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Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, written in 1894, is one of his most important plays. This was one of Shaw’s plays that were meant to be ‘pleasant’ because, instead of dealing with social issues, it takes the situations of conventional theatre and contrasts real life with the romantic attitudes to theatre prevalent at the time. Arms and the Man breaks the idolatry of war and the romanticism of love. Set during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of the late nineteenth century, the play is an attempt to distinguish between false romanticism and practical human behaviour. To this day, it remains as popular as it was at the time of its first performance. The themes in the play are still relevant and true. The characters remain etched in memory long after the play is read.
Each title in this series has a general critical introduction to the work of Shaw, a specific introduction to the play itself, the author’s own preface, and also notes and glossaries. It is hoped that all this additional material will provide the student with a complete background of the work and the period.
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1925), Bernard Shaw was one of the most well-known authors of his time. Renowned for his wit and controversial for his disregard for conventions, Shaw’s plays remain immensely popular to this day,and are studied in English literature courses around the world.
AC Ward’s notes to the plays of Shaw are widely recommended by universities in India for his incisive yet lucid criticism.