In This Article George Bernard Shaw

  • Introduction
  • General Works
  • Journals
  • Reference Works
  • Editions of Plays
  • Letters
  • Shaw’s Life Writings
  • Biography
  • Memoirs
  • Shaw on Theater
  • Theater Surveys
  • Novels and Fiction
  • Shaw and Other Writers
  • Shaw’s Speeches, Essays, Journalism
  • Politics
  • Feminism and Gender Studies
  • Religion
  • Philosophy
  • Theory, Context, and Language
  • The Irish Shaw
  • Shaw and Other Countries

British and Irish Literature George Bernard Shaw
by
Brad Kent
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846719-0045

Introduction

Born in Dublin, George Bernard Shaw (b. 1856–d. 1950) was one of the foremost men of letters of his time, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Many critics consider him to be the most important playwright in the Anglophone tradition after only Shakespeare. Alongside Shaw’s challenges to the conventions of Victorian theater and his foundational work in establishing some of the more radical aspects of modern drama, he set out to reform society along socialist lines. Indeed, he was an influential cultural critic, pamphleteer, essayist, lecturer, and much sought after public intellectual who had strong opinions on just about every subject under the sun. A whirlwind over the course of his life, his activities, and his prolific and long writing career have provided fodder for critics, acolytes, and scholars. The research devoted to Shaw can be divided into two streams: (i) his work in the theater and the arts in general and (ii) his political activities and beliefs. As might be expected, a fair amount of work bridges the two, with a sizeable corpus devoted to the political aspects of Shaw’s drama. This bibliography, which is by no means exhaustive, is meant to help guide the student of Shaw to navigate the massive amount of writing that has been produced on his life and work.

General Works

These studies offer good introductions to many components of Shaw’s life and work. Both are parts of very well-respected series devoted to authors. Innes 1998 provides more traditional essays, while Kent 2015 is a hybrid of entries that fit somewhere between original essays and lengthy encyclopedic contributions. Both offer good coverage of the state of research at the time of their publication. Kent 2015 also includes topics that have yet to garner much attention and points to areas in need of further work.

  • Innes, Christopher, ed. The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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    Includes fifteen in-depth essays on a wide variety of subjects. Divided into three sections: (i) the social and cultural context; (ii) Shaw the dramatist; and (iii) theater work and influence.

  • Kent, Brad, ed. George Bernard Shaw in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

    E-mail Citation »

    Includes forty-two short essays on diverse subjects. Divided into six sections: (i) people and places; (ii) theater; (iii) writing and the arts; (iv) politics; (v) culture and society; and (vi) reception and afterlife.

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