"Sheds light on a heretofore almost completely unsuspected aspect of Shaw’s playwriting methods."--Peter Gahan, author of Shaw Shadows: Rereading the Texts of Bernard Shaw
"Stafford analyzes with acuity the heretofore unexplored leitmotifs of gardens and libraries that form a rich subtext in nine important plays."--Michel Pharand, author of Bernard Shaw and the French
"The author’s enthusiasm for Shaw and in-depth knowledge of his works shine out. Stafford not only shows the surprising frequency of gardens and libraries as settings in Shaw’s plays, but he uses the interpretation of these scenes to explore aspects of the plays that are generally overlooked, adding significant new thematic insights, as well as underlining the importance of scenery in the understanding of stage plays."--Christopher Innes, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Bernard Shaw
Picture the young George Bernard Shaw spending long days in the Reading Room of the British Museum, pursuing a self-taught education, all the while longing for the green landscapes of his native Ireland. It is no coincidence that gardens and libraries often set the scene for Shaw’s plays, yet scholars have seldom drawn attention to the fact until now.
Exposing the subtle interplay of these two settings as a key pattern throughout Shaw’s dramas, Shaw’s Settings fills the need for a systematic study of setting as significant to the playwright’s work as a whole. Each of the nine chapters focuses on a different play and a different usage of gardens and libraries, showing that these venues are not just background for action, they also serve as metaphors, foreshadowing, and insight into characters and conflicts. The vital role of Shaw’s settings reveals the astonishing depth and complexity of the playwright’s dramatic genius.
Tony Jason Stafford, professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, is the editor of Shakespeare in the Southwest: Some New Directions.