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Heartbreak House
About the book
  • Published: 10 May 2002
  • ISBN: 9780141914817
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

Heartbreak House


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When Ellie Dunn joins a house-party at the home of the eccentric Captain Shotover, she causes a stir with her decision to marry for money rather than love, and the Captain's forthright daughter Hesione protests vigorously against the pragmatic young woman's choice. Opinion on the matter quickly divides and a lively argument about money and morality, idealism and realism ensues as Hesione's rakish husband, snobbish sister and Ellie's fiancé - a wealthy industrialist - enter the debate. Written between 1916 and 1917 as war raged across Europe, Heartbreak House is a telling indictment of the generation responsible for the First World War. With its bold combination of high farce and bitter tragedy, Shaw's play remains an uncannily prophetic depiction of a society on the threshold of an abrupt awakening.

  • Pub date: 10 May 2002
  • ISBN: 9780141914817
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

About the Author

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856. Although essentially shy, he created the persona of G. B. S., the showman, satirist, controversialist, critic, pundit, wit, intellectual buffoon and dramatist. Commentators brought a new adjective into English: Shavian, a term used to embody all his brilliant qualities.

After his arrival in London in 1876 he became an active Socialist and a brilliant platform speaker. He wrote on many social aspects of the day: on Common Sense about the War (1914), How to Settle the Irish Question (1917) and The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928). He undertook his own education at the British Museum and consequently became keenly interested in cultural subjects. Thus his prolific output included music, art and theatre reviews, which were collected into several volumes such as Music in London 1890–1894 (3 vols, 1931); Pen Portraits and Reviews (1931); and Our Theatres in the Nineties (3 vols, 1931). He also wrote five novels and some shorter fiction, including The Black Girl in Search of God and Some Lesser Tales and Cashel Byron's Profession, both published in Penguin's Bernard Shaw Library.

He conducted a strong attack on the London theatre and was closely associated with the intellectual revival of British theatre. His plays fall into several categories: 'Plays Pleasant'; 'Plays Unpleasant'; comedies; chronicle-plays; 'metabiological Pentateuch' (Back to Methuselah, a series of plays); and 'political extravaganzas'. Bernard Shaw died in 1950.


Nobel Prize for Literature

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