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The Shavian Web
Three Aspects of Saint Joan129
Seminar paper from the year 1995 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, Technical University of Berlin (Institu fr Englische und Amerikanische Literaturwisenschaft), course: George Bernard Shaw, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, comment: This paper looks at G.B. Shaw's "Saint Joan" and tries to establish the prevailing concerns of the playwright. Is it the historical truth, the dramatic impact on the audience or the didactic approach that formed the structure and the plot of the play? These aspects are shown as closely intertwined and can only be analysed by taking into account the philosophical influences behind Shaw's approach to history. , abstract: This paper concentrates on Shaw's understanding of history as it is manifest in his chronicle play
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Saint Joan. The attempted examination will be carried out along three aspects which are quite
clearly discernible yet closely intertwined. Broadly speaking, these aspects could be called:
1. The historical; finding out how close is Shaw to the historical facts of which he was in full
2. The dramatic; leaving aside the obvious "Stage Limits of Historical Representation" (Shaw's
own wording in the Preface to the play) it shall be shown how Shaw exploits optimally the
dramatic potential of Joan's story.
3. The didactic; this term being used for the sake of argument to cover Shaw's social, political
and moral concerns.
In the following chapters these three aspects will be shown in their mutual relation whereby
attention will be paid to the question of their eventual hierarchy. What was Shaw's main goal
when writing Saint Joan? Did he intend to tell what happened in France in the first half of the
15th century? Did he want to write a parable conveying pungent social criticism without having
to be too explicit? Or did he just feel like writing a good play which Saint Joan undoubtedly is?
In other words, I will try to work out the intentions underlying t
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