Use back arrow above to return to the Table of Contents




(Followed immediately by “Sources Consulted” and “Abbreviations”)



            To our great benefit, Shaw scholars have been notably productive in the “grassroots” areas of scholarship, the foundation of all sound critical work. These comprise establishing authoritative texts of Shaw’s basic corpus of works, discovering and editing the more elusive materials, nailing down biographical and theatrical facts, and compiling primary and secondary bibliographies. The formidable contributions of Dan H. Laurence and Stanley Weintraub began as far back as the early 1950s and have yet to run their course. Their immediate spiritual offspring, all avid Shavians who committed themselves to “pure” scholarship in conjunction with criticism, include T. F. Evans, Sidney P. Albert, Frederick P. W. McDowell, Warren S. Smith, Arthur Nethercot, Louis Crompton, E. J. West, Daniel J. Leary, Bernard F. Dukore, Charles A. Berst, Margery M. Morgan, and Anthony M. Gibbs. A host of others followed. We now have definitive editions of the plays and prefaces, a superb (although necessarily selective) Collected Letters and several complementary editions of correspondence, the diaries, facsimiles of some of the early and middle plays, a large volume of interviews and recollections, a number of well-edited volumes of works by Shaw on various subjects, a detailed chronology, and a sumptuous compilation of Shaw’s writings on drama and theatre.1


            In the realm of bibliography, for the most part we have been extremely fortunate. After forty years of labor ferreting out, examining, and describing everything by Shaw that he could locate, in 1983 Laurence published the widely acclaimed Bernard Shaw: A Bibliography, and then kept his nose to the grindstone through the rest of the century, publishing a 125-page supplement in 2000. In the early 1980s a large team of volunteer Shavians, assembled by Helmut Gerber and led by J. P. Wearing, Donald C. Haberman, and Elsie B. Adams, began compiling a massive bibliography of commentary on Shaw for the “Annotated Secondary Bibliography Series on English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920” published by Northern Illinois University Press. The three volumes of G. B. Shaw: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him came out in 1986. Another series of individual compilers had inadvertently assisted them by turning out an annual “Continuing Checklist of Shaviana” for the Shaw Bulletin / Shaw Review / SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies starting in the 1950s. The latest of these compilers, the apparently indefatigable John R. Pfeiffer, took the job over in 1972 and—far from abandoning it after 30-odd years—has gradually increased the checklist’s coverage of both secondary and primary works.2


            One of the chief advantages of these two distinguished secondary bibliographies lies in their chronological form. G. B. Shaw arranges its 9,000 entries in alphabetical sequences for each year from 1871 to 1978 according to the earliest publication date of the item. Since most of the entries are annotated and the range of sources is remarkably varied in both language and nature, it has the enduring characteristic of being by far the best research tool for tracing the evolution of critical and popular reactions to Shaw and his plays from the beginning to the late 1970s. The annual checklists of Shaviana, also annotated, take what comes to view each year, and thus keep us relatively up-to-date on current publications by and about Shaw since the closing date of G. B. Shaw. However, no attempt is made to make these listings comprehensive. Pfeiffer’s consistent policy has been to stay “ahead of the latest publication of the relevant serial bibliographies,” which translates to not pursuing “retrospective items.”3 Rather than digging out, recording, and annotating all the  current references from the continuing bibliographies in the MLA Bibliography, Victorian Studies, Irish University Review, Modern Drama (through the terminal date of its checklist, 1999) and other sources, he has noted their existence and left the tracking down to others. In recent years, as a wealth of online sources developed, he has applied this policy to them as well. This is doubtless the only feasible commitment for one person (with occasional help) to adopt.


