Shaw & the City.” SHAW 30: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies

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Abstract

Over the course of an extraordinarily extensive career as playwright, essayist, polemicist, and public intellectual, Shaw threw himself into all the most controversial questions of the time, remaining a major critical presence who represented, evaluated, theorized, and foresaw in diverse historical circumstances key problems of urban modernity. Beginning in the Reading Room of the British Museum, where he devoured the writings of Karl Marx, the iconoclastic Anglo-Irish polemicist came of age intellectually in Victoria’s England, a time in which London was already well established as a metonym for imperial power itself, the place where the empire was built and around which it revolved. Well into the twentieth century, in speech, pamphlet or play, Shaw’s progressive though often vitriolic and yet always witty negotiation of London’s heterogeneity and uncontainability, its exhilarating sense of possibility for new identities and new embodiments, continued unabated, articulating anew fascinating insights into the idea of the city. The aim of “Shaw & the City” is to provide a composite picture of Shaw coming into his several roles as dramatist, critic, and cultural commentator in active exchange with the metropolis as a site of convergent literary traditions and histories, as well as a crossing-point of emerging national, cultural, political, social, and artistic boundaries. The editor welcomes conceptual, comparative, transnational, or locally focused contributions from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPenn State UP
Volume30
StateAccepted/In press - 2010

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