Download Twentieth-Century English History Plays: From Shaw to Bond by Niloufer Harben PDF

By Niloufer Harben

The heritage play is an exceptionally well known style between English playwrights of this century, but little or no study has been performed within the box. particularly, the sheer dimension and complexity of the topic appears to be like to have avoided critics from trying to arrive at a transparent definition of the style. This publication examines the time period 'history play' afresh, looking to outline extra exactly the scope and the boundaries of the style with regards to twentieth-century principles of and attitudes to background.

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Extra resources for Twentieth-Century English History Plays: From Shaw to Bond

Sample text

A tension can always be detected between Shaw's prefaces and George Bernard Shaw: 'Saint Joan' 47 his plays for he revelled too much in argumentative comedy to explain away his plays. They exist in their own right, apart from their prefaces which were often written some time after the plays were completed. Saint Joan for instance was first produced in 1923 and the preface was not written till May 1924. 71 It is worth noting too that Shaw often warned actors and actresses against reading his prefaces.

And whoever does that makes Joan's fate unintelligible, and in my opinion, makes Joan herself vapid and uninteresting. 35 Shaw abhorred these melodramatic stereotypes where the real Joan is idealized and romanticized out of existence. His concern was to make Joan credible in actual human terms and project the distinctive qualities that made her a force to be reckoned with in history. But the tremendous pressure exerted by popular taste and theatrical tradition can be seen from the fact that even in early productions of Saint Joan the drag towards the conventional often asserted itself and Shaw had to take pains to counteract it.

N. Roy points George Bernard Shaw: 'Saint Joan' 25 out, Shaw's portrait outraged many, for 'Napoleon had become a romantic hero whom even sober historians depicted in the grand manner'. 9 A -modern historian, however, would have no trouble crediting Shaw's picture of the positive and negative aspects of Napoleon's character. '10 Though The Man of Destiny is constructed around a fictitious episode, it cannot be discredited as history on this ground, because Shaw presents us with a view of Napoleon that can be endorsed by historical facts.

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