What is the use of writing plays?--what is the use of anything?--if there is not a Will that finally moulds chaos itself into a race of gods with heaven for an environment, and if that Will is not incarnated in man, and if the hero . . . does not by the strength of his portion in that Will exorcise ghosts, sweep fathers into the chimney corner, and burn all the rubbish within his reach with his torch before he hands it on to the next hero? --Bernard Shaw, Letter to Henry James, 19091 In his brilliant book, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (2007), Roger Griffin describes the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century as alternative modernisms, "revitalization movements" responding to the crisis of modernity and seeking to realize a "temporalized utopia."2 Griffin does not see a rigid line separating this type of political modernism from cultural modernism, and he delineates two general types of modernist artists: epiphanic modernists, such as Joyce and Beckett, and programmatic modernists, such as Shaw: "There is a common matrix behind modernism in the bewildering heterogeneity of concrete manifestations. . . . [T]his matrix is usefully
SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Sep 11, 2012
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