Plays of the Nineties

  • Arthur Ganz
Part of the Macmillan Modern Dramatists book series


In July of 1899 Shaw finished Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, the last of what he was to publish the following January as the Three Plays for Puritans. Having written the part of Lady Cicely for Ellen Terry, he sent the play off to her at once, and at the beginning of August while waiting for her reply — initially unfavourable, though six years later she did the role — he wrote to her mentioning his future plans: ‘And now no more plays — at least no more practicable ones. None at all, indeed, for some time to come: it is time to do something more in Shaw-philosophy, in politics & sociology. Your author, dear Ellen, must be more than a common dramatist’. Like most of Shaw’s letters to Ellen Terry this one has at least three entangled purposes: to carry on his fantasy romance with her, impassioned and yet safely literary; to further his long-term strategy of using the Irving-Terry Lyceum in the interests of the new drama; to further his short-term tactic of having Ellen Terry act in his new play. This comment of Shaw’s, however, does more than merely slither between flattery, in suggesting the uncommon status of dear Ellen’s author, and threat, in declaring that there will not be any suitable plays from him after this one.


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  1. 5.
    Alan Dent (ed.), Bernard Shaw and Mrs Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence (New York: Knopf, 1952) pp. 92–5.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Letter to the Evening Standard, 30 November 1944, quoted in Margery M. Morgan, The Shavian Playground (London: Methuen, 1972) p. 65.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    From a letter by Shaw to a group of schoolboys at Rugby who had written to him asking about Marchbank’s secret. George A. Riding, ‘The Candida Secret’ in The Spectator, 185 (November 1950), 506. Reprinted in the Bobbs-Merill Candida.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    See Cyril Maude, The Haymarket Theatre (London: Grant Richards, 1903) pp. 211–17. The chapter, written in the persona of Maude, is included in Vol. 1 of The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw and as an Appendix in Vol. 1 of the Weintraub/Shaw Autobiography.Google Scholar
  5. 24.
    For background on this matter see Louis Crompton, Shaw the Dramatist (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969) pp. 60–3, 231–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Arthur Ganz 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Ganz
    • 1
  1. 1.The City University of New YorkUSA

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