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on 22 July 2006
Saint Joan is one of my favourite plays, as it combines an interesting historical background (love history) as well as an unordinary Joan d'Arc who is neither good nor bad, but a mixture of the admirable, courageous, exasperating, pitiful, proud. Shaw does not present a romantic, one-sided saintly heroine; instead he shows Joan as the fallible human being she was. And yes, she does become a saint, but she is by no means holy - here's a Joan who's perky, proud, stubborn, yet you can't help being on her side. In addition, Shaw is capable of laughing at both Catholic and Protestant, French and English. In Saint Joan he is at his best, producing a work brimming with irony and social satire, revealing the corruption within the church, the state and the individual. It's not necessary to delve into history books before reading Saint Joan, the well-written introduction will provide you with a wealth of information about the feudal system, the role and status of the church, and Joan of Arc herself. One star less not for the play itself, but for this edition - there are no annotations whatsoever; it would have been very helpful if notes for the play had been provided, because I think there are a lot of allusions to themes in Shaw's other plays, but you're left to figure them out yourself.
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on 20 October 2003
If, and, I hasten to add, if, you can get through the dramatist's introduction, you are a braver man than I. Personally, I would recomend skipping to the start of the play. However, once you do that, the drama only gets better.
Probably you know the story of Jeanne the Maid - Joan of Arc - so, like when watching Titanic, the sad ending isn't surprising. Therefore, it is testament to GBS's skills that the drama retains suspense and interest.
GBS - George Bernard Shaw - writes beautifully and wittily. St Joan is still relevant, still funny and still compelling. Of course, if you don't hold with GBS's views, you might be irritated in places with his sweeping generalisations and confrontatonal style. Nevertheless, well worth the read. And the introduction makes more sense, after you have read the play.
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on 14 December 2012
We all know the story of Saint Joan. Joan a young French country girl finds herself caught up in a France versus England political struggle. She has nothing to recommend her for the task, but Shaw portrays her there among her comrades as fearless, confident, inspired. And she is And like so many visionaries down the centuries she pays the supreme price.
What I love more than the text, and I love the text - brisk, upbeat, re-captuing the various personalities so accurately - what I love more is Shaw's Preface. Yes, it is long, many paragraphs, and I suppose out of proportion to the length of the text of the play but it contains so much wisdom. I'll take one example. He speaks of the VISIONARY and sees the visionary as one who sees further, probes deeper and who DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Oh yes, we all dream dreams, I can come up with solutions to several of the world's problems, but I am not prepared to put my life on the line. This is only one example but so relevant in today's world of self-glorification.
The PLAY presents a delightful Jaon, the Preface invites us to ponder her story.
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on 8 September 2014
Much better than Pygmalion. If you like reading drama, buy it. If you are interested in medieval history, you must have it. I especially enjoy the irony in the end, when she meets her king and hangmen
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on 13 February 2013
You need an interest in St Joan but GBS is always interesting to read if at times a little extreme. He makes an interesting comparison with Anouilh
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on 11 October 2013
I needed this book for a summer school course this August I found it to be perfectly adequate for the purpose
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on 30 October 2010
A powerful play which is easy to read. Shaw includes detailed stage descriptions and directions which make the play as interesting to read as it is to watch being performed.
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on 18 March 2017
very pleased to have this original edition of that masterpiece
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on 16 September 2012
Shaw meant that his plays should be read as well as performed. Imagine my disappointment therefore when I bought this edition only to find that it did not contain his preface.
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on 13 April 2017
Awesome!
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