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by Bamber Gascoigne

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


Irish dramatist, literary critic, a socialist spokesman, and a leading figure in the 20th century theater. Bernard Shaw was a freethinker, defender of women's rights, and advocate of equality of income. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Shaw accepted the honour but refused the money.

"Just as the historian can teach no real history until he has cured his readers of the romantic delusion that the greatness of a queen consists in her being a pretty woman and having her head cut off, so the playwright of the first order can do nothing with his audience until he has cured them of looking at the stage through the keyhole, and sniffing round the theatre as prurient people sniff round the divorce court." (from G.B. Shaw's preface in Three Plays by Brieux, 1911)

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, where he grew up in something close to genteel poverty. "I am a typical Irishman; my family came from Yorkshire," Shaw once said. His father, George Carr Shaw, was in the wholesale grain trade. Lucinda Elisabeth (Gurly) Shaw, his mother, was the daughter of an impoverished landowner. She was 16-years younger than her husband. George was a drunkard – his example prompted his son to become a teetotaller. "In society he drank porter, campaigne, whisky, anything he could get, sometimes swallowing stout enough to make him sick," Shaw recalled. (Bernard Shaw by Michael Holroyd, 1998, p. 17) When George died in 1885, his children and wife did not attend his funeral.

Young Shaw and his two sisters were brought up mostly by servants. Shaw's mother eventually left the family home to teach music, singing, in London. When she died in 1913, Shaw confessed to Mrs. Patrick Campbell: "I must write to you about it, because there is no one else who didn't hate her mother, and even who doesn't hate her children."

In 1866 the family moved to a better neighborhood. Shaw went to the Wesleyan Connexional School, then moved to a private school near Dalkey, and from there to Dublin's Central Model School. Shaw finished his formal education at the Dublin English Scientific and Commercial Day School. At the age of 15, he started to work as a junior clerk. In 1876 he went to London, joining his sister and mother. Shaw did not return to Ireland for nearly thirty years.

Most of the next two years Shaw educated himself at the British Museum. He began his literary career by writing music and drama criticism, and novels, including the semi-autobiographical Immaturity, without much success. A vegetarian, who eschewed alcohol and tobacco, Shaw joined in 1884 the Fabian Society, served on its executive committee from 1885 to 1911. The middle-class socialist group attracted also H.G. Wells – the both writers send each other copies of their new books as they appeared. "You are, now that Wilde is dead, the one living playwright in my esteem," wrote Wells after receiving Shaw's Three Plays for Puritans (1901).

A man of many causes, Shaw supported abolition of private property, radical change in the voting system, campaigned for the simplification of spelling, and the reform of the English alphabet. As a public speaker, Shaw gained the status of one of the most sought-after orators in England. In 1895 Shaw became a drama critic for the Saturday Review. Articles written for the paper were later collected in Our Theatres in the Nineties (1932). Music, art, and drama criticism Shaw wrote for Dramatic Review (1885-86), Our Corner (1885-86), The Pall Mall Gazette (1885-88), The World (1886-94), and The Star (1888-90) as 'Corno bi Basetto'. His music criticism were collected in Shaw's Music (1981). After lacing a shoe too tightly, an operation was performed on his foot for necrosis; Shaw was unable to put his foot on the ground for eighteen months. During this period he wrote Caesar and Cleopatra (1901) and The Perfect Wagnerite (1898). "...I have no reason to believe that they would have been a bit better if they had been written on two legs instead of one," he said in a letter to the playwright St John Ervine. His friend had his leg amputated during WWI after being hit by a shell splinters.

In 1898 Shaw married the wealthy Charlotte Payne-Townshend. They settled in 1906 in the Hertfordshire village of Ayot St. Lawrence. Shaw remained with Charlotte until her death, although he was occasionally linked with other women. He carried on a passionate correspondence over the years with Mrs. Patrick Campbell, a widow and actress, who got the starring role in Pymalion. All the other actresses refused to say the taboo word "bloody" that the playwright had put in the mouth of Eliza. When she wanted to publish his love letters to her, Shaw answered: "I will not, dear Stella, at my time of life, play the horse to your Lady Godiva."

