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John Bull's Other Island

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  243 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 and was one of the great literary minds of his day, in addition to being one of its most entertaining personalities. In his youth he became an ardent socialist and wrote five novels, which are still very entertaining, although Shaw truly found his creative identity on the stage and lectern. While he ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 24th 2003 by Wildside Press (first published 1904)
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Fionnuala
I read this because I'd seen a reference to it in relation to Finnegans Wake which I had been reading at the time. I didn't really find any parallels between the two except for the time they were set in, and the politics of that period that are mentioned. Shaw's Irishman made-good, who returns to his homeplace to modernize it, is a peculiar type - I hadn't come across a character like him before, and the Englishman he takes along with him is quite thoroughly ridiculous. The locals equally so. Ov ...more
Tehreem
This, of course, after Pygmalion, is one of the unsurpassed plays George Barnard Shaw has jotted down. You actually roll off your bed whilst reading this tongue-in-cheek humor, quite very waggish. About Ireland, seemingly, this play spoofs English Imperialism. Exceptionally well-written, I’d like to re-read :)

Published: 1904

______________________________
NORA [looking earnestly and a little doubtfully at him]. Surely
if you let one woman cry on you like that you'd never let another
touch you.

BROAD
...more
Michael Meeuwis
I'm not really in love with this. As a play, loose and unformed; as a set of political opinions, Shaw seems to be manifesting that tendency towards what this play will call "efficiency," and what later on will seem to develop into his late-career taste for something like fascism. I don't know that it says anything particularly novel about Ireland, save how much better it would be if it had the English (or, to be fair, the denationalized technocratic classes, most of whom wind up being English) r ...more
Dr.J.G.
About the other English speaking island in Europe and the relationship between the two - England and Ireland, or rather Britain and Ireland; about their perceptions of themselves vs their perceptions of one another, and of matters of life and so forth in general. How English perceive Ireland romantically and yet would exploit it and the Irish people, how Irish would complain about the British but give them control of the land easily, and how each thinks the other quaint and ridiculous.

Perhaps i
...more
Sarah
Jun 06, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I read this in my Irish Drama class my senior year of college, and was blown away. John Bull's Other Island is the only play Shaw wrote about Ireland, and he comes at it with a fascinating perspective. Powerful, intense, and as detailed as any of Shaw's work.
Dr.J.G.
About the other English speaking island in Europe and the relationship between the two - England and Ireland, or rather Britain and Ireland; about their perceptions of themselves vs their perceptions of one another, and of matters of life and so forth in general. How English perceive Ireland romantically and yet would exploit it and the Irish people, how Irish would complain about the British but give them control of the land easily, and how each thinks the other quaint and ridiculous.

Perhaps i
...more
Dr.J.G.
About the other English speaking island in Europe and the relationship between the two - England and Ireland, or rather Britain and Ireland; about their perceptions of themselves vs their perceptions of one another, and of matters of life and so forth in general. How English perceive Ireland romantically and yet would exploit it and the Irish people, how Irish would complain about the British but give them control of the land easily, and how each thinks the other quaint and ridiculous.

Perhaps i
...more
Chelsea
May 14, 2008 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I know this is a weird play to give a five to ... a weird play in general to be one of only two of Shaw's plays to have read. It's not one of his more acclaimed (though it was popular upon its release), and gets bogged down by a lot of obscure Irish politics. But for whatever reason, this play really clicked for me. Everything seemed to make perfect sense. The character of Keegan is one that I will never forget, as well as the idea of the Irish "dreaming" which is present in so many Irish theatr ...more
Janice
Feb 04, 2016 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academia
this made my brain sort of throb in a good kind of way.
Daisy Leather
Nov 18, 2012 Daisy Leather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university
I really REALLY enjoyed this play. I think it was because it made me feel clever in a way, because doing Irish History for my A-level it made me understand the context in which it was written and the references to the different reforms and such. I thoroughly enjoyed the constant contrast between 'the Irishman' and 'the Englishman' throughout. Very well done Shaw. Enjoyed it as much as I did Pygmalion.
Mika
Jul 21, 2014 Mika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and interesting play. I laughed out loud several times while reading it. It ends rather abruptly.
Leah W-F
Jan 19, 2012 Leah W-F rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
I liked this play a lot more right after I finished it--namely, before I read Shaw's introduction to it, learned more about how he hoped it would be interpreted, and felt dirty inside.

SO, 4 stars with my own interpretation, 2 with Shaw's, make it three.
Agustín Fest
Un humor que aprovecha el contraste entre ingleses e irlandeses. Los irlandeses... aquellos hombres que se definen como necios, como los que nunca hacen nada... me recordó a Dublineses (James Joyce). Este es el aspecto cómico.

Divertidísimo.
Dija Bani Hashim
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Sep 22, 2016
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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
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“My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.” 552 likes
“An Irishman's heart is nothing but his imagination.” 11 likes
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