[v. 1] ISBN 9780271007212
These hitherto uncollected book reviews of Shaw his first journalistic efforts reveal much not only about the writer but also the culture of the time in which he lived. Between 1885 and 1888, Bernard Shaw published 111 book reviews in the Pall Mall Gazette. In spite of their importance as the first regular journalism Shaw wrote and the fact that the books (fiction, nonfiction, plays, and poetry) he read during these years must have formed the nucleus of his permanent library, the reviews have never before been analyzed in connection with Shaw's work. Brian Tyson has assembled the book reviews, complete with the books' titles, authors, and a brief biography of each author, including any comments Shaw made about the review, and has placed them in historical context, elucidating any interesting, difficult, or obscure references. Tyson's critical introduction places the reviews in the context of Shaw's work and Victorian society. The reviews are often characterized by the wit and brilliance that we associate with the later Shaw, shedding light on his development as a writer at his most formative stage. Regardless of the merits of the material Shaw was reviewing, it is amusing and enlightening to follow him down to the wandering tributaries of Late Victorian fiction and poetry, which reveal as much about Shaw as they do about the preoccupations and prejudices of the average reader of the day."
v. 2 ISBN 9780271015484
This new volume of Bernard Shaw's book reviews is a companion to Brian Tyson's previously edited collection of Shaw's earlier book reviews. Here Tyson collects seventy-three of the best remaining literary book reviews written by Shaw throughout his lifetime. Two-thirds of the reviews appear in book form for the first time, the originals residing in the archives of newspaper libraries, and only three of the remainder have been reprinted within the last twenty years. Politics feature largely in the works that Shaw reviewed: there are books of socialist theory and its practical appearance in the Soviet Union, as well as books on the individualism of J. H. Levy, the anti-socialism of Thomas McKay, and the economics of E. C. K. Gonner and Philip Wicksteed. There is often an immediacy about the books reviewed, too: discussion of books on World War I, the Soviet Revolution, women's suffrage, the British General Strike of 1926, and World War II all take place concurrently with the events. Many of the works reviewed are biographies, which give Shaw the opportunity to reveal his personal acquaintance with their subjects, including Samuel Butler, William Morris, and Dean Inge.This widely varied collection sparkles with wit and wisdom, taking us briskly through Shaw's own writing life, beginning when he was relatively unknown and concluding when he was a legend.
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