The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen had a great influence on Shaw's thinking. For a summer meeting of the Fabian Society in 1890, he wrote The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891), in which he considered Ibsen a pioneer, "who declares that it is right to do something hitherto regarded as infamous." Shaw's early plays, Widower's Houses (1892), which criticized slum landlords, as well as several subsequent ones, were not well received. His "unpleasant plays", ideological attacks on the evils of capitalism and explorations of moral and social problems, were followed with more entertaining but as principled productions. "To a professional critic (I have been one myself) theatre-going is the curse of Adam. The play is the evil he is paid to endure in the sweat of his brow; and the sooner it is over, the better." (from 'Preface' to Saint Joan) . Candida was a comedy about the wife of a clergyman, and what happens when a weak, young poet wants to rescue her from her dull family life. But it was not until John Bull's Other Island  (1904) that Shaw gained in England a wider popularity with his own plays. In the Unites States and Germany Shaw's name was already well-known. Between 1904 and 1907 The Royal Court Theatre staged several of his plays, including Candida.

MORELL: Man can climb to the highest summits; but he cannot dwell there.
MARCHBACKS (springing up): It's false: there can he dwell for ever, and there only. It's in the other moment that he can find no rest, no sense of the silent glory of life. Where would you have spend my moments, if not on the summits?
MORELL: In the scullery, slicing onions and filling lamps.

(from Candida)

Major Barbara was about an officer of the Salvation Army, who learns from her father, a manufacturer of armaments, that money and power can be better weapons against evil than love. Ironically the producer of the film version of the play, Gabriel Pascal, was eager to do business with Sir Basil Zaharoff, an arms dealer.

PICKERING: Have you no morals, man?
DOOLITTLE: Can't afford them, Governor.

(from Pygmalion)

Pygmalion was originally written for the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell. Later the play became the basis for two films and a musical. (Shaw's correspondence with the actresses Ellen Terry and Stella Campbell are available in book form.) The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet (1909), one of Shaw's minor plays, was commissioned by the actor and theatre manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree for His Majesty's Theatre in London. Tree was unhappy with some of the lines about God, written for his character Posnet, a horse thief. The Lord Chamberlain of England had banned Shaw's "religious tract," as the playwright himself defined the drama, blasphemous and refused to grant a licence for its public performance. However, it was produced by Lady Augusta Gregory and William Butler Yeats at their Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. "For some strange reason, the city of Dublin is the only place in the United Kingdom where censorship does not apply, and indeed, the ancient law contains the following words: 'except the city of Dublin,'" wrote James Joyce in the Trieste newspaper Il Piccolo della Sera. ('The Battle Between Bernard Shaw and the Censor: "The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet,"' in James Joyce: Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing, edited by Kevin Barry, 2000, p. 152) The article was published under the title "La Battaglia Fra Bernard Shaw e la Censura. 'Blanco Posnet Smascherato'" on September 5, 1919. At that time, censorship had already begun to plague Joyce's own writings.

Among the theatergoers Shaw's popularity declined after his essay 'Common Sense About the War' (1914), which was considered unpatriotic. With Saint Joan (1924), his masterpiece, Shaw was again accepted by the post-war public. Now he was regarded as "a second Shakespeare," who had revolutionized the British theatre. Shaw did not portrait Joan of Arc, his protagonist, as a heroine or martyr, but as a stubborn young woman. And as in classic tragedies, her flaw is fatal and brings about her downfall. Uncommonly Shaw showed some sympathy to her judges. The play was written four years after Joan was declared a saint.

