Plays Pleasant

Introduction by W. J. McCormack
Edited by Dan H. Laurence
Paperback
$16.00 US
5.1"W x 7.8"H x 0.78"D  
On sale Aug 26, 2003 | 336 Pages | 9780140437942
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
Exclusive to Penguin Classics: the definitive text of Shaw’s volume of “pleasant” plays, Arms and the Man, Candida, The Man of Destiny, and You Never Can Tell—part of the official Bernard Shaw Library

A Penguin Classic

One of Bernard Shaw’s most glittering comedies, Arms and the Man is a burlesque of Victorian attitudes to heroism, war and empire. In the contrast between Bluntschli, the mercenary soldier, and the brave leader, Sergius, the true nature of valour is revealed. Shaw mocks deluded idealism in Candida, when a young poet becomes infatuated with the wife of a Socialist preacher. The Man of Destiny is a witty war of words between Napoleon and a “strange lady,” while in the exuberant farce You Never Can Tell a divided family is reunited by chance. Although Shaw intended Plays Pleasant to be gentler comedies than those in their companion volume, Plays Unpleasant, their prophetic satire is sharp and provocative.

This is the definitive text prepared under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence. The volume includes Shaw’s Preface of 1898.
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) is one of the world’s greatest literary figures. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he left school at fourteen and in 1876 went to London, where he began his literary career with a series of unsuccessful novels. In 1884 he became a founder of the Fabian Society, the famous British socialist organization. After becoming a reviewer and drama critic, he published a study of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen in 1891 and became determined to create plays as he felt Ibsen did: to shake audiences out of their moral complacency and to attack social problems. However, Shaw was an irrepressible wit, and his plays are as entertaining as they are socially provocative. Basically shy, Shaw created a public persona for himself: G.B.S., a bearded eccentric, crusading social critic, antivivisectionist, language reformer, strict vegetarian, and renowned public speaker. The author of fifty-three plays, hundreds of essays, reviews, and letters, and several books, Shaw is best known for Widowers’ Houses, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arms and the Man, Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Pygmalion, Heartbreak House, and Saint Joan. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925. View titles by George Bernard Shaw
Plays PleasantIntroduction
Chronology
Preface
Arms and the Man: An Anti-romantic Comedy
Candida: A Mystery
The Man of Destiny: A Fictitious Paragraph of History
You Never Can Tell: A Comedy
Composition and Cast Lists
Principal Works of Bernard Shaw
By the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

“[Shaw] did his best in redressing the fateful unbalance between truth and reality, in lifting mankind to a higher rung of social maturity. He often pointed a scornful finger at human frailty, but his jests were never at the expense of humanity.” —Thomas Mann
 
“Shaw will not allow complacency; he hates second-hand opinions; he attacks fashion; he continually challenges and unsettles, questioning and provoking us even when he is making us laugh. And he is still at it. No cliché or truism of contemporary life is safe from him.” —Michael Holroyd
 
“In his works Shaw left us his mind. . . . Today we have no Shavian wizard to awaken us with clarity and paradox, and the loss to our national intelligence is immense.” —The Sunday Times
 
“He was a Tolstoy with jokes, a modern Dr. Johnson, a universal genius who on his own modest reckoning put even Shakespeare in the shade.” The Independent
 
“His plays were superb exercises in high-level argument on every issue under the sun, from feminism and God, to war and eternity, but they were also hits—and still are.” —The Daily Mail

About

Exclusive to Penguin Classics: the definitive text of Shaw’s volume of “pleasant” plays, Arms and the Man, Candida, The Man of Destiny, and You Never Can Tell—part of the official Bernard Shaw Library

A Penguin Classic

One of Bernard Shaw’s most glittering comedies, Arms and the Man is a burlesque of Victorian attitudes to heroism, war and empire. In the contrast between Bluntschli, the mercenary soldier, and the brave leader, Sergius, the true nature of valour is revealed. Shaw mocks deluded idealism in Candida, when a young poet becomes infatuated with the wife of a Socialist preacher. The Man of Destiny is a witty war of words between Napoleon and a “strange lady,” while in the exuberant farce You Never Can Tell a divided family is reunited by chance. Although Shaw intended Plays Pleasant to be gentler comedies than those in their companion volume, Plays Unpleasant, their prophetic satire is sharp and provocative.

This is the definitive text prepared under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence. The volume includes Shaw’s Preface of 1898.

Author

George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) is one of the world’s greatest literary figures. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he left school at fourteen and in 1876 went to London, where he began his literary career with a series of unsuccessful novels. In 1884 he became a founder of the Fabian Society, the famous British socialist organization. After becoming a reviewer and drama critic, he published a study of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen in 1891 and became determined to create plays as he felt Ibsen did: to shake audiences out of their moral complacency and to attack social problems. However, Shaw was an irrepressible wit, and his plays are as entertaining as they are socially provocative. Basically shy, Shaw created a public persona for himself: G.B.S., a bearded eccentric, crusading social critic, antivivisectionist, language reformer, strict vegetarian, and renowned public speaker. The author of fifty-three plays, hundreds of essays, reviews, and letters, and several books, Shaw is best known for Widowers’ Houses, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arms and the Man, Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Pygmalion, Heartbreak House, and Saint Joan. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925. View titles by George Bernard Shaw

Table of Contents

Plays PleasantIntroduction
Chronology
Preface
Arms and the Man: An Anti-romantic Comedy
Candida: A Mystery
The Man of Destiny: A Fictitious Paragraph of History
You Never Can Tell: A Comedy
Composition and Cast Lists
Principal Works of Bernard Shaw

Praise

By the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

“[Shaw] did his best in redressing the fateful unbalance between truth and reality, in lifting mankind to a higher rung of social maturity. He often pointed a scornful finger at human frailty, but his jests were never at the expense of humanity.” —Thomas Mann
 
“Shaw will not allow complacency; he hates second-hand opinions; he attacks fashion; he continually challenges and unsettles, questioning and provoking us even when he is making us laugh. And he is still at it. No cliché or truism of contemporary life is safe from him.” —Michael Holroyd
 
“In his works Shaw left us his mind. . . . Today we have no Shavian wizard to awaken us with clarity and paradox, and the loss to our national intelligence is immense.” —The Sunday Times
 
“He was a Tolstoy with jokes, a modern Dr. Johnson, a universal genius who on his own modest reckoning put even Shakespeare in the shade.” The Independent
 
“His plays were superb exercises in high-level argument on every issue under the sun, from feminism and God, to war and eternity, but they were also hits—and still are.” —The Daily Mail

The New York Times’s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century

The New York Times recently published their list “100 Best Books of the 21st Century.” We are pleased to announce that there are 49 titles published from Penguin Random House and its distribution clients included in this list. Browse our collection of Penguin Random House titles here. Browse the full list from The New York

Read more

2024 Middle and High School Collections

The Penguin Random House Education Middle School and High School Digital Collections feature outstanding fiction and nonfiction from the children’s, adult, DK, and Grupo Editorial divisions, as well as publishers distributed by Penguin Random House. Peruse online or download these valuable resources to discover great books in specific topic areas such as: English Language Arts,

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more