Un Petit Drame

Last updated
Un Petit Drame
George Bernard Shaw - 1889.jpg
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Date premieredunproduced
Original languageFrench

Un Petit Drame (1884) is a short play by George Bernard Shaw. It was Shaw's first completed dramatic work, and the only one written in French.

The play was created because Shaw was practicing French with his friend Ida Beatty. Michael Holroyd says that "Un Petit Drame satirizes his uncle Walter Gurly's household, carries a number of jokes about his family and friends, and demonstrates his talent for rearranging autobiographical fragments so that they become absurdly foreign (literally so here) to himself." [1] Walter Gurly was a ship's surgeon who was a colourful drunkard and, according to Shaw, "always in high spirits and full of humour that was barbarous in its blasphemous indecency". [2]

The play was unpublished during Shaw's lifetime. It was first published in 1959 in Esquire , marketed as "Bernard Shaw's First and Hitherto Unpublished Play". The French text was accompanied by an English translation by Norman Denny and an introduction by Stanley Weintraub. [3]

Related Research Articles

George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright, critic and polemicist, influential in Western theatre

George Bernard Shaw, known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Augustus John

Augustus Edwin John was a Welsh painter, draughtsman, and etcher. For a time he was considered the most important artist at work in Britain: Virginia Woolf would remark that by 1908 the era of John Singer Sargent and Charles Wellington Furse "was over. The age of Augustus John was dawning." He was the younger brother of the painter Gwen John.

Lytton Strachey English writer

Giles Lytton Strachey was an English writer and critic.

Sir Michael de Courcy Fraser Holroyd is an English biographer.


Bardolatry is the worship, particularly when considered excessive, of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been known as "the Bard" since the eighteenth century. One who idolizes Shakespeare is known as a Bardolator. The term Bardolatry, derived from Shakespeare's sobriquet "the Bard of Avon" and the Greek word latria "worship", was coined by George Bernard Shaw in the preface to his collection Three Plays for Puritans published in 1901. Shaw professed to dislike Shakespeare as a thinker and philosopher because Shaw believed that Shakespeare did not engage with social problems as Shaw did in his own plays.

<i>Saint Joan</i> (play)

Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw about 15th-century French military figure Joan of Arc. Premiering in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the play reflects Shaw's belief that the people involved in Joan's trial acted according to what they thought was right. He wrote in his preface to the play:

There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.

Wilfrid Lawson (actor)

Wilfrid Lawson was an English character actor of stage and screen.

Charlotte Payne-Townshend

Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend was an Irish political activist in Britain. She was a member of the Fabian Society and was dedicated to the struggle for women's rights. She married the playwright George Bernard Shaw.

<i>In Good King Charless Golden Days</i>

In Good King Charles's Golden Days is a play by George Bernard Shaw, subtitled A True History that Never Happened.

Jean-Michel Rouzière was a French comic actor and theatre head.

<i>Village Wooing</i>

Village Wooing, A Comedietta for Two Voices is a play by George Bernard Shaw, written in 1933 and first performed in 1934. It has only two characters, hence the subtitle "a comedietta for two voices". The first scene takes place aboard a liner, the second in a village shop. The characters are known only as "A" and "Z".

<i>The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles</i>

The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles: A Vision of Judgement is a 1934 play by George Bernard Shaw. The play is a satirical allegory about an attempt to create a utopian society on a Polynesian island that has recently emerged from the sea.

<i>Why She Would Not</i> Play written by George Bernard Shaw

Why She Would Not: A Little Comedy (1950) is the last play written by George Bernard Shaw, comprising five short scenes. The play may or may not have been completed at his death. It was published six years later.

<i>Geneva</i> (play)

Geneva, a Fancied Page of History in Three Acts (1938) is a topical play by George Bernard Shaw. It describes a summit meeting designed to contain the increasingly dangerous behaviour of three dictators, Herr Battler, Signor Bombardone, and General Flanco.

<i>The Music Cure</i>

The Music Cure, a Piece of Utter Nonsense (1913) is a short comedy sketch by George Bernard Shaw, satirising therapeutic fads of the era and the Marconi scandal of 1912.

<i>The Glimpse of Reality</i>

The Glimpse of Reality, A Tragedietta (1909) is a short play by George Bernard Shaw, set Italy during the 15th century. It is a parody of the verismo melodramas in vogue at the time. Shaw included it among what he called his "tomfooleries".

<i>The Fascinating Foundling</i>

The Fascinating Foundling (1909) is a short comic play by George Bernard Shaw. Shaw classified it as one of his "tomfooleries". He was so unimpressed with his own work that the published text was humorously subtitled "a Disgrace to the Author".

Lytton Strachey: A Critical Biography is a 1967–68 two-volume biography of Lytton Strachey by Michael Holroyd, the author's magnum opus. He published a revised version in 1994 under the revised subtitle, The New Biography.

Horst Sigmund Rosenthal was a German-born French cartoonist of Jewish descent. He is best known for his 1942 French comic book Mickey au Camp de Gurs which he created while he was a prisoner at the Gurs internment camp in France during World War II. He was later transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland where he was executed.


  1. Holroyd, Michael (1990). Bernard Shaw: 1856-1898, The search for love. Vintage Books. p. 274. ISBN   978-0-679-72505-3.
  2. Bernard Shaw, Random House, 2011, p. 16.
  3. "Un Petit Drame; Bernard Shaw's First and Hitherto Unpublished Play", Esquire, LII (December, 1959), 172-74.