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Shaw and Feminisms

On Stage and Off

Shaw and Feminisms by D. A. Hadfield
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“A worthy successor to Fabian Feminist. Shaw’s influence on the self-image and public standing of women has been immense, both in his time and in our own, yet Shaw has also been widely and sometimes appallingly misunderstood. This book should help clarify the complexities of the issue and provoke continued reflection and debate.”—Julie A. Sparks, San Jose State University

“This collection suggests that Shaw’s views of women are still relevant and provocative and that the dialogue with Shaw is far from over.”—Sally Peters, author of Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman


When offstage actions contradict a playwright’s onstage message, literary study gets messy. In his personal relationships, George Bernard Shaw was often ambivalent toward liberated women—surprisingly so, considering his reputation as one of the first champions of women’s rights. His private attitudes sit uncomfortably beside his public philosophies that were so foundational to first-wave feminism.

Here, Shaw’s long-recognized influence on feminism is reexamined through the lens of twenty-first-century feminist thought as well as previously unpublished primary sources. New links appear between Shaw’s writings and his gendered notions of physicality, pain, performance, nationalism, authorship, and politics. The book’s archival material includes previously unpublished Shaw correspondence and excerpts from the works of his feminist playwright contemporaries. Shaw and Feminisms explores Shaw’s strong female characters, his real-life involvement with women, and his continuing impact on theater and politics today.

A volume in the Florida Bernard Shaw Series, edited by R. F. Dietrich


Contributors: Tracy J. R. Collins | Leonard W. Conolly | Virginia Costello | D. A. Hadfield | Brad Kent | Kay Li | Jackie Maxwell | John M. McInerney | Michel Pharand | Jean Reynolds | Margaret D. Stetz | Lawrence Switzky | Rodelle Weintraub | Ann Wilson
University Press of Florida; January 2013
252 pages; ISBN 9780813042657
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Title: Shaw and Feminisms
Author: D. A. Hadfield; Jean Reynolds