Catalogue


Shaw's controversial socialism /
James Alexander ; foreword by R.F. Dietrich.
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2009.
description
xvii, 292 p.
ISBN
0813033721 (alk. paper), 9780813033723 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2009.
isbn
0813033721 (alk. paper)
9780813033723 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6866463
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-01-01:
Making exceptional use of Eric Bentley's observation that George Bernard Shaw is not an "either/or" thinker but a "both/and" synthesizer, this cogent, well-executed study argues that Shaw's distinctive brand of socialism has its conceptual roots in the shadowy interstices between liberalism and Marxism. In Alexander's perceptive view, what makes Shaw's socialism "controversial" is the external appearance over time of a seeming inconsistency in position that erroneously bespeaks an abiding internal wavering of thought. That is, in his political youth, Shaw championed neither liberalism nor Marxism; in his political maturity, he countenanced both. This curious situation leads the undiscerning to the mistaken conclusion that Shaw is nothing more than a vacuous jester afflicted with wobbly flights of fancy. Lost in the haze of enigma, writes Alexander (political theory, Bilkent Univ., Ankara, Turkey), is the likelihood that in the wake of the dramatic events that shook the world in the 20th century's second decade, an expansive Shaw--ever constant in his desire to make the theoretical practical through concerted action--ultimately embraced a "relaxed relativity" toward reformist and revolutionary attempts to achieve income equality and other substantive socialist goals. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. H. I. Einsohn Middlesex Community College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, November 2009
Choice, January 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Bookstore
"A lively account of Shaw's arguments with liberals and Marxists."--Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley "Expertly places Shaw in the context of the key political battles on the groundof the Victorian/Edwardian world. Those who have confined themselves to the standard biographies may be a little shocked by the detailed picture Alexander provides of how utterly involved Shaw was in trying to shape the political future of both Britain and Europe."--Richard F. Dietrich, series editor Shaw's Controversial Socialismdeals with the political writings of Bernard Shaw, with special emphasis given to the years between 1884 and 1904. It was in these decades that Shaw exhibited his greatest commitment to politics, particularly as he worked out his own unique approach to socialism. Rather than attempt to re-create Shaw's political philosophy, James Alexander is the first to discuss Shaw's work by its placement on a continuum. Analyzing Shaw's writings in the political and historical contexts from which they sprang, Alexander shows that Shaw's was a reactive rather than proactive stance. Most notably, he reveals how Shaw defended socialism from the extremes of Marxism on one side and Liberalism on the other. Alexander's background as a historian of political thought makes him ideally suited to undertake such a study. It will appeal to both literary critics, who will be better able to understand the milieu in which Shaw's dramas arose, and political scientists and historians, who will be more fully exposed to a key figure in the political battles of the Victorian and Edwardian worlds.
Description for Bookstore
"A lively account of Shaw's arguments with liberals and Marxists."--Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley "Expertly places Shaw in the context of the key political battleson the groundof the Victorian/Edwardian world. Those who have confined themselves to the standard biographies may be a little shocked by the detailed picture Alexander provides of how utterly involved Shaw was in trying to shape the political future of both Britain and Europe."--Richard F. Dietrich, series editor Shaw's Controversial Socialismdeals with the political writings of Bernard Shaw, with special emphasis given to the years between 1884 and 1904. It was in these decades that Shaw exhibited his greatest commitment to politics, particularly as he worked out his own unique approach to socialism. Rather than attempt to re-create Shaw's political philosophy, James Alexander is the first to discuss Shaw's work by its placement on a continuum. Analyzing Shaw's writings in the political and historical contexts from which they sprang, Alexander shows that Shaw's was a reactive rather than proactive stance. Most notably, he reveals how Shaw defended socialism from the extremes of Marxism on one side and Liberalism on the other. Alexander's background as a historian of political thought makes him ideally suited to undertake such a study. It will appeal to both literary critics, who will be better able to understand the milieu in which Shaw's dramas arose, and political scientists and historians, who will be more fully exposed to a key figure in the political battles of the Victorian and Edwardian worlds.

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