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

Book Reviews the novel's final sentence scarcely suggests a happy ending. Yet in his intended caricature of feminism, James clearly shares his hero's private vision of "the need to reform the reformers." Sloan notes a certain change which has come to the criticism of his subject's works: Gissing is presently seen not so much in relation to the late Victorians as to his "naturalistic writing which has retained a strong hold on the English tradition through Wells, Bennett and Orwell to the present day," thus emphasizing the fact that Gissing 's place in the traditional English novel should be moved somewhat further toward that of the modern English novelists. This conclusion, in addition to his recognition of the new "influences" on Gissing, helps to make Sloan's book a profitable and substantial achievement. Bruce Teets Professor Emeritus, Central Washington University Shaw on Stage Aubrey Hampton. GBS & Company: A Biographical Celebration in Two Acts Presided Over by Bernard Shaw. Tampa: Orgánica Press, 1989. xxxii + 148 pp. Paper $10.95 AUBREY HAMPTON'S PLAY PROVIDES an entertaining and engaging view of Shaw in his "pantomime ostrich" mode as he spends an evening talking and cavorting with a fascinating array of his contemporaries . Several aspects of Shaw's public character receive joyful attention and display, to the delight both of those who know a good deal about Shaw and of those who may know little of him. Those who like Shaw, or are capable of doing so, will like the play. On stage with Shaw are his wife Charlotte, his uncle Walter Gurley, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Oscar Wilde, Richard Mansfield, H. G. Wells, Beerbohm Tree (it is a pity that Henry Irving could not be there as well), Arthur Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton, W. B. Yeats, Madame Blavatsky, Florence Farr, Harley Granville Barker, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, Annie Besant, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Ellen Terry, Jenny Patterson, Harry Houdini, and Gene Tunney, as well as various lesser characters from the Shavian past, including the doctor who treated Shaw's broken hip in 1950 and various clerks from Charles Uniacke Townshend's Dublin land office. The action and dialogue provide a wealth of information about Shaw's life, and if some of the encounters or events never occurred, that does not really seem to matter very much. 361 ELT: Volume 33:3 1990 One delightful feature of the play is that it presents not one Shaw, but two. The younger Shaw, aged thirty-three, performs on the piano and acts out his involvements with various characters while Jenny Patterson discusses her early affair with Shaw, Mrs. Pat describes Shaw's futile attempts to direct her during rehearsals of Pygmalion, the Webbs discuss Shaw's Fabian activities, and so on. The elder Shaw, aged ninety-four, watches the beginning of the play from the front row, rides (and crashes) a bicycle, spars with Tunney, escapes from a strait jacket, chats with some of the performers while others are changing costume, and talks with his contemporaries about mutual interests and experiences. He also converses with his younger self about his past actions, frequently while the younger Shaw performs them. The presence of both the younger and the elder Shaw on stage may recall Beckett's use of recordings in Krapp's Last Tape, but Hampton's play is much more lighthearted, stages the actions being discussed, and allows for a two-way exchange between Shavian selves. The device also gives Hampton considerable license, for while purists might argue that the real Shaw never escaped from a strait jacket while an approving Houdini looked on, or could not have hoped to hold his own with Tunney (forty-one years younger than Shaw), such limits hardly apply to the Shaw "on the other side." The device also offers several occasions for humor. At one point the elder Shaw comments that "Bertrand Russell would be dead today" had not Shaw swerved to avoid running him over with his bicycle. An actress has to remind Shaw that "Bertrand Russell is dead today." There is a goodly amount of Shaw's work in this play, for almost all his lines come from his prefaces, plays, and...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 361-363
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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.