Abstract

Abstract:

Bernard Shaw and Noel Coward both achieved uncanny success in constructing and sustaining mythic authorial personae but the differences between them seem stark: Coward all subtext and small talk, Shaw all paratext and big talk. Critics have occasionally treated their plays in tandem, but the attention usually flows in one direction, with Coward always described as Shaw's "inheritor." However, putting Shaw's The Millionairess (1934) in dialogic play with Coward's Private Lives (1930) reveals the older playwright's attentiveness to his younger contemporary. Shaw's high comedy transposes Coward's distinctive camp idiom into a Shavian key to produce a "post-Coward" Shaw. Both plays reflect their authors' views on the dangers of unchecked absolutism, although Shaw's taste for Mussolini and Stalin has no equivalent in Coward.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 166-185
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-03
Open Access
No
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