A one-act adaptation of a very late Shaw play, Buoyant’s Billions (1947) was presented by the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, the International Shaw Society Performing Arts Troupe. The play was adapted by Christopher Wixson.
Here are the invaluable tour of Shaw’s Corner and other Shavian conversations, presented by Professor Stanley Weintraub: https://shaw-institute.com/welcome/weintraub/. Many thanks to Dr. Anne Wright CBE for drawing attention to this in her Tribute to Professor Weintraub in A Writing Life, by Stanley Weintraub, Eds. Michel Pharand and David Weintraub, ELT Press, 2020.
Now only is social distancing practised in seating arrangements, the cast have to practise social distancing too, like standing on individual platforms distanced from one another. e.g. Parker Theatre (formerly the Utah Children’s Theatre) in Salt Lake City.
10. Deep clean of the auditorium after each screeningclean ‘high-touch areas’ frequently:
“surfaces and touch screens at ticket kiosks have to be wiped every 15 minutes, and door handles and toilets every 30 minutes. They even have to wash their hands every single time they handle paper money.”
Professor Charles Carpenter is a great authority on Shaw Bibliography.
Please click here for Professor Charles Carpenter’s authoritative Shaw Bibliography.
Charles (Al) Carpenter, Bernard Shaw’s Letters to Individuals:
A Chronological Selection of Wholes and Parts Duplicated from A Great Variety of Sources into a Downloadable, Searchable, Readable WORD File.
Contains a host of letters and parts of letters that you have never seen before.
The 600-plus page file will cost $30 for all but people still pursuing their advanced degrees, for whom it will cost $20. The British equivalents are £20 and £15; checks or bills for these amounts will be welcomed. Periodic updates will be sent with no additional charge.
To purchase the file, send the fee to me at908 Lehigh Ave.,VestalNY13850. I will need a note from everyone containing your name and email address. Please respect my efforts and do not send a copy of your file to anyone else.
Alphabetical List of Sources with two or more letters (many others have one)
Archer: Archer, Charles. William Archer: Life, Work, and Friendships. 1931
Astor: Bernard Shaw and Nancy Astor. Ed. J. P. Wearing. 2005
Barker: Bernard Shaw’s Letters to Granville Barker. Ed. C. B. Purdom. 1956
Barnes: Barnes, Kenneth R. Welcome, Good Friends: The Autobiography of Kenneth R. Barnes. 1958
Rodelle Selma Horwitz was born April 29, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the elder daughter of Benjamin Raphael and Minerva Wascoff Horwitz. She graduated from The Philadelphia High School for Girls, January 1950, matriculated at West Chester State Teachers College, now West Chester University of Pennsylvania, before transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree in January, 1954. On June 6, 1954 she married Stanley Weintraub with whom she has three children, Mark Bennett 1956, David Andrew 1958, and Erica Beth 1961, and 8 grandchildren.
In September 1954 Weintraub relocated from Philadelphia to State College, Pennsylvania, the location of The Pennsylvania State University. She lived in Centre County until 2003, then moving to Newark, Delaware. In 1955, as its founding mother, she was a member of a committee that established the Bellefonte-State College Jewish Community Center which later became Congregation Brit Shalom. After holding numerous positions with that organization, in 1963 she became President of the unaffiliated synagogue, possibly the first woman in the United States to head a Jewish congregation. She was a member of NOW and the League of Women Voters and ran, unsuccessfully, for election to the State College Borough Council. She was president of the Harris Acres Civic Association and member and chair of the Boalsburg Water Authority. She is a charter member of the National Museum for Women Artists and a founding member of the Jewish History Museum in Philadelphia. She is on the boards of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Newark Symphony Orchestra and has been board member and president of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and the Friends of the Newark Symphony. She is a member of Hadassah and for three years served as editor of the Bulletin of the Wilmington Delaware Chapter of Hadassah of which she is also a board member. She is an officer in the Beech Hill Maintenance Association and editor of its monthly Newsletter.
Weintraub taught Business and Technical Writing at Penn State for 14 years, has been a technical writing consultant to industry, and has been a literary editor. Among the books she “invisibly” edited are Beardsley, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and Victoria, which was in first place on the best seller list in England.
She co-authored with Stanley Weintraub
Lawrence of Arabia: The Literary Impulse, Louisiana State University Press, 1975
Co-edited with Stanley Weintraub Dear Young Friend The Letters of American Presidents to Children, 2000.
Evolution of a Revolt Early Postwar Writings of T. E. Lawrence, Pennsylania State University Press, 1968
“Moby-Dick and Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” with Stanley Weintraub, Studies in American Fiction,
“Chapman’s Homer,” with Stanley Weintraub, The Classical World, September-October 1973
Arms and the Man and John Bull’s Other Island by George Bernard Shaw, Bantam, 1993
Misalliance and Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw, Bantam, 1995
“A Parachutist Prototype for Lina,” Shaw 8, 1988
“Getting Married? An Edwardian Dilemma,” The Once and Future Shaw, 1990
“Oh, the Dreaming, the Creaming: Arms and the Man“, Shaw and Other Matters, Associated University Presses 1998
“Votes for Women: Bernard Shaw and the Women’s Suffrage Movement,” Ritual Remembering History, Myth and Poltics in Anglo-Irish Drama, Costerus New Series 99, 1995
“Bernard Shaw’s Fantasy Island: Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles,” The Classical World and the Mediterranean, Universita de Sassari, 1996
“Bernard Shaw’s Henry Higgins: A Classic Aspergen,” English Literature in Translation 1880-1920, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2006
“Don Roberto in Bernard Shaw’s Plays,” SHAW 31, 2011
She has had reviews published in The New Republic and the San Francisco Review of Books and was included in Who’s Who of American Women in 1979/80.
