Two fine letters regarding plays and playwriting, as follows:
Autograph letter signed ("G. Bernard Shaw"), 2 pages (8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.; 210 x 134 mm) on a bifolium, London, 1 February 1895, to the publisher (and playwright) William Heinemann; slightly dust-soiled and a trifle wrinkled. Blue half-morocco folding-case. Shaw's letter is a critique of a Heinemann play: " ... Why not compress those three acts into one act – or rather prologue ...That is what you have really struck out, this calling the first step of it 'a dramatic' moment,' and stitching it up in green covers ... is all nonsense ... What the audience wants to know is how the woman got out of it – what the solution of the problem is. It is not enough for you to cut a slice of life – anyone can do that who can write or imagine at all – you must eat the slice, digest it, & build it up into a living organism. That's the meaning of creation in art ... Outside the most lighthearted comedy, there must be no happy endings; but there must be no unhappy endings at all: there must be great endings, or hopeful, or right endings; but happiness & unhappiness are the positive & negative ends of life only with fools ... My play [Candida?] is not typed yet. When it is, you shall read it if I can get a copy disengaged before it reaches the stage ..." Not in Letters, ed. Laurence.
Typed letter signed ("G. Bernard Shaw"), 1 page (10 x 8 in.; 253 x 202 mm), single-spaced, London, 25 June 1919, to W. S. Kennedy of The Incorporated Stage Society; some light staining. Commenting on Henry James as a dramatist and on his own Heartbreak House: "I must look up The Reprobate. I don't think James is impossible from any other point of view but that of dialogue. He could not write colloquial English. The last time we did a play of his I tried the experiment of quoting several of the phrases in it to people in conversation; and they simply could not catch the words, which were quite intelligible, and even charming, on paper. However, his earlier work is not so bad in this respect: indeed Guy Domville [for which James was hooted off the stage] had some delightful and perfectly intelligible conversation...As to my own play [Heartbreak House], the real difficulty is that I cannot afford to let it go as a Stage Society production if I can make any money by it in the ordinary course, which seems probable now that the war is over. My financial position, like everyone else's though not desperate is not to be trifled with when it comes to the fruit of so many months' work as Heartbreak House."
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