In 1893 Shaw collaborated with Keir Hardie in writing the party program for the new Independent Labour party. Many of his plays also were philosophical addresses on the subject of individual responsibility or freedom of spirit against the conformist demands of society. Shaw was cofounder with the Webbs of the London School of Economics, and launched the petition against the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. In 1897 he entered local government.

In his plays Shaw combined contemporary moral problems with ironic tone and paradoxes, "Shavian" wit, which have produced such phrases as "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches", "England and America are two countries divided by a common language", "Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it", and "I never resist temptation because I have found that things are bad for me do not tempt me." Discussion and intellectual acrobatics are the basis of his drama, and before the emergence of the sound film, his plays were nearly impossible to adapt into screen. During his long career, Shaw wrote over 50 plays. He continued to write them even in his 90s. Winston Churchill described him as "the greatest living master of letters in the English-speaking world." (Judging Shaw: The Radicalism of GBS by Fintan O'Toole, 2017, p. 17)

George Bernard Shaw died at Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, on November 2, 1950. All illuminated signs on Times Square and Broadway were dimmed that evening in tribute. Shaw was cremated and it was his wish that his ashes be mixed with those of his wife, Charlotte – she had died seven years before, "an old woman bowed and crippled, furrowed and wrinkled," as Shaw depicted her in a letter to H.G. Wells.

Since the days of the silent films, Shaw had been a fan of motion-picture. He also played in the film Rosy Rapture - The Pride of the Beauty (1914). Shaw did not like much of the German screen version of Pygmalion (1935), and the penniless producer and director Gabriel Pascal persuaded the author to give him the rights to make films from his plays. "Mr Pascal, you're the first honest film producer I have ever met," Shaw told him at their first meeting and gave him a pound note. Pygmalion, produced by Pascal and directed by Anthony Asquith and David Lean (uncredited), was a great success. In one article, Pascal was picked with the Pope and Hitler as one of the ten most famous men of 1938, but his career ended in the financial fiasco of the spectacle Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). Other films inspired by Shaw's plays include Saint Joan (1927), How He Lied to Her Husband (1931), Arms and the Man (1932), Major Barbara (1941), and My Fair Lady (1964). Pascal's co-director in Major Barbara was David Lean, but for thousand pounds Lean agreed to give the full credit to Pascal.

For further reading: Bernard Shaw by G.K. Chesterton (1909); Bernard Shaw by H.Pearson (1942); Bernard Shaw by E. Bentley (1957); Bernard Shaw: Man and Writer by A. Williamson (1963); A Guide to the Plays of Bernard Shaw by C.B. Purdom (1963); Bermard Shaw by E.R. Bentley (1967); Concordance to the Plays and Prefaces of Bernard Shaw by E.D. Bevan (1971, 10 vols.); Bernard Shaw: Art and Socialism by E. Strauss (1978); The Genius of Shaw, ed. Michael Holroyd (1979); Bernard Shaw: The Darker Side by A. Silver (1982); Bernard Shaw by Michael Holroyd (1988-93, 4 vols.); Bernard Shaw: A Guide to Research by S. Weintraub (1992); George Bernard Shaw and the Socialist Theatre by Tracy C. Davis (1994); Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman by Sally Peters (1996); The Prizefighter and the Playwright: Gene Tunney and George Bernard Shaw by Jay R. Tunney (2010); The Origins of George Bernard Shaw's Life Force Philosophy by Jay W. MacIntosh (2011); Judging Shaw: The Radicalism of GBS by Fintan O'Toole (2017); George Bernard Shaw: A Biography by David Ross (2020); The Feminist Shaw: Shaw and Contemporary Literary Theories of Feminism by Nishtha Mishra (2022)   

Selected works:

