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"Considering the Alternatives. ..": Shaw and the Death of the Intellectual

"Considering the Alternatives. ..": Shaw and the Death of the Intellectual In his 1894 essay ``How to Become a Man of Genius,'' Shaw proclaims, ``The secret at the bottom of the whole business is simply this: there is no such thing as a man of genius. I am a man of genius myself, and ought to know.''1 He tells us that after a production in New York of Arms and the Man there appeared in the New York papers a host of brilliant critical and biographical studies of a remarkable person called Bernard Shaw. I am supposed to be that person; but I am not. There is no such person; there never was any such person; there never will or can be any such person. You may take my word for this, because I invented him, floated him, advertised him, impersonated him, and am now sitting here in my dingy second floor lodging in a decaying London Square, breakfasting off twopenn'orth of porridge and giving this additional touch to his makeup with my typewriter. My exposure of him will not shake the faith of the public in the least.2 In the 1890s, ``Bernard Shaw,'' despite his protestations, was not quite the famous personage that he suggests: though he was http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies Penn State University Press

"Considering the Alternatives. ..": Shaw and the Death of the Intellectual

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1529-1480
Publisher site
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Abstract

In his 1894 essay ``How to Become a Man of Genius,'' Shaw proclaims, ``The secret at the bottom of the whole business is simply this: there is no such thing as a man of genius. I am a man of genius myself, and ought to know.''1 He tells us that after a production in New York of Arms and the Man there appeared in the New York papers a host of brilliant critical and biographical studies of a remarkable person called Bernard Shaw. I am supposed to be that person; but I am not. There is no such person; there never was any such person; there never will or can be any such person. You may take my word for this, because I invented him, floated him, advertised him, impersonated him, and am now sitting here in my dingy second floor lodging in a decaying London Square, breakfasting off twopenn'orth of porridge and giving this additional touch to his makeup with my typewriter. My exposure of him will not shake the faith of the public in the least.2 In the 1890s, ``Bernard Shaw,'' despite his protestations, was not quite the famous personage that he suggests: though he was

Journal

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Oct 22, 2007

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