Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosoophy” as Want to Read:
Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosoophy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosoophy

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  3,144 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
How tantalizing to hear Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Schindler's List) but not be able to see him! And hear him one does in his role as Jack Tanner, the antihero of Shaw's 1905 classic drama Man and Superman. Fiennes is a veritable mouthpiece--and a frequently sarcastic one at that--for the burning issues on Shaw's philosophical and social laundry list: the state of ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published 1963 by Bantam Books (first published 1903)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Huda Yahya

الإنسان والسوبرمان هي ثاني أفضل ما قرأت لشو بعد بجماليون
فالمسرحية برغم طولها المفرط إلا أنها وجبة عقلية ممتعة
وفيها يستغل شو سخريته اللاذعة وأسلوبه الجذاب
في ابتداع نوع متميز من المسرحيات
ألا وهو مسرح الأفكار

ما الإنسان إلا حبل منصوب بين الحيوان والإنسان المتفوق
فهو الحبل المشدود فوق الهاوية
إن في العبور للجهة المقابلة مخاطرة
وفي البقاء وسط الطريق خطراً
وفي الإلتفات إلى الوراء
وفي كل تردد وفي كل توقف خطر في خطر..

نيتشه- هكذا تكلم زارادشت
لقد ورد لفظ السوبرمان قبلا على لس
Sep 15, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobels
It's Nobel Revisit Month (it is a very small one-woman festival, so don't worry if you have never heard of it!), and "Man And Superman" is on the schedule, because I need to laugh a bit.

I must have been laughing when I took notes on the treatise/reflection/play or whatever else it is, because I can hardly read my hand-writing. Well, some people would now claim that it is never possible to read it, and that I should finally give up my cursive, but usually I myself know what I mean.

Luckily, Shaw e
Mar 25, 2015 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Saw this last night at the National Theatre with Ralph Fiennes in the lead. Marvellous, all four hours of it. They even included the oft cut 'Don Juan in Hell' section. Great energy, the greatest dialogue. Our age is in need of a Shaw!
David Sarkies
Jul 23, 2015 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to David by: Bernard Shaw himself
Shelves: philosophy
Shaw's first attempt to explore the concept of evolution
23 June 2012

We admit that when the divinity we worshipped made itself visible and comprehensible, we crucified it.

This phrase above, which appears in the epilogue, pretty much sums up the theme of the entire play, and that is that it is impossible for man to evolve simply because we do not want to evolve, and everytime somebody comes along to show us how to evolve we either kill them, or completely corrupt their teachings so as to bring us
Lina AL Ojaili
مسرحية غريبة حول طبيعة الكائن البشري والشيطان.
Dec 18, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel I should qualify this 4-star rating: it's based more on the results of reading the book than on my enjoyment of the book itself. Shaw is a hell of an intellect and a delightfully acerbic critic of society, and there are several trenchant observations and commentaries in Man and Superman. However, when he veers toward -- for example -- an argument for state-sponsored eugenics, it gets kind of appalling.

If I were to rate the book solely on agreement with his propositions, it'd be a lower s
Sep 23, 2011 Bruce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretentious ignoramuses
Recommended to Bruce by: posterity, that a$$hole
If only this play were done as a comic book... it would still really, really, really suck (but then, you never know about the quality of the artwork).

This book was so bad that I stopped reading it halfway through Act III, near about line 360. In fact, right after this passage, which I pick up toward the end of a one and one-half page-long ramble that some sad sack actor will be expected to recite from memory:
THE DEVIL. I could give you a thousand instances; but they all come to the same thing: t
Sohaib Malkawi
I had so much fun reading this! My first experience with modernist drama!

Man and Superman struck me as picturesque, easy to imagine and follow. The humor is awesome too; couldn’t resist some laughs here and there. The most hilarious scene is when Tanner and Straker are captured by the lovesick brigand Mendoza; and after when, with an unusual build up of familiarity and affinity between prisoners and captor, Mendoza starts reading some poems he wrote for his Louisa, who turns out to be Straker’s
J.G. Keely
Shaw has two distinct classes of follower: there are those who enjoy his vivid characters and humor, and those who idolize him as a revolutionary spiritual force. Each appreciates a different side of Shaw's character, and each of his plays presents a struggle between his creative instinct and his revolutionary ambitions.

