Major Cultural Essays

ISBN : 9780198817727

George Bernard Shaw; David Kornhaber
384 ページ
129 x 196 mm
Oxford World's Classics
  • The volume begins with George Bernard Shaw's three major cultural writings, all of them published as standalone books during Shaw's lifetime. The earliest of these is The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891), Shaw's play-by-play disquisition on the radical philosophy that he found embedded in the works of Henrik Ibsen.
  • An introduction laying out the important place that cultural writing held in Shaw's career, from his early years as a critic and arts journalist in London to his later intermittent publications alongside his active playwriting work.
  • Provides readers with an explanation and precis for each of the volume's main essays as well as its supplementary entries and will contextualize their place within the course of Shaw's sixty-year career.
  • A Note on the Text explaining the editorial choices made in terms of volumes and editions, especially regarding the three main essays and their various published versions.
  • Select Bibliography and Explanatory Notes

George Bernard Shaw's public career began in arts journalism-as an art critic, a music critic, and, most famously, a drama critic-and he continued writing on cultural and artistic matters throughout his life. His total output of essays and reviews numbers in the hundreds, dwarfing even his prolific playwriting career. This volume of Shaw's Major Cultural Essays introduces readers to the wealth and diversity of Shaw's cultural writings from across the breadth of his professional life, beginning around 1890 and ending in 1950.
Topics covered include the theatre, of course, but also music, opera, poetry, the novel, the visual arts, philosophy, censorship, and education. Major figures discussed at length in these works include Ibsen, Wagner, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Wilde, Mozart, Beethoven, Keats, Rodin, Zola, Ruskin, Dickens, Tolstoy, and Poe, among many others. Coursing with Shavian flair and vigor, these essays showcase the author's broad aesthetic sensibilities, trace the intersection of culture and politics in Shaw's worldview, and provide a fascinating window into the vibrant cultural moment of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
Major Cultural Essays
The Quintessence of Ibsenism
The Sanity of Art
The Perfect Wagnerite
A Preface
Selections from the Preface to Three Plays by Brieux
Shorter Essays and Reviews
11 June 1890
11 October 1893
1 August 1894 and 8 August 1894
The Case for the Critic-Dramatist
The Late Censor
Church and Stage
Nietzsche in English
Maddox Brown, Watts, and Ibsen
The Board School
Henry Irving and Ellen Terry
Edgar Allen Poe
Mr. Arnold Bennett Thinks Play-Writing Easier than Novel Writing
Oscar Wilde
Selections from Ruskin's Politics
Tolstoy: Tragedian or Comedian
Beethoven's Centenary
Am I an Educated Person?
The Play of Ideas
Explanatory Notes


George Bernard Shaw
David Kornhaber, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin