George Bernard Shaw: Harlequin Or Patriot?

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Century Company, 1915 - 79 pages

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Page 66 - This is the true joy of life: the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap-heap; the being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
Page 68 - I have, I think, always been a Puritan in my attitude towards Art. I am as fond of fine music and handsome building as Milton was, or Cromwell, or Bunyan; but if I found that they were becoming the instruments of a systematic idolatry of sensuousness, I would hold it good statesmanship to blow every cathedral in the world to pieces with dynamite, organ and all, without the least heed to the screams of the...
Page 41 - The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had its head bit off by its young.
Page 23 - But my stories are the old stories; my characters are the familiar harlequin and columbine, clown and pantaloon (note the harlequin's leap in the third act of Caesar and Cleopatra); my stage tricks and suspenses and thrills and jests are the ones in vogue when I was a boy, by which time my grandfather was tired of them.
Page 34 - Shaw has a rapid and vital way of writing, because he presents his argument at a maximum, seasons it with boisterous analogies, and frequently drives it home at the point of a hearty joke, he is suspected of sacrificing sense to sound. The dancing of his manner conceals the severe decorum of his matter.
Page 25 - Byron-Robertson school, in which the imperturbably impudent comedian, afterwards shelved by the reaction to brainless sentimentality, was a stock figure. It is always so more or less: the novelties of one generation are only the resuscitated fashions of the generation before last.
Page 31 - The fourth fallacy is that Mr Shaw is an incorrigible jester. Almost the first thing to realise about Mr Shaw is his overflowing gravity. He has taken more things seriously in his career than any living and notable person. He has taken music seriously, and painting, and Socialism, and philosophy, and politics, and public speaking. He has taken the trouble to make up his mind upon scores of things to which the average heedless man hardly gives a second thought, and will give no thought at all in the...
Page 23 - It is a dangerous thing to be hailed at once, as a few rash admirers have hailed me, as above all things original; what the world calls originality is only an unaccustomed method of tickling it.
Page 35 - ... jest, he is suspected of sacrificing sense to sound. The dancing of his manner conceals the severe decorum of his matter. The fifth fallacy has to do with the all-head-and-no-heart formula. It is said of Mr Bernard Shaw by some very excellent critics that he is an expert logician arguing in vacua; that he has exalted Reason as a God; that his mind is a wonderful machine which never goes wrong because its owner is not swayed by the ordinary passions, likes, prejudices, sentiments, impulses, infatuations,...
Page 62 - ... had the time to go deeper into this matter, I should Like to ask whether it is really possible to get hold of a new idea as distinguished from a new way of presenting an old one. But, at all events, I have already said enough to justify the assumption that, if Bernard Shaw can claim an immortality, however brief, it will not be by virtue of his original, novel, and startling opinions, but by virtue of his literary presentation of them in a manner entirely his own. The equations read: The ideas...

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