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18 December 1986
Bernard ShawThe Diaries 1885-1897 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 1241 pp., £65, September 1986, 0 571 13901 9
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... In his last will, made the year before he died, Shaw let his modesty hang out for once. He left his diaries, with his account books, cheque stubs, box-office statements and business records, to the London School of Economics. Their only interest, he ...

Ticket to Milford Haven

David Edgar: Shaw’s Surprises

21 September 2006
Bernard ShawA Life 
by A.M. Gibbs.
Florida, 554 pp., £30.50, December 2005, 0 8130 2859 0
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... business. However much you claim to stand on the shoulders of the mighty beast, you still risk ending up, like Fay Wray, squeezed in its paw. A.M. Gibbs spends most of the introduction to Bernard Shaw: A Life justifying his decision to return to a very well-ploughed furrow. But by citing no less than four previous biographies by the end of page two, he is being consciously naive. He knows ...

Blood Running Down

Helen Cooper: Iconoclasm and theatre in early modern England

9 August 2001
The Idolatrous Eye: Iconoclasm and Theatre in Early Modern England 
by Michael O'Connell.
Oxford, 198 pp., £30, February 2000, 9780195132052
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... In 1644, the Puritan cleric JohnShaw journeyed up to Westmorland to instruct the local people, who, he had been told, were sadly lacking in knowledge of the Bible. The need was confirmed when he interrogated an old man whose long life ...

Stalker & Co

Damian Grant

20 November 1986
... the Metropolitan Police, is currently enjoying a successful run (to appalled audiences) at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre. One chain of events focuses on the Deputy Chief Constable of Manchester, Mr John Stalker, who was recently suspended for three months during an internal disciplinary investigation and subsequently reinstated by the lay Police Authority, despite the evident willingness of his ...
2 July 1981
Bernard Shaw​ and the Actresses 
by Margot Peters.
Columbus, 461 pp., £8.75, March 1981, 0 385 12051 6
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... Mozart had a discernible tendency to fall in love with his sopranos, Shaw something little short of a compulsion to fall in love with, first, women who took singing lessons from his mother and then, after he turned dramatist, his actresses. This must be one of the hazards ...
15 September 1988
Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard ShawCollected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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ShawThe Annual of Bernard Shaw​ Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... There were already good biographies of Shaw, notably those of Frank Harris and Hesketh Pearson, both of whom knew Shaw and had the benefit of his energetic interventions. Pearson in particular will not be easily supplanted. Nevertheless the archives of the world are full of Shaviana inaccessible before his death, and ...

Well, was he?

A.N. Wilson

20 June 1996
Bernard ShawThe Ascent of the Superman 
by Sally Peters.
Yale, 328 pp., £18.95, April 1996, 0 300 06097 1
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... What do we make of Shaw, the most ephemeral Great Man of early 20th-century literature? Naturally, he received the Nobel Prize, and he made himself very rich twice over, partly by writing perky, harmless plays, partly by ...

Shaviana

Brigid Brophy

2 December 1982
Bernard ShawThe Darker Side 
by Arnold Silver.
Stanford, 353 pp., $25, January 1982, 0 8047 1091 0
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Bernard Shaw​ and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence 
edited by Mary Hyde.
Murray, 237 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7195 3947 1
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... The most charming fact I have stumbled on in intellectual history is that Freud and Shaw were shocked by one another. Freud’s wounded romanticism speaks in his reference (in Group Psychology, 1921) to ‘Bernard Shaw’s malicious aphorism to the effect that being in love means greatly ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw

21 June 2018
Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... Irish were put on earth for other people to feel romantic about. We are all Irish in the eyes of God. Nowhere is this shift from margin to centre more striking than in the career of George Bernard Shaw. Born in Dublin in 1856 into a decayed branch of the Protestant Ascendancy, the son of a drunken petty official and a mother from the minor gentry, Shaw was in his own word a ‘downstart’. In this ...
6 March 1986
Bernard Shaw’s Collected Letters. Vol. III: 1911-1925 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 989 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 370 30203 6
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... It is difficult, yet not impossible, to imagine Bernard Shaw at a loss for words. The thing indeed occurred in 1928 at Thomas Hardy’s funeral, when Shaw and Kipling were paired in the procession of mourners but could find nothing whatever to say to each other. Shaw’s own excuse was that it was absurd to have coupled such a tall man with such a very ...
20 March 1997
Henrik Ibsen 
by Robert Ferguson.
Cohen, 466 pp., £25, November 1996, 1 86066 078 9
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... at Casamicciola, Ischia, in 1867), it all went horribly wrong. Ferguson, himself a playwright, and a translator of Ibsen, was inspired to write the first major biography for 25 years by seeing John Barton’s Oslo production of Peer Gynt ‘and wondering why a man who could create a comic circus like that should choose to devote the rest of his life to writing a series of dark analyses of ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: What Went On at the Arts Council

4 December 1986
... Roy Shaw will not have expected an easy passage as Secretary-General of the Arts Council, but the weather worsened steadily during his tenure, and the discomfort exceeded all rational apprehensions. His book ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’

6 August 2009
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 
directed by Tony Scott.
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... The chief pleasure of the new version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is the sight of John Travolta as the model bad guy. He is genial and livid by turns, entirely persuasive in both moods, the very image of crazed behaviour, and far more engaging and unhinged than he was in Pulp Fiction ...

Dry-Cleaned

Tom Vanderbilt: ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

21 August 2003
The Manchurian Candidate: BFI Film Classics 
by Greil Marcus.
BFI, 75 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 85170 931 1
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... reanimating familiar fears. Why didn’t the film feel safely trapped in history? Part of the answer is to do with its still shimmering quality. The film was an alchemical success: Frank Sinatra, John Frankenheimer, Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey would never better their performances here. ‘Something in the story, something in the times,’ Marcus writes, ‘that had to have been sensed ...

Fire and Water

Rosalind Mitchison

17 October 1985
Water Power in Scotland: 1550-1870 
by John Shaw.
John​ Donald, 606 pp., £25, April 1984, 0 85976 072 3
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The History of the British Coal Industry. Vol. II: 1700-1830, The Industrial Revolution 
by Michael Flinn and David Stoker.
Oxford, 491 pp., £35, March 1984, 0 19 828283 4
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Industry and Ethos: Scotland 1832-1914 
by Sydney Checkland and Olive Checkland.
Arnold, 218 pp., £5.95, March 1984, 0 7131 6317 8
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The Jacobite Clans of the Great Glen: 1650-1784 
by Bruce Lenman.
Methuen, 246 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 0 413 48690 7
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The Prince and the Pretender: A Study in the Writing of History 
by A.J. Youngson.
Croom Helm, 270 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 7099 2908 0
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Canna: The Story of a Hebridean Island 
by J.L. Campbell.
Oxford, 323 pp., £25, December 1984, 0 19 920137 4
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... had its concentration on low-grade textiles, while Glasgow was the industrial powerhouse and a special area of social dereliction. None could have gained their 19th-century flavour without coal. JohnShaw’s book is a careful reference work of value to all in research on local economic development or on particular industries. It has a sound appreciation of early technology. Its maps show the ...

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