            For everyday purposes, however, most researchers into the wealth of Shaw material do not want to have to burrow through bibliographies that list items unselectively and in no meaningful order apart from “by” or “about” and year published. Preparing to study a play or topic of their choice (or their teacher’s), they need convenient lists of noteworthy publications on that play or topic. The closest thing available has been Stanley Weintraub’s Bernard Shaw: A Guide to Research (1992). This is an excellent place to start: highly authoritative in its selection and evaluation of books and articles on the major aspects of Shaw, including each play, and illuminating as a guide to trends in Shaw research up to 1990 or so. Every actual or prospective Shaw scholar should be closely acquainted with it. But of course it is only a jumping-off point, as it was intended to be.


            The present bibliography complements and supplements Weintraub’s little volume. A Selective, Classified International Bibliography of Publications About Bernard Shaw fills in and adds to the fields for which he supplies the basics, including references in Roman-alphabet foreign languages and “analytics” for books that have chapters or sections which are relevant to specific topics. It is an enumerative rather than a discursive bibliography, lacking commentary except for brief identifying or clarifying annotations when desirable, and leaving dissertations to others. This was also true of my work that spans the entire field of post-Ibsen drama and theatre from 1966 to 1990, Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism ...: An International Bibliography. But because the present compilation focuses on a single dramatist and adds a whole spectrum of references not directly relevant to drama and theatre, its standards of selectivity differ markedly from those I applied when I treated each dramatist in more limited bounds. Such topics as Shaw’s fiction, musical involvements, economic and political views, and relations with other countries were scantily represented in the earlier work. There, the measure I applied for every entry on a play was “substantial,” which excluded many commentaries that users might have found useful or at least interesting. For the new bibliography, I deliberately sought out references that would amplify categories such as “Shaw and Women” or “Science Fiction and Utopian Literature,” and I saw no disadvantage to applying a more liberal outer boundary for discussions of plays (short of reviews) than I had before. Thus, for example, the section “Shaw and Music” has about seventy entries and the one on Man and Superman well over a hundred. I even concocted a category labeled “Introductory, Popular, and Laudatory Works” because I knew that some Shavians would appreciate having these publications identified as such rather than omitted. My overall objective was to supply Shaw researchers with a single source that would satisfy nearly all of their needs in the realm of secondary bibliography. 

                                                                                                                                                      One of the means to this end is to screen out the irrelevant and undesirable. With this in view, certain types of publications were deliberately excluded. The bibliography does not include books and pamphlets intended as mere “Study-Aids” (Methuen’s honest label for their author-anonymous series). These range from “Cliff’s Notes” in America and “Longman’s Study Texts” and “Brodie’s Notes” in England to an obscure but more imposing set of “Study Master Publications” issued in the mid-sixties by the American Research Development Corporation. Borderline cases such as the volumes of collected essays on much-taught modern plays recently issuing from Greenhaven Press (Gary Weiner’s on Pygmalion, for instance) and from the still-flourishing Harold Bloom / Chelsea House factory are listed but not analyzed. 

                                                                                                                                                        A technique that I adapted from non-scholarly reference works designed for college libraries, in this case drama bibliographies, is known by the technical term of “analyzing composite books”—that is, indexing them by chapters or sections that deal with individual plays or other discrete topics. I applied this technique so extensively in Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism that I uncovered thousands of “new” bibliographical items for scholars. But there I did not index books about a playwright by their treatments of individual plays, lest a work that encompassed all world dramatists since Ibsen far exceed the 50,000 entries of other kinds in the two fat volumes. Dealing with Bernard Shaw alone in the present compilation (and anticipating cyberspace), I could do this. Therefore Shavians will find those sections duly listed along with the articles—many of which are more tentative or ephemeral than chapters in books. Fully a quarter of the entries on Man and Superman, for instance, are “analytics” of this sort. Unexpected fringe benefits emerge: chapters on plays in books replace earlier articles, keeping users from citing the outdated versions. And discoveries transpire: who would have thought that a book entitled Pygmalion’s Wordplay (by Jean Reynolds) would include a discussion of Man and Superman?—or that a 55-page essay on the play would turn up in Arnold Silver’s Bernard Shaw: The Darker Side, along with a twelve-page treatment of the preface? 

