My Dear Dorothea : A practical system of Moral Education for Females by Bernard Shaw
My Dear Dorothea : A practical system of Moral Education for Females by Bernard Shaw

My Dear Dorothea : A practical system of Moral Education for Females by Bernard Shaw ; illustrated by Clare Winsten and with a note by Stephen Winsten

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New York : The Vanguard Press, 1956. Hardcover. 55 pages ; illustrated ; 21 cm. Price clipped dust jacket. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.


What would happen, blandly asks the twenty-one-year-old G.B.S. of the five-year-old Dorothea, "if I told you that Aunt Tabitha was a foolish old maid, your mother a frivolous and selfish woman, your father a perverter of truth for gold, and the clergyman the worst man in church?"

This roguish question sets the tone of this hitherto unpublished Shavian delight. We are told by the editor that "A Practical System of Moral Education for Females" was the first serious literary effort of the young Shaw; how serious it is, each reader will judge for himself. At least, one can hope for agreement on this conclusion: any girl reared according to these precepts would become, if not a good girl, at least good company.

In his later days Shaw once referred to his youth as the time "when I was almost unendurably brilliant." There is nothing here to controvert that statement. Furthermore, these arch and "witty pages are enhanced by Mrs. Clare Winsten's graceful and superbly imaginative drawings. For it was to Mrs. Winsten, then his next-door neighbor, that the author-philosopher gave this manuscript; he also requested her to illustrate it, which—as the evidence at hand demonstrates—she has done with love as well as skill.

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