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John Bull's Other Island

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  300 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Can you ever really go home again? What if you bring a friend and he is welcomed like a favorite son? In this comedy by the masterful George Bernard Shaw, Larry Doyle is a successful engineer in London who returns to his birthplace in Ireland for a business deal. His partner, Tom Broadbent, has romantic notions of the Emerald Isle and is eager to come along. Broadbent cuts ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published September 12th 2008 by Akasha Classics (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
Leslie
3.5*

This pre-WW1 play about the Anglo-Irish relationship is less dated than some of Shaw's other plays, perhaps because the situation it portrays lasted for so long. While there were some funny scenes, overall it struck me as a bitter play. Perhaps I would like it more if I could see a performance.
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
Sarah
Jun 06, 2007 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.
Ressha
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second edition to this book, Shaw writes a new preface in commemoration of the then assured prospect of Home Rule being on the horizon. He disparages his original preface, calling it an example of how quickly political writing dates. As if to prove his point, a mere four years after the publication of this "Home Rule Edition", a group of rebels stage the Easter Rising and guarantee that Home Rule will never be an option for Ireland. Following the end of the first World War came the Irish ...more
Asun
3/5.

I want to say I like this play but unfortunately...I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would even though Bernard Shaw wrote it. I can appreciate the irony and sarcasm of the characters, especially when they talk about Ireland, Irish people, migration and the current state of the country; however, I felt that the stage directions were rather long, dull and unnecessary and made you lose track of the plot.
John Longmore
Discouraged

So good in beginning, than the characters bored me. Tried to finish...but to no avail I got confused with the characters chattering nonsense. I love Shaws reads....but this one?
Anna
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, plays, uni
I definitely enjoyed this. It was a bit long winded in parts, but I found the politics of the play very interesting. Besides, who doesn't love a good caricature?
Betul
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautifully sad
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
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 13, 2008 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
Daisy Leather
Nov 16, 2012 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.
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.
Leah
Jan 19, 2012 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.
Janice
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academia
this made my brain sort of throb in a good kind of way.
Mika
Jun 23, 2014 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.
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2,505 followers
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.” 584 likes
“An Irishman's heart is nothing but his imagination.” 11 likes
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