Bernard Shaw's The Black Girl in Search of God: The Story by Leon Hugo

By Leon Hugo

Leon Hugo's research is a groundbreaking account of the "story in the back of the tale" of Shaw's allegory The Black woman looking for God, a quick fantasy written via Shaw in a distant coastal village in South Africa. Illustrated by means of John Farleigh, the booklet was once released in 1932 and have become a best-seller. the tale is a myth of a "black girl," switched over by way of Christian missionaries, who attempts to discover the reply to the query "Where is God?" through creating a trip of the soul. alongside the way in which she meets with a few representations of God, from the recent and previous Testaments of the Bible and from the Koran, who disgust and appall her with their hopelessly superseded embodiments of deity. The response from critics and readers of the day ranged from cries of blasphemy to allegations that Shaw used to be relocating to insanity. the amount used to be banned in public libraries and in eire. numerous tracts and books sought to repudiate, ridicule, or increase Shaw's spiritual argument, and there have been diversifications for degree performances and for radio publicizes. This literary occasion is mentioned, tested, and assessed via Leon Hugo. He surveys the shut kinship among Shaw and Voltaire--a dominant presence in a story that itself echoes Candide. the ultimate bankruptcy considers the "black lady" as a Shavian champion of non secular freedom, feminist rights, and political emancipation. Illustrations revive a range of Farleigh's alluring art, and Hugo comprises consultant illustrations from the rebutting tracts and books that Black woman to boot.

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And it is thanks to Voltaire (following a farcical episode in which God hoists up his robe and chases after a tall “Black Woman who turns out to be, not the Black Girl, but a representative of “Hallelujah Hall”) that he finally reaches his destination, the cultivated garden. There is no Black Girl here, only “a tallish, bony-hipped figure wearing narrow trousers and something resembling a norfolk jacket” (182–3). It is Shaw, who wastes little time in launching into a withering attack on “the Irish” in which Brophy is at her Shavian best in her take-off of her subject, the gist of which is that the national pastime of the Irish is suttee combined with the Irishman’s unselfish devotion to cutting off his own and everyone else’s nose to spite his face (184–6).

There is a danger in natives taking their Christianity with intense seriousness, because they will find out their teachers only profess to be Christians. ” The absence in England of a religion concerned with human conduct and the presence of a “true religion” in Russia came next. One finds genuine religious fanaticism there, he said. ” These remarks tend to confirm the widespread view of Shaw as one of the most gullible of the celebrities who visited Russia in the 1930s. (He had visited it in 1931 and been enthusiastically received wherever he went, as was perhaps no less than his due as a man who had earned the attention of and a backhanded compliment from Lenin: “A good man fallen among Fabians”).

You must write about it and make a propaganda of voluptuous agony. Well, there are plenty of people who find agony voluptuous on paper; and they will make a reading public for you. But I, who loathe torture, and object most strongly to being tortured, my lusts being altogether normal, should take you and shake you were it not that you are out of my reach and that you would rather enjoy being shaken if it hurt you enough. ” Foreshadowing 27 And that, he concludes, is all he has to say to her; but of course there is a Shavian coda: “I assure you the question of becoming a professional writer is a pretty deep one when the intention behind it extends to becoming a prophet as well.

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