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Shaw's SettingsGardens and Libraries$
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Tony Jason Stafford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044989

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044989.001.0001

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Back to Methuselah

Back to Methuselah

The Original Garden and a Library Too

(p.111) 9 Back to Methuselah
Shaw's Settings

Tony Jason Stafford

R. F. Dietrich

University Press of Florida

It may be appropriate to end a study of Shaw’s use of the garden setting, along with libraries, with yet another variation on his use of gardens and libraries and a play which draws upon the original garden of western civilization, the Garden of Eden, and comes back to the same garden at the end of this play. The garden occupies two emphatic positions in this five play cycle, the beginning and the end; the importance of it is unmistakable. Even though Shaw went on to write such major works as Saint Joan and To True To Be Good after this, Back to Methuselah may be seen as a concluding effort of his garden usage. The occupiers of this garden are vital to Shaw’s ultimate statement: the earth, Adam, Eve, the Serpent—and Lilith, who may hold the key to Shaw’s intentions. The fourth play of this five-play cycle, Gospel of the Brothers Barnabas, takes place exclusively in a library wherein one of the main subjects of the conversation is gardens.

Keywords:   Garden of Eden, Earth, Adam, Eve, Serpent, Lilith, Creative Evolution, Life Force, Politics, Redemption

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