Major Barbara Criticism

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In the second volume of his biography, Bernard Shaw, Michael Holroyd writes of early reactions to Major Barbara's first production, focusing on the fact that, as Holroyd puts it, "The critics were impressively divided." Holroyd quotes one reviewer who spoke of the play's "religious passion," as well as another who called Shaw "destitute of the religious emotion," and a third who suggested that Major Barbara's "offences against good taste and good feeling" should have resulted in the play's censorship. Shaw, Holroyd writes, was accused of "deliberate perversity" and praised for his "sense of spiritual beauty." He was called "a high genius" as well as "a writer whose absence of feeling makes him a very unsafe guide." While the play no longer faces charges of blasphemy or immorality, It continues to be controversial. Much of that controversy revolves around the seeming ambiguity of Shaw's purpose. As Harold Bloom writes...

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This section contains 859 words
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Buy the Major Barbara Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Major Barbara from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.