Collected Letters (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Dan H. Laurence, an actor and a director as well as a dramatic scholar, has devoted forty years to chronicling and editing George Bernard Shaw’s plays, prefaces, essays on music, and letters. This volume of Shaw’s selected correspondence is the third in a projected quartet, following the Collected Letters, 1874-1897 (1965) and Collected Letters, 1898-1910 (1973). Collected is not, however, to be confused with complete: The three volumes contain about nineteen hundred letters and postcards; all four will include about twenty-five hundred; yet Shaw’s total production of correspondence in his astonishingly energetic life was approximately 250,000, or an average of nine for each of his days over his Methuselah-length life. Laurence deserves both commiseration for the Herculean task he has undertaken and grateful commendation for having accomplished it to date with tactful erudition and illuminative clarity. He joins a small gallery of distinguished scholar-critics who have focused their careers on one major author: Leslie Marchand on Lord Byron, Leon Edel on Henry James, Frederick Pottle on James Boswell, Richard Ellmann on James Joyce, Francis Steegmuller on Gustave Flaubert.
Shaw is probably the most versatile of major writers: not only a playwright, director, and novelist, but also a critic of music and the...
(The entire section is 2963 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Booklist. LXXXI, April 15, 1985, p. 1153.
Library Journal. CX, May 1, 1985, p. 57.
The New Republic. CXCIII, July 15, 1985, p. 45.
The New York Review of Books. XXXII, August 15, 1985, p. 3.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, June 30, 1985, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVII, March 15, 1985, p. 106.
Smithsonian. XVI, August, 1985, p. 132.
Time. CXXVI, July 15, 1985, p. 72.
Times Literary Supplement. May 31, 1985, p. 595.
(The entire section is 51 words.)