His need to play the iconoclast was not limited to his socialism, his vegetarianism, and his contempt for medicine. Shaw was never afraid to adopt unpopular ideas, especially whe
Mar 17, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This work, published in 1903, contains three parts: a “Epistle Dedicatory”; the play itself; and “The Revolutionist’s Handbook”. The first is a letter to the author’s friend, Arthur Bingham Walkley, who had originally suggested that GBS write a play on the subject of Don Juan; in this letter GBS not only explains why he has turned the legend on its head but presents his conviction that woman is the true pursuer in the race toward matrimony. Woven into this presentation are threads of GBS’s opini ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Buck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Norman Lear
Shelves: histrionics
No, not that Superman, dumbass. The other one. You know, Nietzsche? The Übermensch? Blond beast? None of this rings a bell? What did you do at that fancy school of yours for four years?

So anyway, Man and Superman is uber-bad. And now I don’t know what to make of Shaw. Heartbreak House was unexpectedly awesome: smart, funny, pessimistic—everything you could ask for in a play. But this one…blech. A lumbering and tendentious monster. It’s like a highbrow, 1905 version of All in the Family: no topi
Look, there are three awesome acts in this and then there's that whole thing in the middle where Don Juan argues with the devil. Is the rest of the play just an excuse for Act III? Is it, like, the bread around a Don Juan / Satan sandwich? I preferred the bread.

I didn't hate the Don Juan / Satan part. I underlined a whole bunch of stuff that was really smart and / or funny. I obviously goes on too long. The characters acknowledge it themselves!

Pygmalion was better.

- The Suf
Eric Kibler
Dec 13, 2015 Eric Kibler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been said about Shaw's plays that his characters are all different parts of Shaw's mind talking to one another; hashing out paradoxes. Nothing could be more true than saying this about Man and Superman. What he does here, though, is resolve seemingly inconsistent traits in human (male and female) beings into what becomes a descriptive philosophy of what the human animal is, and even positing something you could call a religion.

Shaw posits a Life-Force which, on the female side, seeks the
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaw has packed many high-level topics into this play, while at the same time keeping long portions of the dialogue fairly low-level. Two topics jump out most frequently: hell and enjoyment. His take on each respective topic is fresh, seemingly from an entirely new perspective.
In the third act, the characters' conversation stands out in a couple ways. The explanation of hell from Don Juan, the Statue, and The Devil's point of view is unique. From a Judeo-Christian standpoint, it reeks of blasphe
I have a huge inferiority complex about myself. That prevents me to approach great books, lest I wouldn't understand the great writers. I had heard the name of Bernard Shaw and how great a writer he was, in my school days. But never dared to read him.

Now, that some gray hairs have begun to reveal themselves in my head, I have been trying to imbibe some of the thoughts of great minds. Some times I fail, sometimes they fail me, but some other times, they get in to my mind and make me realize thing
Paul Dinger
Jul 15, 2009 Paul Dinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This play had both strengths and weaknesses. The dialouge was great, it wasn't the same old stuff, and it had a true sense of humor. However, it is a play of ideas, and dialouges while they are great for philosophy papers, do bring plays to a total halt, this play is full of those moments, most tellingly in the remake of Mozart's Don Juan in a dream sequence. One would think that the deft author of Candidia and Arms and Man would know this, but he doesn't. The play is full of references to the l ...more
Jul 16, 2014 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review first published on BookLikes:

"... the book about the bird and the bee is natural history. It's an awful lesson to mankind. You think that you are Ann's suitor; that you are the pursuer and she the pursued; that it is your part to woo, to persuade, to prevail, to overcome. Fool: it is you who are the pursued, the marked down quarry, the destined prey. You need not sit looking longingly at the bait through the wires of the trap: the door is open, and
محمد عبادة
Nov 26, 2012 محمد عبادة rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater-plays
I remember to have read one of the longest and most complicated monologues ever in this play ..
I think I need to re-read it.
Aug 17, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time that I've read this thing.

One of the first cultural entertainment backdrop events that I did foray as an eight year college student moving to the big city for purpose of gainful employment was to catch a Shaw play entitled Misalliance at the now former Guthrie. Or do I simply say "Guthrie" back there in that previous sentence because, after all, everyone still to this very day says "The New Guthrie" when discussing... err... the new Guthrie.

