Prescription and Petrifaction: Proprietary Medicine, Health Marketing, and Misalliance

  • Christopher Wixson
Part of the Bernard Shaw and His Contemporaries book series (BSC)


The author charts Shaw’s relationship to the proprietary medicine industry and its marketing practices, suggesting that the playwright was profoundly indebted for his professional success to the techniques through which these ersatz remedies were promoted (techniques he frequently criticized), arguing that his relationship with the industry was symbiotic rather than simply antagonistic. The author anchors his discussion with an interpretive analysis of Shaw’s comedy Misalliance (1909) that prominently features on its set a portable Turkish bath unit, one of the most heavily marketed home health-care products, evoking the ubiquitous image of the disembodied head atop the contraption from decades of periodical advertisements.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA

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