She is a member of the International Shaw Society and former member of the International Association for Anglo-Irish Literature (now the International Association of Irish Literature). Weintraub has participated in conferences and delivered talks not only in the United States, but Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and South Africa.
Stanley Weintraub (born. April 17, 1929) is a professor, historian, and biographer. He is an expert on George Bernard Shaw. Weintraub was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the eldest child of Benjamin and Ray Segal Weintraub, followed by siblings Herbert and Gladys. Weintraub married his wife Rodelle Horwitz in 1954, with whom he has three children: Mark Bennett, David Andrew, and Erica Beth. They have eight grandchildren.
Weintraub started to accrue his knowledge about world affairs at an early age. From a one-volume children’s encyclopedia he moved to the stacks of National Geographic magazines bought second-hand by his father for him at five cents each. His expertise in war also started early, when he collected the then-popular bubble-gum war cards in the 1930s, though he was too young to recognize the patriotic propaganda. In 1939, ten-year-old Weintraub became able to check out adult books when his father applied for a library card. The first book he checked out was radio commentator H. V. Kaltenborn’s I Broadcast the Crisis, about the Munich Conference in 1938.
His first attempt at writing beyond school assignments began with a chronicle of World War II in 1939, a task abandoned the next year due to illness. His interest in the development of the war and domestic politics continued, especially after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The early creative efforts included ranged from building model warplanes to the publication of verses marking the 1941 Japanese capture of Wake Island and the Battle of Bataan.
Receiving a commission as Army Second Lieutenant, Weintraub served with the Eighth Army in Korea, largely as admissions officer for the UN POW Hospital on the Korean mainland. He spent seventeen months in Korea, and was separated from active duty as a first lieutenant, having been awarded a Bronze Star. 
A distinguished alumnus of South Philadelphia High School, he attended West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University of Pennsylvania) where he received his B.S. in education in 1949. He was presented a Distinguished Alumnus Award by West Chester University in 1968. On 11 November 1982, the university inaugurated the “Rodelle and Stanley Weintraub Center for the Study of the Arts and Humanities,” showcasing a collection of his and her books, papers and memorabilia. The exhibits include a head sculpted by Samuel Sabean. Weintraub continued his education at Temple University were he received his master’s degree in English “in absentia,” as he was called to duty in the Korean War. In 2011, Professor Weintraub was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Weintraub enrolled at the Pennsylvania State University in September 1953, and his doctoral dissertation “Bernard Shaw, Novelist” was accepted on May 6, 1956. But for visiting appointments, he remained at Penn State throughout his career, moving through the ranks from teaching assistant as a Ph.D. student to Evan Pugh Professor of Arts and Humanities, with emeritus rank on retirement in 2000. From 1970 to 1990 he was also Director of Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies.
Weintraub’s Shaw editorships began in 1956 when he took over the then-moribund Shaw Bulletin, which became Shaw Review in 1959 and SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies in 1981. His copious writings on Shaw include some twenty volumes about or by Shaw, such as the award-winning Journey to Heartbreak; the Crucible Years of Bernard Shaw, 1914-1918. The first of his Shaw-related books, in 1963, was Private Shaw and Public Shaw: A Dual Portrait of Lawrence of Arabia and G.B.S..
As a biographer, Weintraub has focused upon nineteenth-century England, from Four Rossettis and Whistler to Victoria, Albert, and Disraeli. His Korean War experience led him also into military history, with books on both world wars, the Korean War, and the Spanish Civil War–an interest sparked early by the inter-war conflicts pictured on his boyhood collection of bubble-gum cards. As a critic, beyond his books and articles he has written hundreds of reviews for scholarly journals, and for the Saturday Review (now defunct), The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post’s Book World, and the Wall Street Journal. Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post has called him “a gifted, accomplished biographer and literary historian.”
The Weintraub’s Stanley Tree
Weintraub’s awards for teaching, research and publications include the PSU Class of 1933 Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities in 1964, a National Book Award Nomination for Beardsley: A Biography in 1967, Guggenheim Fellow in 1968, the George Freedley Award from the American Theatre Library Association for Journey to Heartbreak: The Crucible Years of Bernard Shaw, 1914-1918 in 1971, the Freedom Foundation Award for The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in London, 1894-1914 in 1980, a third Distinguished Humanist Award by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council in 1985. Whistler; a Biography was one of the “30 Notable Books of the Year” in 1974. Long Day’s Journey Into War was on the “best” list of Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, the New York Times Book Review and the New York Public Library. The Last Great Victory: the End of World War II, July–August 1945 was one of his many books selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club, going into its third printing within a month of its release date. Many of his books, from Victoria to Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914, have become audiobooks.
“Peace is harder to make than war.” From A Stillness Heard Round the World: the End of the Great War, November 1918.
