View Full Version : Was GB Shaw a socialist, feminist or eugenicist? (College thesis paper, please help)

11-26-2011, 11:04 PM
Okay, so i have spent all semester working on a 30 page paper about:

No one can agree if he believed in socialism, feminism or eugenics. Perhaps he believed in some paradoxical combination. Because of Shawís own book, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, critics are agreed that Shaw admitted and respected Ibsenís work, particularly Ibsenís play, A Dollís House. Ultimately Pygmalion is a valid piece of feminist literature regardless of what Shaw believed because he was so influenced by Ibsen.

I would love your thoughts. I need response by monday night. it doesn't have to be long or profound, just anything you have to say on the subject.
Thanks so much, i really appreciate it.

11-27-2011, 02:37 AM
I'm confused, none of those three categories are mutually exclusive, so I don't see why you'd have to choose between them. Shaw supported all three to different extents, why would it be paradoxical. Marxist-feminism is an actual field of study.

I think the feminist connection to Ibsen is problematic too, because Ibsen is not a "feminist" writer. Shaw and Ibsen's works are very different thematically. Pygmalion is easier read as a socialist inspired text, as it is mostly a critique of class structures, but the equality of women was a part of Shaw's socialist views, just as they were a part of Engels' Marxist critique of the institution of marriage.

Ibsen was influential on Shaw more in terms of theatrical form, particularly theatrical realism. Shaw, like Ibsen, was happy to attack traditional institutions, but there is little of Ibsen's brand of Scandinavian existentialism (drawing on Kierkegaard) in the works of Shaw. If Shaw is a feminist, I think it is a wild stretch to say Pygmalion is a feminist text because Shaw read and was influenced by a Doll's House. Shaw had most certainly read a good number of feminist texts, and there doesn't seem very much reason to draw direct comparison between the plays.