Michel W. Pharand’s Bernard Shaw and the French (University Press of Florida, 2001) analyses Shaw's French enthusiasms (Brieux, Bergson, Rodin), antipathies (France, Sardou, Bernhardt), and affinities (Voltaire, Anouilh, Sartre); makes use of heretofore untranslated or unpublished materials to reveal the role of Shaw’s designated translators (Augustin and Henriette Hamon) in misinterpreting his plays, and of Georges (as director/actor) and Ludmilla (as actress) Pitoëff in misrepresenting them on stage; and examines the (mostly hostile) critical reception to Shaw's work and ideas in France.  In addition, the book provides a fuller understanding of some unresolved issues (Shaw’s so-called "debt" to Bergson, the unexpected "success" of Sainte Jeanne in Paris) and offers a closer scrutiny of facets examined only cursorily by previous scholars, such as the French critiques of Shaw’s plays, Shaw's "existentialism," and the French Occupation impact of Sainte Jeanne.



Bernard Shaw and the French


Introduction. Shaw as Francophobe and Francophile                                                    


Part I. Shaw et les Beaux-Arts                                                                                             

Chapter 1. Shaw in the Picture-Galleries: "I am no critic of Art"                                    

Chapter 2. Shaw in the Concert Halls: "I purposely vulgarized musical criticism"

i. A Night at the Opera: "Gallic glitter and grandiosity"                                       

ii. Yvette Guilbert: "A fine intensity of mordant expression"                                            


Part II. Shaw et le Théâtre                                                                                       

Chapter 3. The Old Grooves: Shaw and the French Theater                                                     

i. Speaking Automatons: Shaw on French Actors and Acting                                        

ii. Stage Sardoodledom: French Failures in Our Theatres                                              

iii. Clockwork Mice: Augier, Scribe, Sardou, Dumas fils, Feydeau                                            

Chapter 4. The Siren on the Rock: An Exasperation with Sarah Bernhardt                    

Chapter 5. The Ruthless Revealer: An Encomium to Eugène Brieux                                           


Part III. Shaw Traduit et Critiqué                                                                                        

Chapter 6. Shaw Frenchified: Augustin and Henriette Hamon Rewrite Shaw                 

i. Beguiling the Anarchist: A Reluctant Translator                                                                      

ii. The Halt Leading the Blind: A Perilous Collaboration                                                

iii. Shaw as the Irish Molière: A Dubious Apotheosis                                                    

Chapter 7. Outrageous: Shaw and the French Press                                                                             

i. La Critique and Monsieur Shaw: Mutually Baffling                                                     

ii. La Critique on Shaw's Plays: Colliding Cultures                                                                     


Part IV. Shaw et Jeanne d'Arc                                                                                             

Chapter 8. The Trials of Jeanne d'Arc: From Peasant-Warrior to Piteous Waif              

i. Pauvre Pucelle: Shaw Reinvents Jeanne                                                                                 

ii. Conquering Paris: Georges and Ludmilla Pitoëff Reinvent Joan                                              

iii. Surviving Vichy: Jeanne During the Occupation                                                                    

Chapter 9. Jeanne After Joan: Shaw's Joan and Two French Incarnations                                             

i. Jean Giraudoux and Ondine                                                                                      

ii. Jean Anouilh and L'Alouette                                                                                     

Chapter 10. The Disabled Skeptic: A Limited Esteem for Anatole France                                 

Part V. Shaw et la Guerre                                                                                                        

Chapter 11. Shaw's Man of Destiny: The Decline and Fall of Napoléon Bonaparte                   

Chapter 12. The Politics of Pacifism: At War with Romain Rolland                                                       


Part VI. Shaw et les Penseurs                                                                                              

Chapter 13. The River-God and the Thinker: At Meudon with Auguste Rodin               

i. Rodin Reinvents Shaw: From Mephistopheles to Moses                                                        

ii. Shaw Reinterprets Rodin: From "Les Bourgeois" to The Six of Calais                        

Chapter 14. Creative Evolution: The Rise of the Life Force                                                                   

i. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the force singulière                                                                      

ii. Henri Bergson and the élan vital                                                                                            

Chapter 15. Optimistic Vitalism: Converging Towards God                                                                  

i. Voltaire and The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God                        

ii. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and la convergence                                                                      

Chapter 16. Shaw's Proto-Existentialism: In Hell with Jean-Paul Sartre                         


Conclusion. Irreconcilable Differences                                                                                      


Appendix A. Shaw on Stage: The Pitoëff Productions                                                   

Appendix B. Shaw in France: Travels Across the Channel                                                                    

Appendix C. Shaw in Print: A Chronological Bibliography of Works By and About      

Bernard Shaw in French, and About Shaw and French Culture and Literature                           


Works Cited