Mrs. Warren's Professionby George Bernard Shaw
Written in 1893, Mrs. Warren’s Profession skewers the hypocrisy of British society. The wealthy, respectable title character’s “profession” is the world’s oldest, but Mrs. Warren is unprepared for the reaction of her daughter Vivie when she discovers her mother’s occupation. Shaw brings new life to the woman-with-a-past theme with wit and a defense of his heroine.
“L.W. Conolly’s edition of Mrs Warren’s Profession will be exceedingly helpful to readers of all sortsundergraduate students, Shaw specialists, and general readers alike. Insight into Shaw’s play benefits from a knowledge of its various late-19th-century contexts, and this edition includes a wealth of contextual materials, in areas ranging from prostitution to Cambridge University. This thorough, well-researched edition is a major contribution to everyone’s understanding of Shaw’s always-up-to-date dramatic study of prostitution and capitalism.” Jonathan Wisenthal, University of British Columbia
“This edition of Mrs Warren’s Profession, with its astonishing range of associated documents, provides an invaluable resource for students and Shaw enthusiasts, and has a good deal to offer to the seasoned Shaw scholar as well. The introduction offers a wonderfully detailed and informative account of the social, political, and theatrical contexts of Shaw’s first major play, and Conolly’s analysis of the dramatic texture of Mrs Warren’s Profession allows insight into the qualities of the play itself and why, despite the excitement of the early scandals, it has more than historic interest, and lives on today’s stage.” Jean Chothia, University of Cambridge
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Meet the Author
George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 - 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist whose influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
By the mid-1880s he had become a respected theatre and music critic. Following a political awakening, he joined the gradualist Fabian Society and became its most prominent pamphleteer. Shaw had been writing plays for years before his first public success, Arms and the Man in 1894. Influenced by Henrik Ibsen, he sought to introduce a new realism into English-language drama, using his plays as vehicles to disseminate his political, social and religious ideas. By the early twentieth century his reputation as a dramatist was secured with a series of critical and popular successes that included Major Barbara, The Doctor's Dilemma and Caesar and Cleopatra.
During the first decade of the twentieth century Shaw secured a firm reputation as a playwright. In 1904 J. E. Vedrenne and Harley Granville-Barker established a company at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.
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