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.