9780271015002 / 0271015004

Shaw's People: Victoria to Churchill


Publisher:Penn State University Press



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About the book:

How could Bernard Shaw have found anything to admire in Queen Victoria? Or in the passionate evangelical General William Booth of the Salvation Army? What possible connections could there be between Shaw, the passionate socialist, and the Tory Winston Churchill, who seemed to represent everything Shaw should have rejected and despised? In Shaws People, noted Shaw scholar Stanley Weintraub explores the relationships between Shaw and twelve of his contemporaries, including Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde, H. L. Mencken, James Joyce, and Winston Churchill. Weintraub chose these individuals as lenses through which to look at Shaw but also for the ways in which their lives are illuminated through their often paradoxical relationships with Shaw.

While Shaw never met Queen Victoria, his sovereign during the first forty-five years of his life, the degree of her influence is apparent in Shaws reference to himself, in his ninth decade, as an old Victorian. Weintraub explores those in the literary world who interacted with Shaw, such as H. L. Mencken, one of Shaws earliest American fans, who turned against his hero at the peak of his translatlantic reputation, and James Joyce, who was loath to confess his respect for his fellow Irishman. He investigates the curious mutual admiration between Shaw and W. B. Yeats and Shaws championing of Oscar Wilde despite the vast difference in their lifestyles.

Weintraubs skillful investigation of each of these twelve relationships illuminates a different facet of Shaw, from his pre-dramatist years in London through the close of his long life.

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