  • Passion Play, 1878 (written)
  • Immaturity, 1879
  • The Irrational Knot, 1880
  • Love Among the Artists, 1881
  • Our Corner; Cashel Byron's Profession, 1882
    - film 1921: Román boxera, dir. by Václav Binovec, starring Frank Rose-Ruzicka, Suzanne Marwille, V. Ch. Vladimírov
  • Un petit drame, 1884 (skit, publ. 1959)
  • The Widower's Houses, 1885-1892 (play, publ. 1893, 1898)
    - Isän talot (suom. Eila Pennanen, 1972)
  • An Unsocial Socialist, 1887
  • Fabian Essays on Socialism, 1889
  • Quintessence of Ibsenism, 1891 (see Henrik Ibsen)
  • Arms and the Man, 1894 (comedy, prod. 1894, publ. 1898)
    - Sankareita (suom. Valle Sorsakoski, 1930; Toini Aaltonen, 1948)
    - films: 1932, dir. by Cecil Lewis, starring Barry Jones, Anne Grey, Angela Baddeley; 1958: Helden, dir. Franz Peter Wirth, prod. Bavaria-Filmkunst (West Germany); 1989 (TV play), dir. by James Cellan Jones, cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Nicolas Chagrin, Mark Crowdy, Patsy Kensit, Dinsdale Landen, Kika Markham, Patrick Ryecart, Pip Torrens
  • Cashel Byron's Profession, 1885
    - Herra Byronin ammatti: romaani (suom. Väinö Jaakkola, 1923)
  • The Devil's Disciple, 1897 (melodrama, publ. 1901)
    - films: 1959, dir. by Guy Hamilton, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Eva Le Gallienne; 1987 (TV drama), dir. by David Jones, starring Elizabeth Spriggs, Cheryl Maiker, Graham Turner, Patrick Stewart
  • The Perfect Wagnerite, 1898
  • Candida, 1897 (play, written 1895, publ. 1898)
    - Candida (suom. Helmi Setälä, 1909; Ritva Arvelo, 1976; radionkuunnelma Helvi Erjakka, 1951)
    - films: 1956 (TV play), dir. by Tudlik Johansen, prod. Danmarks Radio (Denmark); 1973: Candida (TV play), dir. by Johan De Meester, prod. Belgische Radio en Televisie (Belgium), starring Tine Balder; 1982 (TV film), dir. by Michael Cristofer, starring Joanne Woodward; 1982 (TV film), dir. by Gerard Rekers, starring Marjon Brandsma
  • The Man of Destiny, 1897 (play, written 1895, publ. 1898)
  • Plays Unpleasant and Unpleasant, 1898 (2 vols.)
  • The Philandere, 1898 (comedy, written 1893)
  • Mrs Warren's Profession, 1898 (play, written 1893, prod. 1905)
    - films: 1960: Frau Warrens Gewerbe, dir. by Ákos Ráthonyi, starring Lilli Palmer; 1962: Fru Warrens yrke (TV play), dir. Jan Molander, starring Margaretha Krook; 1972 (TV play), dir. Herbert Wise, prod. BBC, starring Coral Browne
  • You Never Can Tell, 1898 (play, written 1896, prod. 1899)
    - Ei sitä voi koskaan tietää (suom. Helmi Setälä, 1909)
  • The Gadfly: or, the Son of the Cardinal, 1898 (play, prod.)
  • Fabianism and the Empire, 1900
  •  Captain Brassbound's Conversion, 1900 (play, written 1898, publ. 1901)
  • Caesar and Cleopatra, 1901 (play, written 1898, prod. 1906)
    - Caesar ja Kleopatra (suom. 1926)
    - films: 1945, dir. by Gabriel Pascal, starring Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh, Cecil Parker, Stewart Granger; 1965 (TV play), dir. by Hans-Dieter Schwarze, cast: Lukas Ammann, Claus Biederstaedt, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Uta Sax, Paul Verhoeven
  • The Admirable Bashville, or, Constancy Unrewarded, 1903 (play, written 1899, publ. 1909, based on Shaw's novel Cashel Byron's Profession, 1885)
