Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Hackney. Unfashionable middle-class district in northeastern London; an unattractive place, with miles of unlovely brick houses, black iron railings, stony pavements, and gray slate-roofed buildings. Most houses have front gardens whose lawns are divided by pathways from their front gates to their hall doors. Near the end of Hackney Road is Victoria Park, 217 acres of open space fenced by wooden paling. It has plenty of open grass fields, trees, a lake for swimmers, flowerbeds, and a sandpit for children to play in. A bandstand, cricket pitches, and a gymnasium are also among the park’s attractions. The parsonage has a good view over the park from its front window.

Victoria Park is still an important open space in Hackney, with most of the features described by Shaw. Mare Street—the location of a public hall in which Morell is to speak on the evening in which the play takes place—is the left hand roadway at the park end of Hackney Road.

St. Dominic’s parsonage

St. Dominic’s parsonage. Hackney home of the Christian Socialist clergyman James Morell and his wife, Candida. Located only three minutes by horse-drawn Hansom cab from a train station, the parsonage is a semidetached building with a front garden and a flight of steps leading up from the path. The tradesmen’s entrance is down steps to the basement, which has a breakfast room in the front, used for all meals, as the formal...

(The entire section is 568 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Carpenter, Charles A. “Critical Comedies.” In Bernard Shaw and the Art of Destroying Ideals: The Early Plays. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969. Treats Candida as a sentimental comedy and discusses the conflict of ideals in the play. Devotes much space to an analysis of Candida’s character and to her ability to use sympathy to dominate the other characters in the play.

Crompton, Louis. “Candida.” In Shaw the Dramatist. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969. Discusses the social, philosophical, and especially historical backgrounds of Candida. A clear presentation of Shaw’s ideas and their sources in the nineteenth century intellectual tradition.

Holroyd, Michael. Bernard Shaw: The Search for Love. New York: Random House, 1988. This first volume of the standard biography of Shaw details the connections between Shaw’s life and thought and his works. Indispensable.

Merritt, James D. “Shaw and the Pre-Raphaelites.” In Shaw: Seven Critical Essays, edited by Norman Rosenblood. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971. Focuses on the character of Marchbanks and on the various references in the play to art, which Merritt relates to the Pre-Raphaelites and the art-for-art’s-sake movement of the 1890’s.

Stanton, Stephen. A Casebook on Candida. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1962. Very useful as an introduction to the play. Contains not only the text of the play and its sources but also selected prefaces and notes by Shaw and a wide variety of brief interpretations and criticism.