An excellent and eminently teachable addition to the new Oxford World Classics Shaw series, this collection includes three early plays that could seem very different to those unfamiliar with the material and the milieu. Although Shaw wrote Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1893), Candida (1894), and You Never Can Tell (1896) within a three-year period, the first more than earns its place among his Plays Unpleasant, while the other two are Pleasant in altogether distinctive ways. While each has seen significant revivals, their theatrical destinies have been widely divergent, especially during Shaw’s lifetime. Mrs. Warren—an excoriation of the capitalist structures that drive poor women to prostitution—was officially censored by the Lord Chamberlain for three decades; within one, the domestic dramatic comedy Candida was a critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. As Eltis notes, the latter play does enable the actor playing the vulgar businessman Burgess to...

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