Siân Adiseshiah’s new book Utopian Drama: In Search of a Genre is a welcome addition to utopian studies, rightfully placing Bernard Shaw at the center of a discussion of utopian thought on stage. This analysis of utopian drama—distinct from utopian prose narratives like those of Thomas More or Shaw’s longtime associate H. G. Wells—is perhaps the most extensive one to date, as previous critics have tended to write more about staging dystopias than utopias. Though focused largely on the English-speaking world, the book begins with practitioners of Old Comedy in ancient Athens and continues through to contemporary dramatists still working today. Adiseshiah also includes female writers and playwrights of color in an effort to be more inclusive than past surveys of utopian drama. The resulting work is illuminating both of the genre in general and of Shaw’s unique place in it.

After an introductory chapter on the challenges of putting...

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