Anyway, I hate explaining th
May 11, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
It's hard to rate this one, in a way. There were parts that were absolutely delightful. The first act is great, really funny, puts things in motion in a very entertaining way. Act 2 gets the job done. Act 3 starts well, then takes a wild metaphysical turn that's at first bracing and then horribly overextended. The play never quite recovers, but it's still got enough good lines that it's worth a read. I'm trying to imagine that perhaps it would play better on stage, but in fact it might be even m ...more
Shawgi Al-o
Oct 01, 2012 Shawgi Al-o rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

: هذه المسرحية ستبقى على طاولتي ولن أعيدها أبدا الى الرف فهي تضحك وتبكي وتأسرك لعظم جمالها ؛ فأردت أن أضع اقتباسات لها فلم استطع ولكن لم يبقى سوى صدى جزء منها يلاتحقني كل يوم

كلا كلا كلا صغيرتي لا تصلي إذا قمتٍ بذلك فانك سوف تهدرين الفائدة الرئيسية لهذا المكان "أي جهنم". هنالك كلمات كتبت على المدخل هي: (أترك وراءك كل أمل،انت الذي تدخل). فقط تأملي أية راحة تلك! لأنه ما الأمل؟ نوع من المسؤولية الاخلاقية.في هذا المكان ليس هنالك أمل ، وبالنتيجة لا واجب، لا عمل، لاشي يتم الحصول عليه بالصلاة، لا شيء
Dec 31, 2015 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, british
December of Drama 2015, day 24

"And you got lost in a cycle of no progress
Just rinse, repeat, remind and forget."
--Like Bullets, by Snowden

A "drama of ideas," you say. Well you don't see that too often, but it's true. In fact once it gets to the scene with the Devil and Don Juan as characters, the rest of it almost feels irrelevant or too melodramatic, even, dare I say, filler. As is so often the case when Satan enters fiction, he steals the scene and has the best lines. I supremely enjoyed that
Simon Koenig
Aug 16, 2014 Simon Koenig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in High School and it was simply fantastic. It has stuck with me all these years. Perhaps it was the teacher, perhaps the author maybe both, probably both. Regardless, worth the time and effort to read and study.
Frank Roberts
Apr 04, 2011 Frank Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
More a work of philosophy than a play for the theater, Man and Superman does have a humorous and enjoyable facade as a romantic comedy in the vein of Shakespeare. But in reality it is a work of ideas, with profound questions of Art, the Relation of the Sexes, and Fatherhood being explored.
Walker (A Shropshire Girl)
Brilliant on page & stage, a wonderful mix of Voltaire's Candide, Plato's dialogues with a subtle mix of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Full review to come.
Jul 06, 2015 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, scribd
I found some parts enjoyable, but other parts quite befuddling. I wasn't sure why the brigands were in there or the hell sequence.
Man and Superman is an odd play. The 3rd act, which apparently is often not performed in productions of the play, seems to take a 180.

Mr. Whitfield dies, leaving the guardianship of his daughter to two men, an older proper English gentleman, Roebuck Ramsden (what a name!) and the socialist, argumentative Jack Tanner. Another friend of Ann, Octavius Robinson is present while they discuss the guardianship of Ann.

As the play progresses, there's a love triangle between Octavius, Ann, and Tanner. Lat
Ana Blake
Nov 24, 2016 Ana Blake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I laughed a lot reading this play, but the philosophic content left me fascinated. It was captivating from the first pages, and the delivery of the reflexive speeches and arguments is brilliant in my opinion. I absolutely recommende it if you want to have a good time learning about philosophy, life, art and love.
Jan 11, 2017 alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A comedy of manners in the vein of Oscar Wilde without the humor or life. Act 3 "Don Juan in Hell" is wonderful, interesting, funny and has no place in this dull play.
Jan 14, 2017 Koko rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-reads
part iii was a wild ride
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Plough and the Stars
  • Awake and Sing!
  • The Maids & Deathwatch
  • Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Miss Julie and Other Plays
  • Naked Masks: Five Plays
  • The Master Builder
  • The Playboy of the Western World
  • The Hostage
  • The Lower Depths
  • Caligula and Three Other Plays
  • Krapp's Last Tape & Embers
  • Becket
  • The Weavers
  • Birds
  • The Birthday Party
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but ...more
More about George Bernard Shaw...

Share This Book

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” 2757 likes
“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.” 1326 likes
More quotes…