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The Admirable Bashville

George Bernard Shaw

Book Overview: 

The Admirable Bashville is a product of the British law of copyright. As that law stands at present, the first person who patches up a stage version of a novel, however worthless and absurd that version may be, and has it read by himself and a few confederates to another confederate who has paid for admission in a hall licensed for theatrical performances, secures the stage rights of that novel, even as against the author himself; and the author must buy him out before he can touch his own work for the purposes of the stage...As a good Socialist I do not at all object to the limitation of my right of property in my own works to a comparatively brief period, followed by complete Communism: in fact, I cannot see why the same salutary limitation should not be applied to all property rights whatsoever; but a system which enables any alert sharper to acquire property rights in my stories as against myself and the rest of the community would, it seems to me, justify a rebellion if authors were numerous and warlike enough to make one." (Summary by G.B. Shaw, from the Preface)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Presume not on thine age and on thy nastiness.
Vanish, and promptly.

MELLISH.            Can I leave thee here
Thus thinly clad, exposed to vernal dews?
Come back with me, my son, unto our lodge.

CASHEL. Within this breast a fire is newly lit
Whose glow shall sun the dew away, whose radiance
Shall make the orb of night hang in the heavens
Unnoticed, like a glow-worm at high noon.

MELLISH. Ah me, ah me, where wilt thou spend the night?

CASHEL. Wiltstoken's windows wandering beneath,
Wiltstoken's holy bell hearkening,
Wiltstoken's lady loving breathlessly.

MELLISH. The lady of the castle! Thou art mad.

CASHEL. 'Tis thou art mad to trifle in my path.
Thwart me no more. Begone.

MELLISH.                  My boy, my son,
I'd give my heart's bloo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is a very curious play. It is an adaption of a novel Shaw wrote early in his career, before he began writing for the stage. He claims that he wrote it specifically to prevent someone else from claiming the rights to adapt it. (Evidently the British law at the time was essentially first come,...more

Doesn't measure up to Shaw's other pieces of work. It is long winded for such a simple story even if some of Shaw's social commentary shines through.

George Bernard Shaw wrote a novel entitled CASHEL BYRON'S PROFESSION, about a prizefighter who falls for a young woman of high society. Primarily in order to protect his copyright under an arcane system of copyright existing at the turn of the 20th century, Shaw wrote this play, without any espec...more