By Harold Bloom
This sequence offers modern feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights - from the ancients to modern writers.
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Additional info for George Bernard Shaw (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
I. M. Stewart, Eight Modern Writers, Vol. 12 of the Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Â€. ” â•‡ 5. A shorter version of this chapter was published in 1983 in Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Vol. 3, Shaw’s Plays in Performance, ed. Daniel Leary (University Park: The Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1983), as “Imagining Saint Joan”; almost at the same time, Bryan Tyson published his fine book, The Story of Saint Joan (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press, 1982).
We have been waiting all through the play for historical time to unfold, and at the end of the play we wait for imaginative time to unfold; that is, we ask ourselves what our imaginations can create in time. ” But more than that, he tells us the exact time for the beginning, the middle, and the end of the scene, midnight. m. ” In other words, the time Shaw indicates as passing during the action of the Epilogue equals half an hour. ), as well as characters who are alive but who could not actually be present in Charles’ chamber.
With a Te Deum-like sequence of lauds to Joan, each character in the Epilogue kneels in turn to hymn her praises, only to be asked by Joan if she should then return to earth. With their sadly comic volte-faces, each one rises to reject her proposal and leave her on stage alone. This ritual-like stage action points to Joan’s isolation as a symbolic figure as well as to her personal isolation. She remains a scapegoat rejected by her comrades and community, and therefore a tragic figure. 6 Shaw liked this patterned action of successive desertions so well he used versions of it for the conclusions of The Apple Cart (1928) and Too True to be Good (1931), but he did not invent it for Saint Joan; he invented it for the conclusion of Back to Methuselah, where Lilith corresponds to Joan figuratively and where Adam, Eve, Cain, and the Serpent correspond to Charles, Dunois, and the rest.
George Bernard Shaw (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom