Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Short Stories on Wednesday: George Bernard Shaw


The only Shaw I've read so far is the iconic play Pygmalion which, as you probably know, was later adapted as My Fair Lady. I have a vague memory of seeing an amateur performance of Androcles and the Lion ages ago (Mel U has a nice review of it here). I also own a non-fiction book by Shaw titled The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (how’s that for appealing to a reader’s vanity?), but I haven’t read it yet. This week I stumbled upon a short story by Shaw and now I really want to read more of him.

The Miraculous Revenge

Our narrator is Zeno Legge, a pompous, slightly mad youth. Think Bertie Wooster with a mean streak.  Zeno means to visit his uncle, who is a Cardinal. The Cardinal decides that the only way to keep Zeno away from trouble and from his uncle’s house is to send him to a village called Four Mile Water to investigate a miracle. A ‘dirty, drunken, blasphemous blackguard’ named Fitzgerald had been buried in the sacred burial ground by the river. But the nun’s and saints buried in the same cemetery are unwilling to share their afterlife with such a disreputable character. So the amazed village wakes up to find that Fitzgerald’s grave has been moved to the opposite bank of the river, overnight. Zeno sets out to debunk the miracle but once in Four Mile Water, he is convinced. What’s more is that he has fallen in love (“I had been in love frequently; but not oftener than once a year had I encountered a woman who affected me so seriously as Kate Hickey.”). But Four Mile Water has more miracles up its sleeve.

I quite liked this story. It was witty and engaging from the very beginning. The bumbling idiot/annoying pest character was funny, if not very likable. I believe Shaw wrote quite a few short stories but sadly, this was the only one I could find online. Anyone else read a short story by Shaw?



10 comments:

  1. Shaw is a lot of fun, although I've only read some of his plays, and none of his stories. Great choice!

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  2. I've been reading a lot of short stories lately. I didn't know Shaw wrote any. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. do check it out. its a fun and easy read.

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  3. I'm ashamed to say I'm almost wholly ignorant of Shaw's works. I know of him only as a playwright and, I did buy and download one of his works last year (Back to Methuselah) but haven't gotten tom it yet. Wherever it was I heard of it really "sold it" well, as it sounded fascinating.

    Yours sounds like a good story too. I hope I can squeeze it into my short story reading this year.

    -Jay

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    1. I always thought of him as a playwright too. Haven't heard of Back to Methuselah. Must look it up.

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  4. Here's the link to read this story online if any of you would like to http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/12762/

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  5. I studied Shaw in my English class in school and at the time I used to think he was the greatest writer in English. I still hold that view except now he has much competition! Still, there was a certain charm to GB's prose which I can't quite explain. I can vaguely put it down to his precise writing style. Old school English, perhaps?

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  6. CHE - I'm highlighting your blog this week on my blog. Check it out!

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  7. I know I've read a George Bernard Shaw work back in school but I could not remember what. Talk about being inattentive! I will have to catch up and read this one. Thanks for providing the link. Thank you, too, for dropping by my blog. I appreciate your comment.

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