The Black Girl in Search of God: The Story Behind the Story

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August 2003



Leon Hugo's study is a groundbreaking account of the "story behind the story" of Shaw's allegory The Black Girl in Search of God, a short fable written by Shaw in a remote coastal village in South Africa. Illustrated by John Farleigh, the book was published in 1932 and became a best-seller. The story is a fable of a "black girl, " converted by Christian missionaries, who tries to find the answer to the question "Where is God?" by making a journey of the soul. Along the way she meets with a number of representations of God, from the New and Old Testaments of the Bible and from the Koran, who disgust and appall her with their hopelessly outdated embodiments of deity. The reaction from critics and readers of the day ranged from cries of blasphemy to allegations that Shaw was moving to madness. The volume was banned in public libraries and in Ireland. Several tracts and books sought to repudiate ridicule or develop Shaw's religious argument, and there were adaptations for stage performances and for radio broadcasts. This literary event is recounted examined, and assessed by Leon Hugo. He surveys the close kinship between Shaw and Voltaire--a dominant presence in a tale that itself echoes Candide. The final chapter considers the "black girl" as a Shavian champion of religious freedom, feminist rights, and political emancipation. Illustrations revive a selection of Farleigh's captivating artwork, and Hugo includes representative illustrations from the rebutting tracts and books that followed Black Girl as well.


Leon Hugo was professor emeritus at the University of South Africa and the author of Bernard Shaw: Playwright and Preacher and Edwardian Shaw: The Writer and His Age.


"Leon Hugo, a distinguished Shaw scholar from the country in which The Black Girl in Search of God is set, is the ideal critic to examine Shaw's most famous prose tale - an allegory on a par with Voltaire's Candide." - Stanley Weintraub, Pennsylvania State University; "An astute reading of the text...a book that clearly demonstrates Bernard Shaw is still worth reading. He speaks to all generations." - Gale K. Larson, California State University
EAN: 9780813026268
ISBN: 0813026261
Untertitel: 'Florida Bernard Shaw'. New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2003
Seitenanzahl: 200 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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