Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-19T08:51:50.865Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2015

Brad Kent
Affiliation:
Université Laval, Québec
HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the 'Save PDF' action button.

Summary

Unlike for some writers of the modern period, scholars need not be defensive about reading Bernard Shaw in context, nor suggest that doing so presents a radical departure in scholarship. As countless studies and biographies of Shaw attest, he is the consummate subject to be read in context. His writing was not only informed by many of the popular modes, genres, and trends of his day – from melodrama and farce to the New Drama, from the Victorian novel to the New Journalism – but also bent them into idiosyncratic forms. ‘Make It New!’ commanded Ezra Pound. But Pound was coming rather late to the party: Shaw and his colleagues had already been making it new for decades.

From the time in 1876 that he quit the provincial backwater that was his native Dublin for the lures of London – the capital of the all-powerful British Empire enjoying perhaps its most dynamic century – Shaw sought to be in the thick of things and of the moment in which he lived. He first made his name as a reviewer of art, music, and theatre, using his columns not merely to comment on culture and society, but to mould public tastes and to forge his identity. In tandem, he circulated in almost every fashionable, avant-garde, and radical organisation, movement, and body of thought there was, from the Fabian Society to the Stage Society, from vegetarianism and evolutionary theory to feminism and continental philosophy. Not happy to take a back or passenger seat to history, he often imposed himself in many of these arenas, becoming a key player by lecturing and pamphleteering on their behalves and, almost inevitably, coming into conflict with many like-minded individuals and friends.

In addition to his perennial writing and lecturing, Shaw held public office as a vestryman and councillor in the Borough of St Pancras from 1897 to 1903 and was active on a wide range of policies that would affect the lives of his fellow citizens. In his travels, socialising, political work, and writing, he enjoyed relationships with luminaries in several fields and attracted the admiration of individuals who would transform the world in significant ways: Albert Einstein, W. B. Yeats, Bertolt Brecht, Oscar Wilde, Gene Tunney, Auguste Rodin, Charlie Chaplin, Emmeline Pankhurst, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Jawaharlal Nehru, to name a small but revealing sampling.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Brad Kent, Université Laval, Québec
  • Book: George Bernard Shaw in Context
  • Online publication: 05 October 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107239081.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Brad Kent, Université Laval, Québec
  • Book: George Bernard Shaw in Context
  • Online publication: 05 October 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107239081.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Brad Kent, Université Laval, Québec
  • Book: George Bernard Shaw in Context
  • Online publication: 05 October 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107239081.001
Available formats
×