Books by Stanley Weintraub
Private Shaw and Public Shaw: A Dual Portrait of Arabia and G. B. S.. London: Braziller, 1963.
The Yellow Book, Quintessence of the Nineties. Edited with an introd. by Stanley Weintraub [1st ed.]. Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday 1964.
The Art of William Golding [by] Bernard S. Oldsey & Stanley Weintraub. New York Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965.
Reggie: a Portrait of Reginald Turner. New York G. Braziller, 1965.
The Last Great Cause ; the Intellectuals and the Spanish Civil War. New York, Weybright and Talley, 1968.
Journey to Heartbreak ; the Crucible Years of Bernard Shaw, 1914-1918. New York, Weybright and Talley, 1971.
Beardsley: A Biography. London: Braziller, 1967.
Journey to Heartbreak: The Crucible Years of Bernard Shaw. New York: Weybright and Talley, 1971.
Directions in Literary Criticism; Contemporary Approaches to Literature. Edited by Stanley Weintraub and Philip Young. University Park Pennsylvania State University Press, 1973.
Saint Joan: Fifty Years After, 1923/24-1973/74. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1973.
Whistler: a Biography. New York, Weybright and Talley, 1974.
Lawrence of Arabia: the Literary Impulse. With Rodelle Weintraub. Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 1975.
Aubrey Beardsley: Imp of the Perverse. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976
War in the Wards: Korea’s Unknown Battle in a Prisoner-of-war Hospital Camp 2d ed. San Rafael, Calif. : Presidio Press, 1976.
Four Rossettis: a Victorian Biography. New York : Weybright and Talley, 1977.
The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in London, 1894-1914. New York: Harcourt, 1979.
Modern British Dramatists, 1900-1945. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1982.
The Unexpected Shaw: Biographical Approaches to George Bernard Shaw and His Work. New York: Ungar, 1982,
British Dramatists since World War II. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1982.
The Portable Bernard Shaw. New York : Penguin Books, 1986, 1977.
A Stillness Heard Round the World: the End of the Great War, November 1918. London : Allen & Unwin, 1986, 1985.
Victoria: An Intimate Biography. New York: Dutton, 1987.
Bernard Shaw on the London Art Scene, 1885-1950. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989.
Long Day’s Journey Into War: December 7, 1941. New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Dutton, 1991.
Bernard Shaw: a Guide to Research. University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992.
Disraeli: A Biography. New York: Dutton, 1993
Arms and the Man and John Bull’s Other Island by George Bernard Shaw, with an Introduction by Stanley and Rodelle Weintraub. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
The Last Great Victory : the End of World War II, July–August 1945. New York : Truman Talley Books, 1995.
Heartbreak House and Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw, with Introduction by Rodelle and Stanley Weintraub. New York: Bantam Books, 1995.
Shaw’s People: Victoria to Churchill. University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996.
Uncrowned King: The Life of Prince Albert. New York: Free Press, 1997.
MacArthur’s War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero. New York: Free Press, 2000.
Dear Young Friend the Letters of American Presidents to Children. Edited with Rodelle Weintraub. Mechanicburg: Stackpole Press, 2000.
Edward the Caresser: the Playboy Prince who Became Edward VII. New York: Free Press, 2001.
Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914. New York: Free Press, 2001.
Charlotte and Lionel: a Rothschild Love Story. New York: Free Press, 2003.
General Washington’s Christmas Farewell: a Mount Vernon Homecoming, 1783. New York: Free Press, 2003.
Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire, 1775-1783. New York: Free Press, 2005. (also, subtitled Rebellion in America, 1775-1783. London: Simon and Schuster, 2005)
Eleven Days in December. Christmas at the Bulge, 1944. NY: Free Press, 2006
15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century New York: Free Press, 2007.
General Sherman’s Christmas. Savannah, 1864 New York: Harper/Smithsonian, 2009
Farewell, Victoria! English Literature 1880-1900 Greensboro, NC: ELT PRESS/ Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2011
Who’s Afraid of Bernard Shaw? Some Personalities in Shaw’s Plays Gainesville, FL: Univ. Press of Florida, 2011
Victorian Yankees at Queen Victoria’s Court: American Encounters with Victoria and Albert Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 2011 [A brief preliminary text delivered as a lecture was published under the same title earlier in Canada.]
Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941 New York: DaCapo Press (Perseus Books Group), 2011
FDR’s Last Campaign: The 4th Term Election, 1944 New York: DaCapo Press (Perseus Books Group), 2012 [book delivered and scheduled for July 2012 release; subtitle not finalized]
Other publications by Stanley Weintraub including editions, forewords and prefaces
Shaw, Bernard. An Unfinished Novel. London: Constable, 1958.
Snow, C.P. C.P. Snow: a Spectrum, Science, Criticism, Fiction. Edited by Stanley Weintraub. New York Scribner, 1963.
MacCarthy, Desmond. The Court Theatre 1904-1907: a Commentary and Criticism. Edited, with a foreword and additional material, by Stanley Weintraub. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1966.
Savoy. The Savoy : Nineties Experiment. Edited with an introd. by Stanley Weintraub. University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1966.
Shaw, Bernard. Cashel Byron’s Profession. Pref. by Harry T. Moore. Edited, with an introd. by Stanley Weintraub. Carbondale Southern Illinois University Press, 1968.
