Mrs Warren's Profession

Overview

'Shaw's refusal to moralise about the sex trade, only about the system that supports it, provides the play with its dramatic tension and surprising modernity.' Guardian

Shaw's 1893 play centres on the mother and daughter relationship between Kitty Warren and her Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, who is currently enjoying a comfortable and financially untroubled life. Kitty's own upbringing was far from easy, however, and meant that she eventually had to make money through ...

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Mrs. Warren's Profession (Annotated)

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Overview

'Shaw's refusal to moralise about the sex trade, only about the system that supports it, provides the play with its dramatic tension and surprising modernity.' Guardian

Shaw's 1893 play centres on the mother and daughter relationship between Kitty Warren and her Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, who is currently enjoying a comfortable and financially untroubled life. Kitty's own upbringing was far from easy, however, and meant that she eventually had to make money through prostitution and then through the management of several brothels. When Vivie discovers that her mother brought her up and funded Vivie's Cambridge education on the money made from these pursuits, she is horrified and can barely cope. What's more, Vivie discovers that her mother's brothels are still in operation.

Shaw said he wrote the play "to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together". Mrs Warren's Profession has proven to be an extremely durable play - as durable as the problems that it presents.

Students will find a wealth of information in this text to guide their studies: an extended introduction exploring the theatrical and historical context, critical reactions, background on the author, and stage history. It also includes Shaw's original Preface, and the play itself contains numerous notes and explanations throughout to aid students' understanding.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780713679946
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 1/17/2013
  • Series: New Mermaids Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,398,198
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Brad Kent is Associate Professor of British and Irish Literatures at Université Laval in Quebec City and the programme director for the International Shaw Society's annual colloquium series at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. He has published widely on Bernard Shaw, Irish Literature, and the cultural politics of censorship.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Bernard Shaw: A Brief Chronology

A Note on British Currency

A Note on the Text

Mrs Warren's Profession

Appendix A: From Shaw’s Prefaces to Plays Unpleasant and Mrs Warren’s Profession

1. From the Preface to Plays Unpleasant (1930)
2. From the Preface to Mrs Warren's Profession (1930)

Appendix B: The Expurgated Text of Mrs Warren’s Profession (1898)

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews

1. St James's Gazette (7 January 1902)
2. J.T. Grein, The Sunday Special (12 January 1902)
3. New York Times (31 October 1905)
4. New York Times (31 October 1905)
5. Manitoba Free Press (1 May 1907)
6. Glasgow News (11 April 1913)
7. Birmingham Gazette (28 July 1925)
8. The Times (29 September 1925)

Appendix D: Prostitution in Victorian England

1. From The Unknown Mayhew: Selections from the Morning Chronicle, 1849-50
2. From James Miller, Prostitution Considered in Relation to Cause and Cure (1859)
3. From Parliamentary Papers, 1865, XX, Children’s Employment Commission
4. From William Acton, Prostitution Considered in its Moral, Social, and Sanitary Aspects (1870)
5. From Alfred S. Dyer, The European Slave Trade in English Girls (1882)
6. From An Act to Make Further Provision for the Protection of Women and Girls [The Criminal Law Amendment Act] (1890)
7. From General [William] Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out (1890)
8. From Clementina Black, Married Women's Work (1915)

Appendix E: Incest

1. From the Old Testament: Leviticus 18. 6-18
2. From the House of Lords Debate on the Incest Bill (16 July 1903)
3. From the House of Commons Debate on the Incest Bill (26 June 1908)
4. From An Act to Provide for the Punishment of Incest (1908)

Appendix F: Censorship of the Stage

1. From An Act for Regulating Theatres, (1843)
2. A Memorandum from the Lord Chamberlain to the Examiner of Plays (1895)
3. "The Censorship of Plays," The Times (29 October 1907)
4. From the Report from the Joint Select Committee of the House of Lords and the House of Commons (1909)

Appendix G: Vivie Warren’s Cambridge

1. Petitions and Resolutions on Degrees for Women (1896-97)
2. From the Senate Debate on Degrees for Women (March 1897)
3. The May 1897 Riots
4. An Undergraduate at Newnham College (1896-99)

Appendix H: The New Woman

1. From Grant Allen, "Plain Words on the Woman Question," Fortnightly Review (October 1889)
2. From Sarah Grand, "The New Aspect of the Woman Question," North American Review (March 1894)
3. From Alys W. Pearsall Smith, "A Reply from the Daughters," Nineteenth Century (March 1894)

Select Bibliography

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