Man and Superman

by Pericles Lewis George Bernard Shaw‘s play Man and Superman revolves around a typical Shavian love plot: the orphaned Ann Whitefield wants to marry her youthful guardian Jack Tanner, despite his reputation as a revolutionist (Shaw published the “revolutionist’s handbook” ostensibly written by Tanner in the printed version of the play).  She pursues him to… Continue Reading Man and Superman

Heartbreak House

George Bernard Shaw‘s Heartbreak House (1919), though first produced after the first world war, is set before it, in a vague Edwardian never-land. Subtitled a “fantasia in the Russian manner on English themes,” it (alone among Shaw’s plays) betrays the influence of Anton Chekhov. The guests at Shaw’s country estate, however, have an allegorical character,… Continue Reading Heartbreak House


by Pericles Lewis George Bernard Shaw’s best-known work, Pygmalion (1913), premiered in Vienna in German translation before shocking the London theater world with Eliza Doolittle’s exclamation “not bloody likely.” It features the Professor of Phonetics Henry Higgins, who transforms the flower-girl Eliza into a duchess by teaching her how to enunciate. Here, the worldly wisdom… Continue Reading Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw

Biography by Pericles Lewis The Irish-born playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the leading playwright of modern Britain, wrote frankly and satirically on political and social topics such as class, war, feminism, and the Salvation Army, in plays such as Arms and the Man (1894), Major Barbara (1905), and, most famously, Pygmalion (1913). His… Continue Reading George Bernard Shaw