Lawrence, T.E. Evolution of a Revolt ; Early Postwar Writings of T.E. Lawrence. Edited with an introd. by Stanley and Rodelle Weintraub. University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1968.
Oscar Wilde. Literary Criticism of Oscar Wilde. Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 1968, 1970.
Shaw, Bernard. Shaw. Selected from his Writings by Stanley Weintraub. New York, Weybright and Talley, 1969-70.
Shaw, Bernard. Shaw; an Autobiography. London: M. Reinhardt, 1970.
Shaw, Bernard. Saint Joan. Edited, with an introd. and notes, by Stanley Weintraub. Indianapolis Bobbs-Merrill, 1971.
Shaw, Bernard. Bernard Shaw’s Nondramatic Literary Criticism. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1972.
Shaw, Bernard. The Portable Bernard Shaw. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
Wilde, Oscar. The Portable Oscar Wilde. Rev. ed. New York : Viking Press, 1981.
Shaw, Bernard. Heartbreak House : a Facsimile of the Revised Typescript. New York : Garland Pub., 1981.
Shaw, Bernard. The Playwright and the Pirate : Bernard Shaw and Frank Harris, a Correspondence. University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1982.
Shaw, Bernard. Bernard Shaw: the Diaries, 1885-1897 : with Early Autobiographical Notebooks and Diaries, and an Abortive 1917 Diary. University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1986.
Shaw, Bernard. Heartbreak House : and, Misalliance. Selinsgrove : Susquehanna University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, 1998.
Rusinko, Susan. Shaw and Other Matters : a Festschrift for Stanley Weintraub on the Occasion of his Forty-second Anniversary at the Pennsylvania State University. Selinsgrove : Susquehanna University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, 1998.
War in the Wards: Korea’s Unknown Battle in a Prisoner-of-war Hospital Camp. 2d ed. San Rafael, Calif. : Presidio Press, 1976.
“Confessions of a Bookworm’ Apprentice,” Town & Gown (September 1984): 24-54.
“Research as Fun” (unpublished typescript of a talk delivered to a local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, April 1986).
“A Kid’s War,” Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series 20. Detroit: Gale Research 1994. 297-317.
John F. Baker, “Stanley Weintraub,” Publishers Weekly 2-5 (4 February 1974): 8-9.
Crawford, Fred D. “The Dreaded Weintraub.” In Shaw and Other Matters : a Festschrift for Stanley Weintraub on the Occasion of his Forty-second Anniversary at the Pennsylvania State University. Edited by Susan Rusinko. Selinsgrove : Susquehanna University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, 1998.
Colon, John J. “Stanley Weintraub,” Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume III American Literary Biographers, Second Series. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. 285-99.
Isidor Saslav, Director of String Studies at Stephen F. Austin State University, ret., began the collection in 1960 while a student at Wayne State University in Detroit with the purchase of a first edition of Shaw’s first play, Widowers Houses (1893). From that time up to the present Dr. Saslavand his familyhave added to the collectionuntil it has reached its present size of approximately 8,000 items. By comparison the gargantuan Shaw holdings at the University of Texas atAustin’sHumanitiesResearchCenter are comprised of some 9,000 items.
Besides books, which include first editions, collected editions, and bibliographies, the collection features Shaw autograph postcards and letters, magazines, both individual and in extended runs, movie and radio scripts, photos, caricatures, videos, cassettes and LPs of theatrical productions and musicals, stamps, theatrical and movie posters and placards, and much ephemera including pamphlets, theater programs (many of original productions), proof copies, cigarette cards, etc.
Reflected strongly in the collection is Shaw’s many-sided career as playwright, producer/director, screen writer, novelist, and letter writer; as critic of books, art, music, theater, aesthetics, photography, and cinema; his pioneering work in British politics; religious and philosophical thought; philology and the development of the English language; his humanitarian crusades against vivisection and for vegetarianism; and other topics.
Besides Shaw himself the collection emphasizes the influences on him and his career; his circle of friends, collaborators, and associates; and those in field after field of endeavor whom he in turn influenced and assisted. A naming of some of these figures and personalities, many of whom are represented strongly in the collection, would include William Morris, Henry George, William Archer, Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, G.K. Chesterton, H. L. Mencken, Lady Gregory, Annie Horniman, Harley Granville- Barker, Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Lawrence of Arabia, Joan of Arc, Gene Tunney, and many others; theatrical and movie personalities such as Katherine Hepburn, Gabriel Pascal, Danny Kaye, Sir Laurence Olivier, Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison, Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, Agnes de Mille, and many others.
Scholarly books on Shaw include strong representation of works by Stanley Weintraub, Michael Holroyd, Charles Carpenter, the late Dan H. Laurence, and many others, with whom Dr. Saslav has been in communication and interaction over the years, and who have assisted Dr. Saslav by advice and contribution in the building up of the collection. In addition Dr, Saslav is a founding member of the International Shaw Society. A uniquely exhaustive sub-collection documenting Shaw’s visit to New Zealand in 1934 has also been created by Dr. Saslav for the collection thanks to his six years as concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. An extensive selection of memorabilia from the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake inCanadais also part of the collection.
Aiding scholarly analysis of the collection is a database of information containing approximately 2,500 items, identifying the works and analyzing their relationship and relevance to the collection. Dr. Saslav continues to update this database as the collection grows and will continue to curate the collection until the database is complete.