                                                                                                                                                        A feature that might well prove controversial is the division of the entire bibliography into post- and pre-1940 references. The latter are treated as an appendix and have only two alphabetized categories: works that are not primarily about individual plays and those that are. I believe most scholars would agree that “modern” Shaw criticism began in the forties with sophisticated studies by Eric Bentley, Francis Fergusson, Arthur Mizener, and a few others, capped by the landmark books of Bentley and William Irvine. My guess was that a large proportion of Shaw researchers would welcome such a principle of exclusion which shortened the lists of publications in the various categories of the main bibliography, especially those on the plays. The pre-modern entries include several of genuine interest: the earliest book-length evaluations by H. L. Mencken, Holbrook Jackson, and G. K. Chesterton; comments by dramatists who knew Shaw, including fellow Irishmen Yeats, Gregory, and O’Casey; the reactions of Eliot and Pirandello to Saint Joan and of Joyce to The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet; and the broad intellectual perspectives of Jacques Barzun and Edmund Wilson. But most Shavians casting an eye over the two-hundred-odd references, the great majority plucked from volumes one and two of G. B. Shaw, will agree that they have more of an historical or even anthropological interest than a practical use.  

                                                                                                                                                         If that feature proves less of a benefit than a shortcoming, it will be one of at least four that users should bear in mind. The others are:


  The classifications can be quite arbitrary at times. Many wide-ranging critical studies are also strongly biographical, and vice versa; I have rarely listed one in the sections for both. Under “Shaw’s Beliefs and Theories,” the subdivision “Religion / Philosophy” began as two sections and evolved into one out of sheer despair from trying to attain a valid division. And my three sub-categories within “Shaw and Sociology / Economics / Politics” overlap as much as Shaw’s involvement with them permeates his drama.


  The term “international” in my title implies somewhat more than the reality: to find commentaries in non-Roman-alphabet languages users will have to go elsewhere, notably to G. B. Shaw,  the SHAW checklists, and the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature, plus Internet databases such as WorldCat, the MLA International Bibliography, and the International Bibliography of Periodical Literature (IBZ). There they will find rich material in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and other languages that posed linguistic and transcription difficulties that I began evading when I tackled my first checklist for the journal Modern Drama in 1974.


  Lastly, a necessary forewarning: it was beyond my present powers to verify a large proportion of the entries in the bibliography—far from the 98% I attained for volume two of Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism. That work took an enormous amount of time and mobility that I simply could not manage in my advanced retirement. My current efforts at verification were restricted to whatever I could glean from Internet and the collections of my own University’s library and nearby Cornell’s—along with unconscionable exploitation of interlibrary loan services. (I am greatly indebted to our ILL office, headed by the indefatigable and efficient Helen Insinger.) Nevertheless, I did succeed in amending a host of incomplete and inaccurate references drawn from other sources. In turn, I strongly urge users to inform me of whatever corrections and additions they come across so that I can incorporate them as they arrive.4


The format used in this compilation generally conforms to the one I employed in Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism. In an attempt to gain greater intelligibility and economy than standard American practice offers, techniques common in library catalogs and European bibliographies have been grafted upon basic American conventions, and others have been devised to enhance clarity without wasting space. It has been a relief, however, to abandon the un-user-friendly presence of innumerable abbreviations, particularly of journal titles (there is only one). A quick reading of the abbreviations list below should make it virtually unnecessary to consult it again. I was also able to reduce to a minimum the space-saving technique of treating a section of an analyzed book as an incomplete entry with an item-number reference to the main entry (indeed, item numbers are not used at all); the full entry is given in each analytic unless it is printed in one of the twenty collections of essays on Shaw.


