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Mrs. Warren's Profession

By Shaw, George Bernard

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Book Id: WPLBN0000619500
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Title: Mrs. Warren's Profession  
Author: Shaw, George Bernard
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Literature & thought, Literature and history, Literature & philosophy
Collections: Project Gutenberg Consortia Center
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Project Gutenberg Consortia Center

Excerpt
The Author?s Apology: Mrs. Warren?s Profession has been performed at last, after a delay of only eight years; and I have once more shared with Ibsen the triumphant amusement of startling all but the strongest-headed of the London theatre critics clean out of the practice of their profession. No author who has ever known the exultation of sending the Press into an hysterical tumult of protest, of moral panic, of involuntary and frantic confession of sin, of a horror of conscience in which the power of distinguishing between the work of art on the stage and the real life of the spectator is confused and overwhelmed, will ever care for the stereotyped compliments which every successful farce or melodrama elicits from the newspapers. Give me that critic who rushed from my play to declare furiously that Sir George Crofts ought to be kicked. What a triumph for the actor, thus to reduce a jaded London journalist to the condition of the simple sailor in the Wapping gallery, who shouts execrations at Iago and warnings to Othello not to believe him! But dearer still than such simplicity is that sense of the sudden earthquake shock to the foundations of morality which sends a pallid crowd of critics into the street shrieking that the pillars of society are cracking and the ruin of the State is at hand. Even the Ibsen champions of ten years ago remonstrate with me just as the veterans of those brave days remonstrated with them. Mr. Grein, the hardy iconoclast who first launched my plays on the stage alongside Ghosts and The Wild Duck, exclaimed that I have shattered his ideals. Actually his ideals! What would Dr Relling say? and Mr. William Archer himself disowns me because I ?cannot touch pitch without wallowing in it? Truly my play must be more needed than I knew; and yet I thought I knew how little the others know.

 

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