As a journalist, Shaw displayed an uncanny versatility, penning opinion articles, open letters, music and drama criticism … and book reviews, perhaps the least known of his journalistic activities. These reviews—stylistically valuable in themselves—contain a wealth of information on Shaw's art. Indeed, in this early work one can find many of the ideas he would later rework in his plays and some of the distinguishing technical and formal features of his trade as a playwright. Thus, this article provides a thematic and stylistic account of the content of some of these reviews, in order to demonstrate, first, that Shaw's critical style deserves praise and attention in its own right; and then, that these critical pieces provide a faithful picture of the reading public of the time, and a true index of Shaw's intellectual and literary interests as well as the blueprint of Shaw, the playwright.

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