  • Three Plays for Puritans, 1901
  • Maxims for Revolutionists, 1903
  • Man and Superman, 1903 (comedy)
    - Ihminen ja yli-ihminen: komedia ja filosofia (suom. Aino Malmberg, 1906) / Ihminen ja yli-ihminen (suom. Rauno Ekholm, 1982)
  • Don Juan in Hell, 1903 (act III of Man and Superman, 1903)
    - films: 1960 (TV play), dir. Don Richardson, starring Hurd Hatfield, George C. Scott; 1984, dir. by Joseph Marzano
  • John Bull's Other Island, 1904 (play, publ. 1907)
  • How He Lied to Her Husband, 1904 (play, publ. 1907)
    - films: 1931, dir. by Cecil Lewis, starring Edmund Gwenn, Vera Lennox, Robert Harris; 1969: Kako je lagao njenog muza (TV play), dir. by Srboljub Stankovic, prod. Radiotelevizija Beograd (Yugoslavia)
  • The Common Sense of Munincipal Trading, 1904
  • "On Going to Church", 1905
  • The Irrational Knot, 1905
  • Major Barbara, 1905 (play, publ. 1907)
    - Majuri Barbara (suom. Annikki Laaksi, 1976)
    - film 1941, dir. by Gabriel Pascal, starring Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison, Robert Morley, Robert Newton, Marie Lohr, Deborah Kerr
  • Passion, Poison, and Petrification; or The Fatal Gazogene, 1905 (play)
  • Dramatic Opinions and Essays, 1906
  • The Doctor's Dilemma, 1906 (play, publ. 1911)
    - films: 1958, dir. by Anthony Asquith, starring Leslie Caron, Dirk Bogarde, John Robinson ; 1977: Des Doktors Dilemma (TV play), dir. by Rolf von Sydow, prod. Saarländischer Rundfunk (West Germany)
  • The Interlude at the Playhouse, 1907 (play)
  • Getting Married, 1908 (play, publ. 1911)
  • The Sanity of Art, 1908
  • The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet, 1909 (play, publ. 1911)
  • Press Cuttings, 1909 (sketch, publ. 1909)
  • Misalliance, 1910 (play, publ. 1914)
  • Treatise on Parents and Children, 1910
  • Socialism and Superior Brains, 1910
  • The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, 1910 (play, publ. 1914)
  • Fanny's First Play, 1911 (play, publ. 1914)
    - Fannyn ensi näytelmä (suom. Jalmari Lahdensuo)
  • Overruled, 1912 (play, publ. 1916)
  • Androcles and the Lion, 1912 (fable play, publ. 1916)
    - films: 1938, starring Guy Glover, Esme Percy, Molly Hamley-Clifford; 1952 , dir. by Chester Erskine, starring Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Alan Young, Robert Newton
  • Beauty's Duty, 1913 (playlet, written, publ. 1932)
  • The Wisdom of Bernard Shaw, 1913 (ed. C.F. Shaw)
  • Great Catherine (Whom Glory Still Adores), 1913 (play, publ. 1919)
    - films: 1948 (TV play), dir. by Fred Coe, starring Gertrude Lawrence; 1968, dir. by Gordon Flemyng, starring Peter O'Toole, Jeanne Moreau, Zero Mostel, Jack Hawkins, Akim Tamiroff
  • Pygmalion, 1913 (romance, publ. 1914)
    - Pygmalion (suom. Jalmari Finne, 1915; Seppo Kolehmainen, 1976; Juha Siltanen, 1997) 
