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The Achievement of Shaw's Later Plays, 1920-1939

The Achievement of Shaw's Later Plays, 1920-1939 Because of the constraints of a short conference paper, it should be understood that this contribution provides more in the way of hints than of argument as to how the late plays may be read. First, a couple of preliminary points: (1) what are called the late plays here are all the short and full-length plays Shaw wrote between the two world wars: from Back to Methuselah (1920) to "In Good King Charles's Golden Days" (1939); (2) the word "achievement" in the title of this article is used with polemical intent, and (3) the term "postmodern" is restricted here to the writings of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida on reading, writing, and texts.1 Since these late plays were written, with the exception of Saint Joan (1923) and Back to Methuselah, they have received scant critical attention and, in spite of some successful early productions, what little has been written has been generally negative (except in regard to the first six scenes of Saint Joan).2 "Formless" has been a constant critical complaint, although very little analysis is required to show that almost without exception the plays have been very carefully structured, if not in the conventional form of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies Penn State University Press

The Achievement of Shaw's Later Plays, 1920-1939

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies , Volume 23 (1)

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The Pennsylvania State University
ISSN
1529-1480
Publisher site
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Abstract

Because of the constraints of a short conference paper, it should be understood that this contribution provides more in the way of hints than of argument as to how the late plays may be read. First, a couple of preliminary points: (1) what are called the late plays here are all the short and full-length plays Shaw wrote between the two world wars: from Back to Methuselah (1920) to "In Good King Charles's Golden Days" (1939); (2) the word "achievement" in the title of this article is used with polemical intent, and (3) the term "postmodern" is restricted here to the writings of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida on reading, writing, and texts.1 Since these late plays were written, with the exception of Saint Joan (1923) and Back to Methuselah, they have received scant critical attention and, in spite of some successful early productions, what little has been written has been generally negative (except in regard to the first six scenes of Saint Joan).2 "Formless" has been a constant critical complaint, although very little analysis is required to show that almost without exception the plays have been very carefully structured, if not in the conventional form of the

Journal

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw StudiesPenn State University Press

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