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Bernard Shaw: The One-Volume Definitive Edition Paperback – December 17, 2005


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Bernard Shaw: The One-Volume Definitive Edition + George Bernard Shaw's Plays (Norton Critical Editions)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (December 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393327183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393327182
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Michael Holroyd is readable, sensible, and wise….He has written a remarkable book, as authoritative as it is enchanting. -- Washington Post

About the Author

Michael Holroyd has written celebrated biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Augustus John, and Bernard Shaw, as well as the acclaimed Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. He lives in London with his wife.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rolls Andre on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
I must say that I am shocked that I am the first person to review this amazing book. If you've ever read Shaw his plays can seem like schematic exercises in speechifying rather than actual blood and guts drama. Holroyd's major achievement is pointing out how personal Shaw's writing really was.

Let's allow ourselves a quick look first at the list of Shaw's masterpieces: "Arms and the Man," "Candida," "Caesar and Cleopatra," "Man and Superman," "Major Barbara," "The Doctor's Dilemma," "Androcles and the Lion," "Pygmalion," "Heartbreak House" and "Saint Joan." Whew! Each one is a scholarly gem but is still "revive-able" and profitable to any management merely interested in keeping bottoms attached to seats. Add to these plays that might not reek of literary genius but are still eminently "act-able" and enjoyable in the theatre ("Mrs. Warren's Profession," "You Never Can Tell," "The Devil's Disciple," "Misalliance," "Fanny's First Play," and "Too True Too Be Good") and we have undoubtedly one of the greatest giants who ever wrote for the stage.

What makes this book remarkable is we don't feel like we are in the great man's shadow but in the real man's presence. It's as if we were at lunch with him quaffing the cold milk and noshing on the vegetarian fare he survived on while laughing at the world with him. And what's truly eye opening is that his plays weren't treatises but actual personal works that reflected how their author saw the world. And not just as a social critic but as a person.

This bio finds the human soul behind the comic mask. It is indispensable for the insight it provides into the motivation, creation and emotional layout of each of the plays. Bravo Mr. Holroyd! This book is for any fan of the stage or amazing personalities!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Fistori on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superior biography of an intellectual by an intellectual. George Bernard Shaw overcame an emotionally refrigerated childhood to achieve multiple artistic successes offset by some tilting at political windmills. He emerges from Mr. Holroyds' "pen" as a witty, entertaining, generous, compassionate, talented dramatist and would-be-reformer who was garrulous nearly to a fault. A socialist and declared communist, Shaw (GBS) was a champion of the poor and the downtrodden, but somewhat doctrinaire in his societal remedies. The book abounds in hilarity, both by GBS and Mr. Holroyd. Shaw led a long life, both as a charmer and charmed eccentric. Every decade or so, he seemed to experience a Vesuvius-like warming of his tweeds that inexorably led him to "follow his beard" to an array of love nests. I say "charmed" because he never seems to have been found out and thrown out by his wife, or punched out by an enraged cuckold. Because of the antics of Shaw and his crowd, in some sections of the book, I felt as though I was reading of the experiences of a cast of dotty characters in a British TV sitcom. Shaw had a great literary output, and Holroyd dutifully takes the reader through all of it, sometimes wearyingly. All in all, GBS seems to have lived a decent life that left the world a better place. Mr Holroyd has written a superb account of that life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James D. Held on November 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had seen a different version of this book at the Shaw Festival in Canada for nearly $40! I was delighted to find this one on Amazon....same content but in a much better, more user-friendly volume and much cheaper. I plan to teach a three part series on Shaw for our local Osher Lifelong Learners program next year. This will be the basis of my research. Thanks!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheila on October 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Engaging insight into Shaw, the person, and Shaw, the influence on his times. Surprised by how much history I'm reviewing as well as discovering.
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