    - films: 1935, dir. by Erich Engel, starring Jenny Jugo, Gustaf Gründgens; 1937, dir. by Ludwig Berger, starring Lily Bouwmeester, Johan De Meester; 1938, dir. by Anthony Asquith & Leslie Howard, starring Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Scott Sunderland; 1942: Sürtük, dir. by Adolf Körner, prod. Ha-Ka Film (Turkey); 1948 (TV drama), prod. BBC, starring Margaret Lockwood, Ralph Michael; 1950: Kanske en gentleman, dir. by Ragnar Frisk, prod. Svensk Talfilm (Sweden); 1960: Aslan yavrusu, dir. by Hulki Saner, prod. Saner Film (Turkey); 1964, My Fair Lady in dir. by Ceorge Cukor, starring Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde White; 1968 (TV play), dir. Kåre Santesson, starring Harriet Andersson, Renée Björling; 1973 (TV play), dir. Cedric Messina, prod. BBC, starring Lynn Redgrave, James Villiers; 1976: The Opening of Misty Beethoven, dir. by Radley Metzger, starring Constance Money, Jamie Gillis; 1977: Galateya (TV play), dir. by Aleksandr Belinsky; 1981 (TV play), dir. by John Glenister, starring Robert Powell, Twiggy
  • The Music Cure, 1914 (play, written 1913, publ. 1926)
  • Common Sense about the War, 1914
    - Järjen sanoja sodasta: englantilaisen "kapinoitsijan" arvostelua (suom. Toivo Wallenius, 1917)
  • The Inca of Perusalem, 1916 (comedietta, publ. 1919)
  • Macbeth Skit, 1916 (written, publ. in Educational Theatre Journal, 1967)
  • O'Flaherty VC, 1917 (play, written 1915, publ. 1919)
  • Annajanska, the Bolshevik Empress, 1918 (play, publ. 1919)
  • Augustus Does His Bit, 1917 (play, publ. 1919)
  • Peace Conference Hints, 1919
  • Heartbreak House, 1919 (play, prod. 1920)
    - Särkyneitten sydänten talo (suom. Esko Elstelä)
    - films: 1977 (TV play), dir. Cedric Messina, prod. BBC, starring John Gielgud, Siân Phillips, Barbara Murray, Daniel Massey; 1986 (TV play), dir. by Anthony Page, starring Rex Harrison, Amy Irving, Rosemary Harris; 1987: Skorbnoye beschuvstviye, dir. by Aleksandr Sokurov, prod. Lenfilm Studio (Soviet Union)
  • Back to Methuselah, 1921 (play, written 1918-20, prod. 1922)
  • Jutta's Atonement, 1923 (play, publ. 1926, transl. of Siegfried Trebitsch's Frau Gittas Sühne)
  • Saint Joan, 1923 (play, publ. 1924)
    - Pyhä Johanna (suom. Helmi Krohn; Mikko Kilpi, 1969; Matti Norri, 2003)
    - films: 1927, dir. by Widgey R. Newman, starring Sybil Thorndike; 1957, dir. by Otto Preminger, screenplay by Graham Greene, starring Jean Seberg, Anton Walbrook, Richard Widmark. "I always wanted to make a picture of it. Perhaps that was the great mistake: I loved the play so much that I didn't analyze it. I realized only later that the play is actually a very intellectual, analytical rendition of the story of Saint Joan. It's not a emotional story, and it just wasn't moving enough to get the masses to follow. Even the play, as I found out later, was never a big popular success." (Otto Preminger in Who the Devil Made It by Peter Bogdanovich, 1997)
  • Imprisonment, 1925 (republished as The Crime of Imprisonment, 1946)
  • The Socialism of Shaw, 1926 (ed. J. Fuchs)
  • Translations and Tomfooleries, 1926
  • Fascinating Foundling, 1926 (play, written 1909, prod. 1928)
  • The Glimpse of Reality, 1926 (tragedietta, written 1909, prod. 1927)
  • The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928 (rev. as The Intelligent Women's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, and Fascism, 1965)
  • The Apple Cart, 1929 (play, publ. 1930)
    - Amerikan keisari (suom. Seere Salminen, 1952)
    - TV play 1975, dir. by Cedric Messina, prod. BBC, cast: Peter Barkworth, Nigel Davenport, Helen Mirren, Beryl Reid, Trevor Baxter
  • Bernard Shaw and Karl Marx, 1930
