THE UNIVERSE OF G.B.S. by William Irvine


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An impersonal (in contrast to Stephen Winsten's Days With Bernard Shaw) and ideological biography of Shaw which insists primarily on relating Shaw to the ""universe"" in which he lived. This is immediately a many-faceted proposition since Shaw, author, critic, metaphysician, socialist, lived simultaneously in more than a half dozen worlds. After a loveless childhood, the undisciplined and non-conformist bent was soon noticeable; the first writings revealed the ironic dialectic, the iconoclasm and the concern for objective verity for which he was to become famous. There is the kinship with Henry George, Bentham, Wells, and the Fabians who were to make socialism respectable rather than revolutionary; an analysis of the plays- individually-chronologically- their ideas and their insights; the art and music criticism; the political manifestoes; the romance with Ellen Terry; the war, and the despair which followed; the decline as ""the old unity and the old complexity disintegrate"". A biography which is only rarely personal, but which offers an intensive interpretation of Shaw, the artist, the thinker, against a background of the formative intellectual influences. For the more serious reader, the student.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1949
Publisher: Whittlesey House