Major Barbara: a facsimile of the holograph manuscript
'The greatest of our evils and the worst of our crimes is poverty ... our first duty, to which every other consideration should be sacrificed, is not to be poor'
Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire armaments dealer, loves money and despises poverty. His energetic daughter Barbara, on the other hand, shows her love for the poor by working as a Major in the Salvation Army. She sees her father as just another soul to be saved. But when the Salvation Army needs funds to keep going, it is Undershaft who saves the day. Is the Army right to accept money that has been obtained by 'Death and Destruction'? Barbara is forced to question her philanthropic motives, and what she discovers tells her something new about the world and its ways.
Full of lively comedy and sparkling debate, Major Barbara is also one of Shaw's most powerful and forward-looking plays. As Margery Morgan says, while Shaw was responding to 'a material and cultural situation that is now part of history', his work still has relevance 'in a period when new technologies drive the globalization of trade and the migration of populations ... and ancient forms of brutality and carnage have re-appeared.'
The definitive text, under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence