In some respects, this book became possible by prodding from Don B. Wilmeth, to whom this work is dedicated. On two occasions, once while a doctoral candidate and the other in the wake of my first Synge book, Dr. Wilmeth suggested a Shaw direction. The first set me on the road to Synge, and the second sent me presenting a Synge paper, with Shavian relevance, at the first conference of the International Shaw Society (ISS). Over the next four years, I was contemplating Shaw within Shaw’s Irish context. So, given such prodding, this book, as well as my earlier publications, became possible. A greater mentor has not existed.
Two years after the first ISS conference, while researching Irish socialist James Connolly, I returned to Brown University for the ISS’s second conference, “Sesquicentennial Shaw,” which Don Wilmeth hosted. Two years after that, I began working on this book.
Through the ISS, I made the acquaintance of Richard F. Dietrich, then ISS president and editor of the University Press of Florida’s Shaw Series. So while I thank Professor Dietrich for his enthusiasm for Shaw through the ISS, I am greatly indebted to him as the Shaw Series editor. He read a draft of this book and promptly sent me superb editorial recommendations that allowed the book to fully emerge as a study of Shaw within Irish socialism.
I wish to thank Irish Shaw scholar Peter Gahan, whom I met at the first ISS conference. Our conversations led me to see Shaw further in relation to Ireland. Also, I thank Peter, as guest editor of Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, volume 30, for publishing my article “Shaw and the Syngean Provocation,” which was a forerunner for a section of my book’s chapter 1. Peter’s comments during the essay’s writing process helped (p.xvi) sharpen a number of key points. In this vein, I thank the Pennsylvania State University Press for permission to reprint part of that essay.
Great thanks are extended to the Society of Authors, on behalf of the Bernard Shaw Estate, for permission to quote extensively from Bernard Shaw’s works and letters. In addition, I equally thank the Board of Trinity College Dublin for permission to quote profusely from J. M. Synge’s works and letters. The Board of the National Library of Ireland is similarly thanked for their permission to quote from Joseph Holloway’s “Impressions of a Dublin Playgoer.”
Also, and importantly, I thank Admiral Richard Gurnon and Captain Bradley Lima, respectively the president and the academic dean of Massachusetts Maritime Academy, for approving and fully funding my sabbatical in spring 2009 so I could complete this book. Their support of my scholarly publications in this instance, and in all others, is greatly appreciated. I also acknowledge professional development funds in 2010 from Massachusetts Maritime Academy that have defrayed some of this book’s production costs.
I also thank my department colleagues who on occasion listened to my ideas on Shaw and have spiritually supported my scholarship. In addition, I thank my former colleague Nora Bicki, who read drafts of the first four chapters of this book. Her comments were most helpful.
Thanks are also offered to additional Shavian and Irish Studies scholars who, over the years, have contributed, directly or indirectly, to the mindset that has composed this book. They include, but are not limited to, Bernard Dukore, Martin Miesel, Declan Kiberd, Ann Saddlemyer, Stephen Watt, and Lucy McDiarmid.
I also thank Amy Gorelick, the acquisitions editor at the University Press of Florida, who professionally led this book through submission and peer review to acceptance. In addition, I thank Ms. Gorelick for her patience in carefully, and quickly, answering my various questions along the way. Thanks are also extended to Catherine-Nevil Parker, this book’s project editor at UPF, for guiding the project through publication.
Finally, I thank my partner and wife, Carolina, for helping this work through its formulation and completion. Her unconditional support and loving assistance, demonstrated in every step of this book’s realization, are gratefully acknowledged. I remember my late parents, Brenda and Frank, who, in their respective ways, always encouraged my endeavors, (p.xvii) with Brenda instilling a historical Irish consciousness. I remember as well our late Casey; never were my papers more organized on desk or table. I thank Deirdre for insisting on necessary breaks during the final year of writing this book. Thanks also to our nieces, Alex and Sasha, who prompt much love from their aunt and uncle. (p.xviii)