[Freud] quoted Bernard Shaw from Man and Superman. "As a rule there is only one person an English girl hates more than her mother; and that's her eldest sister." In England that remark is flippant, a drawing-room witticism, an Oscar Wilde shocking paradox. In Germany, where Max Reinhardt put on Shaw's plays along with Wedekind's Spring Awakening and Gorky's Lower Depths, it would be received with a difference. --A. S. Byatt, The Children's Book Who, exactly, counts as Shaw's contemporary? And is there any benefit to thinking of him as a modernist, an outlier in the avant-garde, or both? Shaw was unquestionably contemporaneous with a particular coterie of late Victorians, from Sydney and Beatrice Webb and Samuel Butler to William Archer, Ellen Terry, and Gordon Craig. He may have been a contemporary of Ibsen and Zola and he was a generation behind Wagner (though a generation ahead of the tastes of his fellow Englishmen regarding the latter). There is an established Shavian "smart set," with whom G.B.S. collaborated and corresponded; they appear in all the biographies and made him what he was. Then there are the figures that are more generally acknowledged as modernists and members of the
SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Sep 11, 2011
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