Shaw in the 1930s: A Special Session on Bernard Shaw at the 2012 MLA (Jan. 5-8, 2012)

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Modern Language Association

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In the 1930s, Bernard Shaw wrote six full-length plays, feted Albert Einstein, dallied outrageously with Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin, visited the United States for the first (and second) time, and won an Academy Award. Even by the standards of a master of paradox, the 1930s was a decade of artistic and political extremes for Shaw. Much of Shaw's subsequent reception has been tinctured by both his humanitarian work and the putative development of his "darker side" during these years. This panel offers an opportunity to re-evaluate this complex period in Shaw's career:

Ø as an artist (through any of the plays or prose writings from Too True To Be Good and The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God through 'In Good King Charles's Golden Days')

Ø a political propagandist (as, for instance, a critic of democracy, a sincere or ironic advocate of Fascism, a Zionist and counter-Zionist, a champion of revolutionary socialism)

Ø a celebrity in and theorist of mass media (through his radio broadcasts and appearances on newsreels)

Ø a world traveler and early post-colonialist

Ø a votary of the Life Force in the grip of old age, determined to be "more revolutionary" as he aged.

Papers are welcome on any aspect of Shaw's investment in the '30s and his place among its fulgurous debates, figures, and movements. Panelists are also encouraged to read Shaw through any of the modernisms that emerged in the 1930s (e.g. "New Deal Modernism") or through the formal and stylistic features that characterize his later work.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words (with title) and an up-to-date CV by March 15, 2011 to Lawrence Switzky at You must be a member of MLA to deliver a paper, but you do not have to be a member to attend the session.