  • The Works of Bernard Shaw, 1930-32 (30 vols., revised as Ayot St. Lawrence Edition, 1931-32; Standard Edition, 36 vols., 1947-52)
  • The Works of Bernard Shaw, 1930-32 ( 30 vols.; standard edition, 36 vols., 1947-1952)
  • What I Really Wrote about the War, 1931
  • How He Lied to Her Husband, 1931 (screenplay, with Frank Launder and Cecil Lewis, dir. by Cecil Lewis, prod. British International Pictures )
  • Doctors' Delusions, Crude Criminology, Sham Education, 1932
  • Too True To Be Good, 1932 (play, written 1931)
  • How These Doctors Love One Another!, 1932 (playlet)
  • Essays in Fabian Socialism, 1932
  • Pen Portraits and Reviews, 1932
  • Major Critical Essays, 1932
  • The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God, 1932
  • A Glimpse of the Domesticity of Franklin Barnabas, 1932 (play, written 1920, act II of Back to Metuselah, prod. 1960)
  • Major Critical Essays, 1932
  • Our Theatres in the Nineties, 1932
  • Short Stories, Scraps and Shavings, 1932
  • Music in London, 1890-94, 1932
  • American Boobs, 1933 (also publ. as The Political Madhouse in America; The Future of Political Science in America)
  • On the Rocks, 1933 (political comedy)
  • Prefaces, 1934
  • Village Wooing, 1934 (comedietta)
  • The Six of Calais, 1934 (play)
  • The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, 1935 (play)
  • William Morris as I Knew Him, 1936
  • The Millionairess, 1936 (comedy)
    - film 1961, dir. by Anthony Asquith, starring Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Alistari Sim, Vittorio de Sica
  • Arthur and the Acetone, 1936 (playlet)
  • London Music in 1888-1889, 1937
  • Cymbeline Refinished, 1938 (play)
  • Geneva, 1938 (play)
  • "In Good King Charles's Golden Days", 1939 (historical play)
  • Everybody's Political What's What?, 1944
  • The British Party System, 1944 (playlet)
  • Selected Novels of G. Bernard Shaw, 1946
  • Buoyant Billions, 1947 (comedy, prod. in Zürich in 1948 under the title Zu viel Geld)
  • Sixteen Self Sketches, 1948
  • Farfetched Fables, 1949 (six fables, prod. 1950)
  • Shaw on Vivisection, 1949 (ed. G.H. Bowker)
  • Shakes versus Shav, 1949 (puppet play)
  • Why She Would Nor, 1950 (written, incomplete comediatta)
  • Plays and Players, 1952 (ed. A.C. Ward)
  • The Selected Prose of Bernard Shaw, 1952 
  • Shaw on Music, 1955 (ed. C. Bentley)
  • The Illusion of Socialism, 1956
  • Shaw on the Theatre, 1958 (ed. E.J. West)
  • An Unfinished Novel, 1958 (ed. D. Weintraub)
  • Shaw's Dramatic Criticism: 1895-1898, 1959 (ed. J.F. Matthews)
  • How to Become a Musical Critic, 1960 (ed. D.F. Laurence)
  • Platform and Pulpit, 1961 (ed. D.H. Laurence)
  • Shaw on Shakespeare: An Anthology of Bernard Shaw's Writings, 1961 (ed. E. Wilson)
  • The Matter with Ireland, 1962 (ed. D.H. Laurence and D.H. Greene)
  • G.B.S. on Music 1962 (with a foreword by Alec Robertson)
  • On Language, 1963 (ed. A. Tauber)
  • Religious Speeches, 1963 (ed. W.S. Smith)
  • Collected Letters, 1965-88 (4 vols.)
  • The Complere Prefaces of Bernard Shaw, 1965
  • Selected Non-Dramatic Writings, 1965 (edited by Dan H. Laurence)
  • Shaw on Religion, 1967 (edited with introd. and notes by Warren Sylvester Smith)
  • Shaw: An Autobiography, 1969-70 (2 vols.)
