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Who's Afraid of Bernard Shaw?Some Personalities in Shaw's Plays$
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Stanley Weintraub

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037264

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037264.001.0001

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Disraeli in Shaw

Disraeli in Shaw

(p.65) 6 Disraeli in Shaw
Who's Afraid of Bernard Shaw?

Stanley Weintraub

University Press of Florida

Although Shaw claimed not to have read Benjamin Disraeli's novels, he apparently read some of them, as his writings evidence. Whatever the case, Disraeli's artful and witty handling of his political role during Shaw's first years in London seems to have impressed him. The prime minister's shrewd exploitation of Conservatism to secure votes from the newly enfranchised working classes attracted Shaw, whose politics somehow merged Conservative policies and strategies into his Fabian socialism. Disraelian ideas and remarks even turn up in Shaw's plays. Shaw's King Magnus of The Apple Cart (1929) would become a Platonic philosopher-king with Disraelian political resonances.

Keywords:   Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, conservatism, popular suffrage, working classes, George Bernard Shaw, Fabian, socialism

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