As stated above Dr. Saslav has been in communication and interaction with the Shaw scholarly community over the years and the results of Dr. Saslav’s researches are summarized in the list below:
LECTURES, PAPERS, AND PUBLICATIONS ON GEORGE BERNARD SHAW:
“ “SHAW-CAGO” Celebrating Shaw’s Chicago Century,” The Shavian, Journal of the [London] Shaw
Society, Summer 2011, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp. 17-22.
“ ‘Shaw cathedral’ damaged” The Shavian, Journal of the [London] Shaw Society, Summer 2011, Vol.
11, No. 6, pp. 22f.
“Celebrating Shaw’s Chicago Century,” article for online Ezine Swans Commentary, April 23, 2011.
“Celebrating Shaw’s Chicago Century,” paper read at the International Shaw Society Symposium in
ChicagoILhosted by ShawChicago, October 23, 2010.
“Shaw as Musical (2)” review of A Minister’s Wife, musicalization of Candida by the Wrtiers’ Theater
in GlencoeIL, July 2009, The Shavian, Journal of the [London] Shaw Society, Summer 2010, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 10-15.
“How I Found Shaw,” autobiographical article for online Ezine Swans Commentary, March 23, 2009
[revised and expanded version of Shavian article below].
“George Bernard Shaw on the Art of Conducting, 1877-1950,” lecture for the Conductors’ Guild
Convention,New YorkNY, January 11, 2009.
“How I Found Shaw,” autobiographical article in The Shavian [London], Autumn 2008, V.10, No. 7,
pp. 21- 25.
“Working with Dan Laurence,” Nicholas Grene, compiler; article of reminiscence, “Isidor Saslav,”
SHAW, The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, No. 28, 2008, pp. 263f.
“Shaw’s letters in other people’s books,” article in SHAW, The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, No. 27,
2007, pp. 201-12.
“[150th] Birthday Party: Isidor Saslav reports on a Shaw dinner in California,” The Shavian, Journal of
the [London] Shaw Society, Autumn 2006, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 30-31.
“Shaw’s letters in other peoples’ books,” paper read at the Shaw 150th birthday conference,
BrownUniversity,ProvidenceRI, June 8-11, 2006.
“Bernard Shaw and Religion,” lecture for the Unitarian Fellowship of Longview, TX,
January 16, 2005.
“GBS in Heaven (and Hell): The Shaws inNew ZealandApril 1934,” paper read at the International Shaw Society, Shaw Festival Symposium, Niagara-on-the-Lake ONT, July 21, 2004.
“Bernard Shaw’s New Zealand Progress March-April 1934: An illustrated commentary,”
Stout Centre Review, Vol II, No. 3,VictoriaUniversity,Wellington NZ, May 1992.
MAN AND SUPERMAN
“Man and Superman and Don Juan in Hell:Highlights from a Performance History 1905-2005,” paper read at the International Shaw Society, Shaw Festival Symposium, Niagara-on-the-Lake ONT, August 26, 2006. [accompanied by a 10-panel display of items from the Saslav Collection on the topic].
“Texas Celebrates Man and Superman,” review of the Round Top Theatre Forum, The Shavian [London], Spring 2006, V. 10, No. 2., pp. 33-35
“Man and Superman and Don Juan in Hell:Highlights from a Performance History 1905-2005,” lecture for the Round Top TX Festival Institute Theatre Forum November 4-7, 2005;
[including the10-panel display.]
ARMS AND THE MAN
“Arms and the Man in Texas,” The Independent Shavian [NY] Vol. 41/2-3, 2003, pp. 68-70.
“Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man,’ ” lecture Texas Shakespeare Festival,Kilgore TX, 2003.
[including a display case of memorabilia from the Saslav Arms and the Mancollection].
“Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man,’ ” lecture Stephen F. Austin St. U. Theater Department,
“Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man,’ ” lecture Theater Hopkins, Johns Hopkins
Radio New Zealand/Concert FM radio lectures, 1991-92
“Bernard Shaw on the Art of Musical Criticism”
“Victorian Concert Life as Seen by Bernard Shaw”
“Bernard Shaw on Conducting”
“Bernard Shaw on and at the Keyboard”
“Bernard Shaw on the Voice and the Art of Singing”
“How Bernard Shaw Reviewed the Ladies”
Other lectures and papers:
“Bernard Shaw: The Books, the Writing, the Man,” Book Arts Society ofNew Zealand,
“Bernard Shaw as Critic of 18th-century Musical Theatre,” New Zealand Musicological Society Symposium, “Dramatic Music in the 17th and 18th Centuries,” Wellington NZ, 1992.
“Shaw: and, on, and inNew Zealand,” Stout Research Centre,VictoriaUniversity,WellingtonNZ,
“Noel Coward and Bernard Shaw,” Khandallah (NZ) Arts Theatre, 1992.
“Shaw Collecting inNew Zealand,” Bernard Shaw Society of New York, 1991.
“Bernard Shaw as Music Critic,” Institute of Registered Music Teachers,WellingtonNZ, 1990.
