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The second of Shaw's unpleasant plays, written in 1893, published in 1898, but not performed until 1905, The Philanderer is subtitled A Topical Comedy. The eclectic range of topical subjects addressed in the play includes the influence of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen on British middle-class social mores (the second act of The Philanderer is set in the fictional Ibsen Club), medical follies, the rise of the New Woman, and, in particular, the destructive impact of Victorian marriage and divorce laws. Just as Shaw's other unpleasant plays, Widowers' Houses and Mrs Warren's Profession, call, respectively, for reform of laws that allow corrupt property owners to exploit the poor and for radical change to economic structures that drive women into prostitution, so The Philanderer makes the case for more liberal legislation to allow easier divorce-particularly for women-when marriages become irretrievably broken. Shaw's attack on divorce laws becomes even clearer and stronger in the final act that he wrote for the play but discarded in favour of the version he published. The discarded version is published for the first time in this Broadview edition of the play.
|Publication date:||16th February 2020|
|Publisher:||Broadview Press Ltd|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish-born playwright and political activist. L.W. Conolly is Emeritus Professor of English at Trent University, Canada; an Honorary Fellow, Robinson College, Cambridge University; a Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto, Canada; and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the editor of the Broadview Edition of Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession (2005) and the author of many other books on Shaw.More About Bernard Shaw