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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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Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man

“I Took Care to Let Them Know That We Have a Library”

(p.34) 3 Arms and the Man
Shaw's Settings

Tony Jason Stafford

R. F. Dietrich

University Press of Florida

While scholars have approached Arms and the Man with a myriad of interpretations, many agree that one of the overarching concerns of the play is the clash between romanticism and realism (“realism in this chapter is referring primarily to surface verisimilitude rather than the reality of the inner essence of things, the inner “reality” of Plato, Shelley, and Ibsen). This battle of idealism and realism is carried out in the sets as well, specifically with the library and garden. Shaw, aware of the power of the performance value of appropriate settings, draws on the library and garden settings to first present the romantic illusions about these settings and then imbues these same settings with verisimilitude in order to defeat the romantic notions with its opposite. Furthermore, Shaw takes up his position on the side of realism in the physical world by using life-like details and historical accuracy as part of the fabric of the play itself.

Keywords:   Romantic idealism, Realism, War, Illusion, Cavalry charges, Byronic Hero, Irony, Hypocrisy, Library, Garden

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