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George Bernard Shaw: Selected Plays
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517124289, Hardcover)When John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962, he feared that his career was over. "I don't remember anyone doing any work after getting it, save maybe Shaw," he said. The fact that George Bernard Shaw continued to produce memorable literature for an additional quarter of a century after his 1925 Nobel Prize was a remarkable accent to an extraordinary career. His letters and journals, his highly regarded music and drama criticism, and the influential tracts that became the trademark of the Fabian Socialists all served to keep Shaw's name in the forefront of British social and intellectual movements. But it was from his skill as a dramatist that Shaw was best able to skewer the hypocrisies and cruelties of the early part of the century. With ingeniously witty dialogue, Shaw succeeded brilliantly in exploring important social and economic themes. He called his first plays "unpleasant" and said that "their dramatic power is used to force the spectator to face unpleasant facts." Still, Shaw's dramatic works endure both as vividly entertaining theater and as important--and still-relevant--commentary on the human condition.
This valuable collection containing six of Shaw's greatest plays offers a representative sampling of his genius. Mrs. Warren's Profession deals with the world's oldest craft and satirizes attitudes that still exist about sexual relations more than 100 years after the play was written. Caesar and Cleopatra claims to be an improvement on the Shakespeare version, and Man and Superman shows Don Juan as a sort of Bertie Wooster. Major Barbara takes a jab at religious professionalism, and Heartbreak House explores the superficialities of the leisure class. The collection is rounded out by the ever-popular Pygmalion, which was the basis for the immortal My Fair Lady. It would take many volumes to hold Shaw's entire bibliography, but for a delicious sampling at a very low price, this book is unique. The playwright would be pleased, too, at the book's affordability: he so believed in economic parity that when awarded his Nobel, he accepted the honor but refused the money. --Nancy Starr
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 05 May 2011 04:37:25 -0400)
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