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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Getting Married.

Etext prepared by Eve Sobol, South Bend, Indiana, USA, and Distributed Proofreaders

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Transcriber’s Note —­ The edition from which this play was taken was printed without most contractions, such as dont for don’t and so forth.  These have been left as printed in the original text.  Also, abbreviated honorifics have no trailing period, and the word show is spelt shew. ____________________________________________________________
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GETTING MARRIED, PREFACE TO

Bernard Shaw

1908

THE REVOLT AGAINST MARRIAGE

There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than marriage.  If the mischief stopped at talking and thinking it would be bad enough; but it goes further, into disastrous anarchical action.  Because our marriage law is inhuman and unreasonable to the point of downright abomination, the bolder and more rebellious spirits form illicit unions, defiantly sending cards round to their friends announcing what they have done.  Young women come to me and ask me whether I think they ought to consent to marry the man they have decided to live with; and they are perplexed and astonished when I, who am supposed (heaven knows why!) to have the most advanced views attainable on the subject, urge them on no account to compromize themselves without the security of an authentic wedding ring.  They cite the example of George Eliot, who formed an illicit union with Lewes.  They quote a saying attributed to Nietzsche, that a married philosopher is ridiculous, though the men of their choice are not philosophers.  When they finally give up the idea of reforming our marriage institutions by private enterprise and personal righteousness, and consent to be led to the Registry or even to the altar, they insist on first arriving at an explicit understanding that both parties are to be perfectly free to sip every flower and change every hour, as their fancy may dictate, in spite of the legal bond.  I do not observe that their unions prove less monogamic than other people’s:  rather the contrary, in fact; consequently, I do not know whether they make less fuss than ordinary people when either party claims the benefit of the treaty; but the existence of the treaty shews the same anarchical notion that the law can be set aside by any two private persons by the simple process of promising one another to ignore it.

MARRIAGE NEVERTHELESS INEVITABLE

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