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Ebook The Playwriting Self of Bernard Shaw by John A. Bertolini read! Book Title: The Playwriting Self of Bernard Shaw
The author of the book: John A. Bertolini
Edition: Southern Illinois University Press
Date of issue: January 24th 1991
ISBN: 0809316501
ISBN 13: 9780809316502
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 782 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.8

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Bernard Shaw claimed that he built his plays from “atoms of dust.” Showing where these atoms are and explaining how they fit together to form meaning, Berto­lini demolishes the conventional argu­ment that Shaw was not a meticulous, self-conscious writer.

 

Bertolini provides close, subtle readings of six of Shaw’s major plays: Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Pygmal­ion, and Saint Joan. He also devotes a full chapter to the one-act plays.

 

Focusing sharply on details of language and—to a greater extent than any other Shavian—stage directions, Bertolini probes dramatic structure, examines motifs, and points out patterns to demon­strate Shaw’s artistry and to develop a co­herent picture of the playwrighting self of Bernard Shaw. His triumph is to piece together a portrait of the artist from the clues provided by the artist.

 

To complete this portrait, Bertolini ex­amines the many authors, artists, or art­ist-figures who are characters in Shaw’s plays. Through these dramatic creations, Bertolini contends, Shaw reveals his ideas and feelings about himself as an artist and about the art of writing plays.

 

In his chapter on Pygmalion, for exam­ple, Bertolini argues that the mother-fix­ated (Shaw’s term) Henry Higgins seeks to create a duchess out of Eliza Doolittle as a way of denying his creation by his mother. This characterization of Higgins expresses Shaw’s anxiety about his own originality, an apprehension fueled by his sense of rivalry with Shakespeare.

 

Bertolini presents a Shaw who is less iconoclastic, less abrasive, than the Shaw of legend. He sees Bernard Shaw not as a political writer, but as a traditional liter­ary link in the long line of comic classical dramatists that includes Shakespeare, Molière, and Sheridan.


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