  • The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw, 1970-1974 (7 vols., US title: Collected Plays with Their Prefaces)
  • The Road to Equality: Ten Unpublished Lectures and Essays, 1884-1918, 1971 (edited by L. Crompton with the assistance of Hilayne Cavanaugh)
  • Bernard Shaw's Nondramatic Literary Criticism, 1972 (edited by Stanley Weintraub)
  • Collected Music Criticism, 1973
  • Bernard Shaw's Practical Politics, 1976 (ed. L.J. Hubenka)
  • The Portable Bernard Shaw, 1977 (ed. S. Weintraub)
  • The Great Composers: Reviews and Bombardments, 1978 (ed. L. Crompton)
  • The Collected Screenplays of Bernard Shaw, 1980 (ed. B.F. Dukore)
  • Lady, Wilt Thou Love Me?, 1980 (attributed to Shaw; 18 love poems to Ellen Terry, ed. J. Werner)
  • Early Texts: Play Manuscripts in Facsimile, 1981 (12 vols., ed. G. Laurence)
  • Shaw's Music, 1981 (3 vols., ed. D.H. Laurence)
  • Shaw on Dickens, 1984 (edited with an introduction by Dan H. Laurence and Martin Quinn)
  • Agitations: Letters to the Press 1875-1950, 1985 (edited by Dan H. Laurence and James Rambeau)
  • Collected Letters, 1985-1988 (4 vols.,  edited by Dan H. Laurence)
  • Bernard Shaw: The Diaries, 1885-1897, 1986 (2 vols., edited & annotated by Stanley Weintraub, transliterated by Stanley Rypins, Blanche Patch et al.)
  • Bernard Shaw's Letters to Siegfried Trebisch, 1986 (edited by Samuel A. Weiss) 
  • Selected Short Plays: Definitive Text, 1987 (under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence)
  • Bernard Shaw on Photography, 1989 (edited with an introduction by Bill Jay and Margaret Moore; foreword by Michael Holroyd)
  • Shaw: Interviews and Recollections, 1990 (edited by A. M. Gibbs)
  • Bernard Shaw's Book Reviews, 1991-96 (2 vols., edited and with an introduction by Brian Tyson) 
  • The Complete Prefaces, 1993-97 (3 vols., edited by Dan H. Laurence and Daniel J. Leary) 
  • The Drama Observed, 1993 (edited and with an introduction by Bernard F. Dukore)
  • Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, 1995 (edited by J. Percy Smith)
  • Bernard Shaw and Gabriel Pascal, 1996 (edited by Bernard F. Dukore)
  • Unpublished Shaw, 1996 (edited by Dan H. Laurence and Margot Peters)
  • Bernard Shaw on Cinema, 1997 (edited and with an introduction by Bernard F. Dukore)
  • The Matter with Ireland, 2001 (2nd ed., edited by Dan H. Laurence and David H. Greene)
  • Bernard Shaw and Barry Jackson, 2002 (edited by L.W. Conolly)
  • The Inca of Perusalem, 2002 (edited and introduction by William-Alan Landes)
  • Shaw on Shakespeare, 2002 (edited, and with an introduction, by Edwin Wilson)
  • Bernard Shaw and Nancy Astor, 2005 (edited by J.P. Wearing)
  • What Shaw Really Wrote about the War, 2006 (edited by J.L. Wisenthal and Daniel O’Leary)
  • The Letters of Bernard Shaw to the Times, 1898-1950, 2007 (collected and annotated by Ronald Ford; foreword by Michel W. Pharand)
  • Bernard Shaw and His Publishers, 2009 (edited by Michel W. Pharand)
  • Correspondance George Bernard Shaw-Augustin Hamon, 2014
  • Bernard Shaw and Gilbert Murray, 2014 (edited by Charles A. Carpenter)
  • Major Cultural Essays, 2021 (edited with an introduction and notes by David Kornhaber)

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