“Bernard Shaw as Music Critic and his Visit toChristchurch,”CanterburyUniversity,
By Professor Stanley Weintraub and Mrs. Rodelle Weintraub
George Bernard Shaw (he never used George as an adult) was born in Dublin on July 26, 1856. His formal schooling ended at fourteen, when he became a clerk and bookkeeper at an estate agency. He abhorred the stultifying work, and when his mother and father separated in 1876, and “Bessie” Shaw emigrated to London, young Shaw followed. Unable at first to find employment, he went to work for the Bell Telephone Company of London, explaining frankly that it was a temporary resort, as he wanted to make his living at literature. He left after six months, having begun a novel, Immaturity, in his informal university, the domed Reading Room of the British Museum. He had begun spending hours at a desk there while living frugally off his mother’s earnings as a music teacher. (Chronically impecunious, he became a vegetarian, only in part because of ethical sensitivities.) A few pounds writing, and ghost-writing, music, book and drama criticism kept his writing ambitions alive while he completed four additional novels rejected in turn by trade publishers as too unconventional for Victorian audiences.
The Irrational Knot, Love Among the Artists, Cashel Byron’s Profession and An Unsocial Socialist found serial publication in unremunerative Socialist magazines in the later 1880s. Meanwhile, Shaw began regular art, music, then drama criticism in London dailies and weeklies. At the same time he was acquiring a reputation as a public speaker through his political activism on behalf of the fledgling, and Socialist, Fabian Society (1884), one of the precursors of the Labour Party. Lectures on Ibsen to the Fabians would lead to his influential The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891). After abandoning a novel he left unfinished in 1888 (the fragment was published posthumously), he returned to a play manuscript which he and theatre critic William Archer had put aside, and finished it himself as Widowers’ Houses (1892). It had only two controversial performances. His next plays, The Philanderer (written 1893) and Mrs Warren’s Profession (also 1893) were banned by the censor as indecent for their coldly ironic sexual content. Convinced that he had a future as a playwright, he wrote on, and his satiric comedies Arms and the Man (1894) and Candida (1894) launched him in London.
To afford more time for the theatre and for political lecturing and journalism, Shaw gave up drama criticism in 1898, but his musical criticism in the Star and the World, and his theatre journalism in the Saturday Review remain classics in the genre. His plays thereafter were either immediate successes or, like You Never Can Tell (1896), successes in revival once audiences recognized their break-through qualities, for Shaw cultivated paradox and reversal of audience expectations. The Man of Destiny (1895), his antidote to heroic portrayals of Napoleon, was his first study in greatness, followed by his ambitious Caesar and Cleopatra (1898), an attempt to write a play of Shakespearian scope, yet a hero, he wrote, “in whom we can recognize our own humanity.” It was completed after Shaw’s wedding that June to Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish millionairess only a year his junior. At her insistence their marriage remained unconsummated, and that it remained so is suggested by internal evidences in Shaw’s plays beginning with the one then in progress. The union with Charlotte, nevertheless, lasted until her death decades later. Shaw’s friendships and flirtations with women, before and after, were largely but not entirely epistolary. As he claimed in a preface (1931) to his correspondence with Ellen Terry, “Only on paper has mankind ever yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue and abiding love.”
Shaw’s ascendancy as leading British playwright came in the landmark years of the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, 1904-1907, with Man and Superman (written 1901-1902), John Bull’s Other Island (1904), Major Barbara (1905), and The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906). During the Edwardian decade he also wrote a series of lively one-act plays, some of them, in their non-realistic and presentational aspects, foreshadowing much later drama. One playlet, Passion, Poison and Petrifaction (1905) anticipated by forty-five years Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist The Bald Soprano.
Man and Superman, he explained, “took the legend of Don Juan in its Mozartean form” and created a modern comedy of ideas wrapped around its detachable dream scene, Don Juan in Hell. John Bull’s Other Island followed–a comedy about Anglo-Irish misunderstanding and colonial exploitation, with an unforgettable and mystic defrocked Irish priest, Father Keegan. The play had been commissioned by W. B. Yeats for Dublin’s Abbey Theatre but the directorate was uneasy about its likely reception, and instead it opened triumphantly in London. In Major Barbara, via an idealistic Salvation Army lass and her father, an outspoken munitions millionaire estranged from his conventional family, Shaw continued through high comedy to explore religious consciousness as well as to probe society’s complicity in its own evils. The Doctor’s Dilemma satirized the medical profession as representative of the self-protectiveness of professions in general, and included a serio-comic onstage death.
Full length bronze statuette of Shaw by Kathleen Scott, Lady Kennet, (1878-1947) widow of Scott of Antarctic fame. Photo provided by Evelyn Ellis, Membership Secretary for the Shaw Society of England
Full length bronze statuette of Shaw by Kathleen Scott, Lady Kennet, (1878-1947) widow of Scott of Antarctic fame. Photo provided by Evelyn Ellis, Membership Secretary for the Shaw Society of England
Other prewar plays offered Shaw opportunities to experiment with discussion drama conveyed through what may be described as serious farce. Getting Married (1907-1908) and Misalliance (1909) explained themselves, while Fanny’s First Play (1910-1911), a suffragist satire wrapped around an artificial opening and closing, became, with 622 performances, his greatest first-run success. Each comedy exploited artificiality and absurdity in setting, plot and dialogue, and included modernist aspects, Misalliance even employing the theatre’s first airplane crash. The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet (1909), set in an improbable American Wild West as imagined by Bret Harte, and Androcles and the Lion (1912), a fable adapted as serious farce, treated true and false religious exaltation. Blanco, banned in England for Posnet’s blasphemous pub-counter sermon on God, was performed in Dublin, out of legal reach of the Lord Chamberlain’s stage censorship (which survived awkwardly into the later 1960s).
