Bernard Shaw (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Dan H. Laurence, an actor and director as well as drama scholar, has devoted twenty-seven years to editing and annotating a quartet of volumes drawing on George Bernard Shaw’s Himalayan range of correspondence, choosing about twenty-five hundred letters and postcards from what may constitute a total production of 250,000. Earlier volumes covered the years from 1874 to 1897 (1965), 1898 to 1910 (1972), and 1911 to 1925 (1985). All have been edited with tactful erudition and illuminative clarity. Laurence deserves grateful admiration for having brilliantly accomplished an enormously taxing enterprise. As in the previous volumes, he has dispensed with conventional footnotes and substituted concisely written headnotes containing an immense amount of background information. Two-thirds of these pieces of correspondence have not been previously published; many others were issued only in extracts. The editor has departed from his practices in the preceding texts in two ways: He has deleted some sensitive passages in deference to Shaw’s testamentary wish and has restored, inside square brackets, occasionally missing words or letters omitted by Shaw’s aging fingers when he handwrote or typed.
On his ninety-third birthday, Shaw wrote a letter to one of his oldest friends, St. John Ervine, which begins: “May I respectfully remind you that when Lincoln...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Booklist. LXXXIV, May 1, 1988, p. 1472.
The Christian Science Monitor. July 20, 1988, p. 17.
Library Journal. CXIII, May 1, 1988, p. 81.
Los Angeles Times. June 16, 1988, V, p. 20.
The New Republic. CXCIX, August 8, 1988, p. 30.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIII, June 19, 1988, p. 12.
The Observer. June 5, 1988, p. 42.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, April 1, 1988, p. 68.
Smithsonian. XIX, September, 1988, p. 172.
Time. CXXXI, June 6, 1988, p. 87.
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