This book takes us through the life and works of George Bernard Shaw as a feminist. It critically explores his major plays to showcase how his works discuss ideas, practices, discourses, and ideologies that are considered to be antecedents to the modern feminist movements.
While the involvement of male feminists in feminist movements prior to the twentieth century were sporadic, isolated, and relatively unconnected, Shaw used the dramatic form of realistic theatre to communicate socialist and feminist ideas to his contemporary audience. The volume sheds light on how Shaw in his plays and prefaces exposes the iniquities suffered by women. His women characters do not conform to the Victorian notions of femininity; voice self-awareness, self-evaluation, and realisation of personal worth; and break free from the typical mythical representation in literature, to pave the way for the future generations of female character. Shaw’s women break the stereotypes of Victorian society to voice and follow their dreams and desires without the fear of societal sanction. Through selections from texts such as Back to Methuselah, Pygmalion, Candida, Arms and the Man, Saint Joan, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Man and Superman, The Black Girl in search of God, and The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, this book highlights how Shaw gave the world ideologies that have since been adapted by the second- and third-wave feminists.
Foregrounding Shaw’s critical role in strengthening feminist characters in modern literature, this volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of literature and literary criticism, theatre studies, feminism, freudian studies and gender studies.
Table of Contents
Part I: History, Philosophy, and Influence 1. George Bernard Shaw, the Forgotten Feminist: An Introduction 2. Oppression/Re-presentation of Literary Myths, Archetypes and Stereotypes 3. Decoding Life Force and Recognising “Shavian Superman” Part II: Ideology 4. Shavian New Woman: Redefining Femininity 5. Shavian Women on Marxist Feminism 6. Platonic Sisterhood of Ecofeminist Interests 7. The Third Wave Women Questions: the concerns of Black feminism, Post-colonial feminism and LGBTQ Theory
Nishtha Mishra has a PhD in English Literature, from the University of Allahabad, India. She has received the UGC PG Rank Holder Fellowship for University Rank Holders (2011–13), and has received gold medals for academic excellence at graduate and post-graduate levels. She has formerly worked as Guest Faculty at the University of Allahabad, India from July 2016 to April 2020. She is a published author of two anthologies of poems, a collection of biographies, and several international research papers, while two of her books are currently under publication. Apart from this, her articles and poems have also been published in leading Indian dailies like Hindustan Times and JagMarg.