Abbreviated in its popular run by the beginning of World War I in mid-1914 was the mythically titled Pygmalion (written 1912). Although Shaw proposed, tongue-in-cheek, that he had only written a didactic play about the power of phonetics, and its anti-hero, Henry Higgins, is indeed a speech professional, what playgoers reveled in was a high comedy about love and class. A pert cockney flower-girl from Covent Garden, Eliza Doolittle, is educated by Higgins to pass as a lady, and the repercussions of the experiment reverberate in its many successful revivals. Perhaps the classic high comedy of its century, it was transformed by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederic Loewe into the century’s greatest musical comedy. My Fair Lady (1956). Shaw’screenplay for the filmed Pygmalion (1938), some of its additional scenes adapted for the later musical, won for him an Academy Award.
The 1914-1918 war began as Pygmalion was nearing its 100th performance, and the run was soon abbreviated. Feeling that writing plays in wartime was futile, Shaw turned to polemics, publishing a lengthy Swiftian pamphlet, Common Sense about the War (November, 1914), which appeared as a supplement to the weekly New Statesman. It sold widely and made him internationally notorious, as his readers, predictably jingoistic at the start of the war, proved largely hostile to negotiation as solution, especially as Shaw held Britain and its allies equally culpable with the Germans and Austrians. Unreason reigned. Some of his anti-war speeches were banned from newspapers, and he was ejected from the Dramatist’s Club although he was its most distinguished member. Unrepentant, he wrote several scathingly sly playlets about the war, such as O’Flaherty, V.C. (1915). Later, the unforgetful Shaw adapted his experience as embattled public intellectual into a dozen postwar plays, sometimes defiantly, often unobtrusively.
Heartbreak House (written 1916-1917, performed 1920) became the classic Shavian presentation of the spiritual bankruptcy of the generation responsible for the war. He combined conversational comedy with striking symbolism, creating a somber vision owing its mood to Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, while its elderly leading figure, and much else, recalled Shakespeare’s King Lear. There are even echoes of Homer’s Iliad in the play, leading Jean Giraudoux in writing a 1930s pacifist play indebted partly to Shaw to call his own dark comedy The Trojan War Shall Not Take Place.
Back to Methuselah (1918-1920, performed 1922) was Shaw’s attempt to fend off “the bottomless pit of an utterly discouraging pessimism.” A cycle of five linked plays (In the Beginning, The Gospel of the Brothers Barnabas, The Thing Happens, The Tragedy of an Elderly Gentleman, As Far as Thought Can Reach), it created a parable of humanity’s progress and future from the Garden of Eden to 31,920. He drew imaginatively upon Genesis, Plato, Swift, science and even the war in progress when he began, with the aim of creating a work on the scale of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle. In satire that ranges from bright to bleak, Shaw speculates through his contemporary and his futuristic characters about escaping from “this machinery of flesh and blood.” Dated by the topical allusions in the less successful middle plays, and overly long, it remains awkward onstage, however ennobling as a total theatre experience.
Anticipating, in his middle sixties, that he was creatively finished as a playwright, Shaw renewed his interest in the theatre after the canonization of Joan of Arc in 1920, in the aftermath of the war. The event reawakened in him ideas for a chronicle play about her which had never been quite dormant. Going to the English translation of the trial records, Shaw realized that the Maid’s sharp-tongued responses were in places almost Shavian. (He would use some dialogue from the testimony almost verbatim.) For him, it was insufficient to depict Joan as a sentimental French icon arrayed against melodramatic villains. Further, neither the militant nor the martyr appealed to Shaw as much as did her symbolizing the possibilities of humankind. The Maid from Lorraine became a wry Shavian heroine as well as Catholic martyr, an amalgam of practical mystic, heretical saint, and inspired genius. To make her greatness of soul credible onstage, he made her adversaries believable, rehabilitating in their twisted humanity the rigid clerics who convicted her of heresy five centuries earlier. Since classic tragedy seemed to him inadequate, Shaw added a dream-epilogue in which a newly canonized Joan is again rejected.
Primarily predicated on his most Shakespearean drama, as Saint Joan was characterized, the Nobel Prize for Literature 1925 was belatedly awarded to Shaw. Yet to the consternation of the prize committee G.B.S. turned it down, finally accepting the honor without the money, and funding an Anglo-Scandinavian Literary Foundation with the wherewithal, for translation into English of worthy works.
During a six-year theatrical hiatus after Saint Joan, Shaw, as public intellectual, spoke out, in person, in print, and through the new medium of BBC radio. He also worked on a collected thirty-volume edition of his works, and on his political summa, The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism (1928), so titled because Charlotte’s sister, Mary Cholmondeley, had asked him to further her political education. He would supplement it years later with his querulous Everybody’s Political What’s What? (1944).
Shaw’s Platonic “political extravaganza” The Apple Cart (written 1928) was first performed in Polish, in Warsaw, in June, 1929. A futuristic high comedy about a witty philosopher-king, it revealed growing internal conflicts between Shaw’s lifetime of professedly radical politics and his essentially conservative mistrust of the ordinary man’s ability to govern himself. It included a threatened royal abdication that prefigured that of Edward VIII in 1936. Most of his succeeding plays continued his explorations into non-realism and symbolism, shattering Ibsenite actuality by reminding audiences that they were experiencing performances on a stage rather than observing facsimiles of real life. Shaw also employed apocalyptic imagery, warning that the 1914-1918 war had settled nothing and was about to be repeated.
The deliberately absurd Too True to be Good (1931), premiered in 1932, was a dream-fantasy, including a Bunyanesque prophet, an affectionate Lawrence of Arabia burlesque (T. E. Lawrence had become a surrogate son to the Shaws), and a burglar-turned-preacher–a disillusioned former officer in the late war–who suggests, at the curtain, Shaw himself confronting his own obsolescence. On the Rocks (written and performed 1933) predicted, despite its comedic texture, the collapse of parliamentary government in a depression-blighted England. English audiences and critics hated it. Undeterred, G.B.S. produced The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles (1934, staged 1935), its settings drawn imaginatively from a round-the-world cruise the Shaws had taken, and utilizing futuristic settings to satirize eugenic solutions to human problems–which Shaw himself had once preached. (He had tired of utopianism in an increasingly anxious time.) Simpleton ends with a farcical yet mordant Day of Judgment.
The comedy, which elicited the most derogatory reviews that Shaw had received in decades, was the most travel-oriented work of many he had written in a variety of forms. A Wagner pilgrimage to Bayreuth in 1889 had reinforced his zeal for the composer and led to The Perfect Wagnerite. His Italian tours with the Art Workers Guild in 1891 and 1894 are recalled in his “Virgin Mother” play, Candida. Visiting North Africa had inspired Captain Brassbound’s Conversion (1899, staged 1900), and also the unseen but plot-crucial automobile race to Biskra in Algeria in Man and Superman. His visits to fascist Italy and a mid-1931 junket to Soviet Russia, each contrived by his hosts to impress him, reinforced his convictions about the efficiency of dictatorial regimes, the subject of several late plays.
A voyage to South Africa in 1932 led to Shaw’s writing the Candide-like novella The Black Girl in Her Search for God. Attacked from the pulpits, it nevertheless became a best-seller. The Six of Calais, a short play written at sea in 1935, recalled Rodin’s sculpture group Les bourgeois de Calais, and G.B.S.’s wartime reporting visit to France in 1917, while the brief Village Wooing (1933) was a response to his attempting to ply his craft on board ship. A stop in Hong Kong on his world cruise led to a Buddhist shrine scene in Buoyant Billions, and another scene set at the Panama Canal, but the play, begun early in 1936, was put aside until 1945. A new world war ended the Shaws’ journeyings.
Subtitled “A Jonsonian comedy,” perhaps for its broad caricatures, The Millionairess (1934, performed 1936) is a knockabout farce about a “born boss,” a farcical exaggeration of his energetic old friend Beatrice Webb. Less successful was Geneva. Written in 1936 as a cynical comedy about the faltering League of Nations amid a decade of dictators, it had to be revised constantly from its first stagings in 1938 to reflect changing events. That despots were treated lightly as braggarts reflected Shaw’s flirtation with autocracies and disillusion with weak parliamentary democracies. His history fantasy, “In Good King Charles’s Golden Days,” its title quoting a song (1938-1939, staged 1939), looked at authoritarianism more genially. It became his last popular success. A warm, discursive high comedy subtitled “A true history that never happened,” it deals autumnally with the major preoccupations of Shaw’s long life. “The riddle of how to choose a ruler is still unanswered,” says the stage Charles II, “and it is the riddle of civilization.”
Charles’s quietly managerial queen is a late tribute to Charlotte Shaw, who would die in 1943 at eighty-six. Shaw’s old acquaintances were also fading away as he lived out his last decade, mostly at his Hertfordshire home, Ayot St. Lawrence. After residing in Charlotte’s posh flat in Adelphi Terrace after their marriage, they had relocated to Whitehall Court, also overlooking the Thames, in the mid-1920s, but wartime bombings had kept them largely in the countryside. His screenplay of Major Barbara, filmed in London, had been interrupted by air raids, and much of the filming of Caesar and Cleopatra, during the last years of the war, had to be improvised accordingly.
Shaw’s postwar plays after Buoyant Billions were the dystopian and absurdist six-scene farce Farfetched Fables (1948, staged 1950); a brief puppet play, Shakes vs. Shav (1949), his overt homage to Shakespeare; and a last playlet, Why She Would Not (1950). Perhaps the puppet Shaw, in his appeal to the Bard, was G.B.S.’s implicit epitaph:
For a moment suffer
My glimmering light to shine.
Shaw died at 94 on November 2, 1950 after a fall at Ayot which fractured his hip. He left, in addition to his plays, fiction, criticism and polemical writings, thousands of the most vivid letters among literary correspondences. He left no school of playwrights although much of the drama of his own time and after was indirectly in his debt. His creation of a drama of moral passion and of intellectual conflict and debate, his modernizing the comedy of manners, his ventures into symbolic farce and a drama of disbelief, helped shape the theatre of his time and after. Further, his bringing of a bold new critical intelligence to his many other areas of endeavor helped to forge the political, economic, and social thought of three generations.
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