g., 'Perfect love and perfect friendship are indeed incompatible; for the one is a battlefield where shadows war beside the combatants, and the other a placid country where Consultation has her dwelling" (17). Sentences like this do not only constitute bad writing, they make no sense whatever in their narrative context and do not help the story along. The switches from modern to 90s writing occur with startling and annoying suddenness; they suggest that John Sherman is very much a work of transition. After publication Yeats did not revise it significantly to complete the transformation into narrative modernism. His modernism was to be one of lyric poetry, where he learned very soon to keep his language under control by revising his early texts extensively. K. P. S. Jochum Universität Bamberg Shaw Annual T. F. Evans, ed. Shaw and Politics: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 11. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991. 311pp. $35.00 INHIS INTRODUCTION, T. F. Evans cites William Archer's account of his first meeting with Shaw in the British Museum's reading room: there was Shaw "with two large volumes spread out before him." Shaw's seriatim reading of Marx's Das Kapital and the orchestral score of Tristan und Isolde embodies for Evans "the essential truth" about Shaw as he surveys the intellectual landscape of "Shaw and Politics," the book's focus. As Evans rightly sees it, Shaw's political and artistic interests are inextricably intertwined. And while he cautions the need for qualifications, there is great point to his apothegm, drawn from the top of Man and Superman, II, that Shaw began as a "poetic" socialist who made himself into a "scientific" one and ended by becoming both. A principal virtue of this introduction is its lucidity in tracing the varied sources and expressions of Shaw's views on political economy, his preference for the theory of Jevons (value) to that of Marx (labor), his extensive involvement with the Fabians, his brief career in political office, and the prefaces to plays and his essays. 96 BOOK REVIEWS Bernard Crick's thoughtful "Shaw as Political Thinker, or the Dogs that Did Not Bark," traces the academic neglect of Shaw's political philosophy by political scientists and philosophers: Shaw, not writing academese but writing with considerable wit, irony and satire, is often as difficult to contain and as elusive to normal inspection as a rare gas. Then, too, Shaw dealt in two areas other Fabians and many thinkers in general avoided—power and religion, which he treated as the means and ends of his Creative Evolution, one of the most powerful later formulations of which came not in political or philosophical thought but in the theologically inspired work of Pierre Teillhard de Chardin. Crick's question, "Why Not Take the Political GBS Seriously?" finds its answer in SDH (Shavian Dramatic Hyperbole), one element of which is its self-referentiality which can throw one off the scent of his ideas. Unfortunately for those who seek systematic formulations in unsystematic works of literature, the point is often lost that the process of the mind at work, and not the corpus of conclusions, is the object. Crick makes the essential point that GBS is not a system-builder like Hegel or Marx or Spencer but is a speculative thinker. Crick himself knows we cannot take Shaw on eugenics seriously, not after the Holocaust and the Killing Fields. Shaw on eugenics strikes too close to home for most of us who have, as Garcia Marquez put it, seen life imitate bad literature so much. Stanley Weintraub's elegantly written "Bernard Shaw Besieged: Political Progresses to Oxbridge, 1888-1892" is a delight in that we find the human GBS going about his routine business as pro bono lecturer on socialist topics at Cambridge (1888,1889), living on the cheap, taking third-class railway passage, speaking twice of a Sunday. His first Oxford lecturing experience (20 February 1892...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 96-100
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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