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Shaw, Stoppard, and "Audible Intelligibility"

Shaw, Stoppard, and "Audible Intelligibility" That Shaw is alive as a playwright is borne out in the sustained if fluctuating crackle of productions, collections, reprints, and--rather less obvious--progeny. There never was a true Tribe of Bern, although some Edwardians like Barker and Hankin were thought to aspire to that condition. But that does not mean this otherwise childless playwright was without a proper heir--as I will try to suggest. Yet arguing lineage is not my primary concern. Rather, I want to pursue something more fundamental, something about Shaw's dramatic language, and indeed, dramatic language in general, language tailored to theatrical performance: a quality he once labeled ``audible intelligibility.''1 Shaw generally knew what he was about, and what he has to say about dramatic language and his own practice is enlightening; but I cannot promote it as a genuine contribution to ``the evolution of human consciousness.'' Nor would I even care to argue that Shaw invented a new kind of dramatic or theatrical discourse--although his usage was certainly distinctive--Shavian, we say--a characteristic idiolect. In fact it is truer to say that what he did was to conserve for another day qualities and capacities that were under attack, explicitly in the name of what William http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies Penn State University Press

Shaw, Stoppard, and "Audible Intelligibility"

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies , Volume 27 (1) – Oct 22, 2007

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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

That Shaw is alive as a playwright is borne out in the sustained if fluctuating crackle of productions, collections, reprints, and--rather less obvious--progeny. There never was a true Tribe of Bern, although some Edwardians like Barker and Hankin were thought to aspire to that condition. But that does not mean this otherwise childless playwright was without a proper heir--as I will try to suggest. Yet arguing lineage is not my primary concern. Rather, I want to pursue something more fundamental, something about Shaw's dramatic language, and indeed, dramatic language in general, language tailored to theatrical performance: a quality he once labeled ``audible intelligibility.''1 Shaw generally knew what he was about, and what he has to say about dramatic language and his own practice is enlightening; but I cannot promote it as a genuine contribution to ``the evolution of human consciousness.'' Nor would I even care to argue that Shaw invented a new kind of dramatic or theatrical discourse--although his usage was certainly distinctive--Shavian, we say--a characteristic idiolect. In fact it is truer to say that what he did was to conserve for another day qualities and capacities that were under attack, explicitly in the name of what William

Journal

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Oct 22, 2007

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