The Marriage of Contraries: Bernard Shaw's Middle Plays

Hardback
This reading of Bernard Shaw focuses on his habit of seeing the world in terms of contraries, a habit related to his basic rejection of absolutes, his distaste for finality. The author examines nine of Shaw's finest plays: Man and Superman, Major Barbara, John Bull's Other Island, The Doctor's Dilemma, Pygmalion, Misalliance, Heartbreak House, Saint Joan, and Back to Methuselah. The book takes seriously Shaw's claim that all of his characters are right from their several points of view. We are compelled to respect the qualities and values of opposing and very different characters in these plays, and we also have a sense of their complementary defects. J. L. Wisenthal's commentary sheds light on Shaw's techniques of portrayal as well as his dialectical habit of mind. This finely written essay is for all lovers of Shaw and the theater.