This volume of the shaw opens with the transcript of a public lecture given by Shaw, near the end of a six-week holiday in Ireland, during his second return to Dublin (after emigrating in 1876). “Poor Law and Destitution in Ireland,” delivered on 3 October 1910 in Dublin’s Antient Concert Rooms, is printed here for the first time since its publication in The Freeman’s Journal (4 October 1910). We are grateful to Nelson O’Ceallaigh Ritschel for bringing Shaw’s lecture to our attention and for so thoroughly annotating it.
The range of topics covered by the eleven essays in this volume is evidence that Shaw, to use his own derogatory expression, was no “pure specialist.” The first essay, by the late Sidney Albert, is “The Time of Major Barbara,” an inquiry into the “compelling” reasons for Shaw selecting 1906, when the play takes place, rather than the year before, when it was written. A convincing case indeed. Charles Carpenter then provides “the inside story” on how Shaw, Bertrand Russell, and Gilbert Murray reacted to Britain’s 3 August 1914 declaration of war on Germany: Murray approved of the decision, Shaw regretted it, Russell was outraged. Three months later came Shaw’s “Common Sense About the War,” with Murray countering in mid-1915 with The Foreign Policy of Sir Edward Grey, 1906– 1915, an attempt to exonerate the Foreign Office, and Russell attacking in December with The Policy of the Entente, 1904–1914: A Reply to Professor Gilbert Murray.
Next, Lagretta Tallent Lenker examines how A. S. Byatt incorporates “a heavy dose of GBS, intentionally or unintentionally,” in her 2009 novel, The Children’s Book, where allusions to Shaw’s life and work illustrate how [End Page 1] Fabianism pervades her book. In “Authorship and Shakes Versus Shav,” Christopher Wixson “seeks to reframe the grappling portrayed in Shakes Versus Shav within the larger idea of the uniquely vexed creative authority for playwrights,” arguing that “Shaw presciently muses over the ramifications for the Shavian text upon the death of the author.”
The next three essays are international in scope. Peter Conolly-Smith finds that with Jitta’s Atonement, Shaw’s 1922 adaptation of his German-language translator Siegfried Trebitsch’s Frau Gittas Sühne (1920), Shaw “cheats” on Trebitsch’s original text by changing its ending, a “belated revenge” on Trebitsch’s translation of Pygmalion, which “had similarly changed the thrust of that play’s ending.” Barry Keane then surveys the stage productions of Mrs Warren’s Profession from 1907 to 1952 in partitioned Poland, where the play’s translation, production, and reception “generated impassioned debate . . . while also reaffirming for each era that Poland occupied the moral high ground in terms of its treatment of women and the working classes.” And Kay Li analyzes John Woo’s 2009 film adaptation of Pygmalion, My Fair Gentleman (Yao Tiao Shen Shi), and its portrayal of how the entrepreneurial peasant Charles Zeng Tian-gao, the Eliza Doolittle figure, moves to metropolitan Shanghai and amasses his fortune. His transformation by Candice Wu Jia-qian, the Henry Higgins figure, from country bumpkin to gentleman, is an analogy for how China quickly emerged from the devastating poverty caused by the Cultural Revolution to the affluence resulting from modernization.
Sallust, writes Stanley Weintraub, “is a mysterious and subtle signifier” in Shaw’s writings, appearing in only Shaw’s last completed novel, An Unsocial Socialist—“and there only as the hideaway address of the hero.” Weintraub explores what Shaw may have known about the Roman political philosopher and finds numerous echoes of Sallust in Shaw’s works.
Derek McGovern examines Shavian elements in the 1964 My Fair Lady film (based on the 1956 Broadway musical) to determine, first, to what extent it is “a faithful adaptation of its stage musical counterpart”; second, in what specific ways “the film’s aesthetics convey the likelihood of a Higgins-Eliza romance”; and third, in what respects the film is “more faithful to the stage version(s) of Shaw’s play than the 1938 film version of Pygmalion.”
Gustavo A. Rodríguez Martín probes “Shaw’s acquaintance with the cultural centrality of numbers” by...