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Shaw, Plato, and Euripides

Classical Currents in Major Barbara

Shaw, Plato, and Euripides by Sidney P Albert
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Ever since its 1905 premiere on the London stage, Bernard Shaw's controversial drama Major Barbara has proved puzzling to audiences and critics alike. More than a century later there is still wide critical disagreement about the play's meaning and the ideas it engenders. Sidney Albert’s groundbreaking new book provides a daring and novel reading of this work. By tracing the extensive connections between Shaw's play and two canonical ancient Greek texts--Plato's Republic and Euripides’s Bacchae--Albert reveals deeper dimensions of the work.

Albert demonstrates the influence these classics had on Shaw's development as an artist and philosopher. He explores the Dionysian and Platonic elements in Major Barbara to illuminate how classical themes were modernized by Shaw. While examining the interrelations of the central characters in their social settings, Shaw, Plato, and Euripides searches out the complex layers of meaning in one of Shaw's most enigmatic dramas. Albert convincingly reveals Shaw's interaction with Greek thought in a way that reconfirms ancient wisdom and yet goes beyond it, adapting it to the social, political, and humanistic perspectives of the modern world.

University Press of Florida; February 2012
325 pages; ISBN 9780813040547
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Title: Shaw, Plato, and Euripides
Author: Sidney P Albert