George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century

By Archibald Henderson | Go to book overview
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Shaw Around the World


Dean of the School of Library Science, University of North Carolina

A FEW YEARS AGO BERNARD SHAW MADE AN ABYSSINIAN PREMIÉRE. THE TRIAL scene from Saint Joan was presented on the terrace of the Anglo-Ethiopian Club in Addis Ababa. The cast included English teachers, Ethiopian students, and the President of the High Court in the part of Warwick. No better illustration of the universality of Shaw, which was the idea that prompted this study, can be found. The materials collected by the indefatigable efforts of the biographer through several decades, and which now constitute part of the Archibald Henderson Collection of Bernard Shaw in the Library of the University of North Carolina, are the basis of the survey of Shaw's impact on the peoples of many countries of the world. The cooperation of the American Embassies in the search for information and materials has, with very few exceptions, proved rewarding; the museums of dramatic and theatrical arts, libraries, theatres, and individual authorities in many countries have been generous beyond expectation. Some of the foreign embassies with organizations for cultural relations with other countries have been helpful with materials and information for further research. This survey, however, must be regarded as representative rather than all-inclusive. Even from the most cooperative sources, complete information could not be made available. Not all theatrical ventures are safely recorded for future generations; actors' and producers' memories are not always infallible; a poster, a photograph of a scene, a program may be all that remains from which to reconstruct a production. Far too many programs and playbills are undated and other evidence is not conclusive. But from the mass of playbills, posters, programs, pictures, magazines, newspapers, and books, letters, typescript lists, clippings and scrapbooks, have been constructed the beginnings of a survey which future scholars may wish to continue.


The reception of Shaw in Germany down to 1906 is traced in the body of this book. Almost steadily since 1906 the Germans have played Shaw more widely and more constantly than the English and the Americans have ever done. In the words of Thomas Mann, Germany recognized his importance to the modern stage, indeed to modern intellectual life as a whole, earlier than


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George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century
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