The only type of book entry that may require explanation derives from my attempt to list whatever previously published articles (or sections of books) were reprinted, revised, or otherwise incorporated into a given book, thus clarifying for users which of these can be ignored. One clear-cut example should suffice (Mayne’s preface gives the parenthetic information that follows):


Mayne, Fred. The wit and satire of Bernard Shaw. NY: St. Martin’s Pr., 1967. 154 pp (incorporates ‘Consonance and consequence.’ English Studies in Africa 2 1959 59-72 and ‘The real and the ideal: irony in Shaw.’ Southern Review [Adelaide] 1 1963 15-26)


Finally, a word about topics excluded. Despite the open door of a section called “Miscellaneous,” I drew the bottom line at “Shaw and telepathy” and “Shaw and cricket.” No entries treat his vegetarianism, his alphabet bequest, or his bad driving. And nothing could induce me to include the following:


Froese, Rainer. ‘Ghoti: keep it simple: three indicators to deal with overfishing.’ Fish and Fisheries 5 i 2004 86-91 (Shaw attacked English spelling by demonstrating that ‘fish’ could be spelled ‘ghoti’: ‘gh’ as in ‘rough,’ ‘o’ as in ‘women,’ and ‘ti’ as in ‘palatial’)




1.  See “Essential Volumes of Writings by Shaw” below and, for reference works referred to here and subsequently, the section “Bibliographic and Reference Works.”


2.  I am greatly indebted to Professor Pfeiffer for introducing me to many of the online databases that I used in compiling this bibliography.


3.  Letter from Pfeiffer. He also noted that he follows the principle of “indiscriminate inclusion.”


4.  Several passages in this introduction derive from my article, “Tracking Down Shaw Studies: The Effective Use of Printed and Online Bibliographical Sources,” SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, 25 (2005), 165-78.






            Following is a list of the sources I consulted in the process of compiling this bibliography, supplementing those listed in the “Bibliographic and Reference Works” section below. It is limited to those which actually yielded at least one entry that I found nowhere else; with the vast wealth of online databases available now, I experimented with dozens of unlikely ones and, on occasion (PsycINFO, for example), was pleasantly surprised. The article noted in the last footnote above gives details on the most useful sources.


Online Sources


1. Books and Parts of Books

MLA International Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Modern Languages and Literatures (FirstSearch)

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (accessible online in some libraries)

WorldCat (FirstSearch)

Books in Print (FirstSearch)

RLN Bibliographic File

World Shakespeare Bibliography

Online catalogs of research libraries: Harvard, Yale, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale


2. Articles

MLA International Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Modern Languages and Literatures (FirstSearch)

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (accessible online in some libraries)

Article First (FirstSearch)

Academic Search Premier

Google Scholar 

International Bibliography of Periodical Literature (IBZ)

OneFile (Info Trac)

ProQuest—Research Library

Biography and Genealogy Master Index

Historical Abstracts

International Ibsen Bibliography


Reader’s Guide (Retrospective)

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (FirstSearch)

World Shakespeare Bibliography


Sources Not Online


Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (accessible online in some libraries)

Essay and General Literature Index

International Bibliography of Theatre (ceased in 1999)

Biography Index

American Humanities Index

Annual checklists in Modern Drama (1991-99), Victorian Studies, Irish University Review, and Journal of Modern Literature (ceased in 2001)

Film Literature Index

International Index to Film Periodicals: An Annotated Guide

Current issues of over 100 literary and theatrical periodicals from 1998 to date






The only journal abbreviation is SHAW  for

SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies


Abbreviations for months are not listed


            Dept.               Department

            diss.                dissertation

            ed.                   editor, edited, or edition

            NY                  New York (state or city)

            Penn                Pennsylvania (only in the 40-plus occurrences of ‘Penn State Univ.’)

            pp.                   pages

            Pr.                   Press

            publ.                published

            repr.                reprinted

            rev.                  revised

            Univ.               University

            UP                   University Press

            vol.                  Volume