ISBN : 9780198804987

George Bernard Shaw; James Moran
592 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Feb 2021
Oxford World's Classics
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  • Includes full explanatory notes on Shaw's short plays as well as analysis on the prefaces for each of these plays.
  • Relies on detailed archival research, footnoting and properly referencing sourced material.
  • Includes little-known recordings and unpublished archival material.
  • Emphasises the shared themes found in Shaw's shorter works, dividing them into four sub-categories, namely: 1) Farces; 2) War Playlets; 3) Historical Sketches; and 4) Shakespearean Shorts.

'These highbrows must remember that there is a demand for little things as well as for big things'
George Bernard Shaw was one of the leading playwrights and public intellectuals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He helped propel drama towards the unexpected, into a realm where it might shock audiences into new viewpoints and into fresh understandings of society. Throughout his long writing career Shaw wrote short plays, ranging in length from 1000-word puppet play, Shakes Versus Shav, to the 12,000-word suffragette comedy, Press Cuttings. These plays can be taken to illuminate Shaw's life and legacy, from ideas about war and patriotism in O'Flaherty, V.C. to censorship in The Shewing up of Blanco Posset.
Surveying Shaw's entire career of writing short dramas, focusing especially on those years when his work in the form was particularly prolific (around 1909 and during the First World War), this collection places Shaw's short plays broadly into four key areas: farces, historical sketches, war dramas, and Shakespearean shorts. For each of these areas, the volume explores Shaw's aesthetic and thematic concerns, the precise historical and generic contexts in which the works were written, the major criticism and scholarship that has subsequently emerged, and the most notable stage and screen productions. This collection reveals how a playwright often criticized for being too wordy was actually a master of the short form.


Select Bibliography
How He Lied to Her Husband
Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction
Press Cuttings

War Playlets
The Inca of Perusalem
O'Flaherty V.C.
Augustus Does His Bit
Annajanska, The Bolshevik Empress

Historical Sketches
The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet
Great Catherine
The Six of Calais
The British Party System

Shakespearean Shorts
The Dark Lady of the Sonnets
Macbeth Skit
Cymbeline Refinished
Shakes Versus Shav

Appendix: Material cut from the play How He Lied to Her Husband
Appendix: Material cut from the play Press Cuttings
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

George Bernard Shaw
Edited by James Moran, Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama, University of Nottingham
James Moran is a Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is a recent recipient of both the Philip Leverhulme Prize and the British Academy mid-career fellowship. He contributes a monthly book-review feature for BBC Radio Nottingham (since 2010). His books include Staging the Easter Rising (2006), Irish Birmingham: A History (2010), The Theatre of Sean O' Casey (2013), and The Theatre of D. H. Lawrence (2015). He is also the editor of Four Irish Rebel Plays (2007) and co-editor with Neal Alexander of Regional Modernisms (2015).

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