Man and Superman – George Bernard Shaw (1931)


Man and Superman – George Bernard Shaw (1931)


Title: Man and Superman

Author: George Bernard Shaw

Publisher: Constable & Company, 1931.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Near fine. Gilt to top edge.  Bnding tight, no foxing, in remarkable condition for its age. 225pp.

SKU: shaw-superman Categories: ,


  1. Man and Superman
  2. The Revolutionist’s Handbook (Appendix)
  3. Maxims for Revolutionists

About the play (from Wikipedia);

Man and Superman is a four-act drama written by George Bernard Shaw in 1903. The series was written in response to calls for Shaw to write a play based on the Don Juan theme.

Although Man and Superman can be performed as a light comedy of manners, Shaw intended the drama to be something much deeper, as suggested by the title, which comes from Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical ideas about the “Übermensch”.The plot centres on John Tanner, author of “The Revolutionist’s Handbook and Pocket Companion”, which is published with the play as a 58-page appendix. Both in the play and in the “Handbook” Shaw takes Nietzsche’s theme that mankind is evolving, through natural selection, towards “superman” and develops the argument to suggest that the prime mover in selection is the woman: Ann Whitefield makes persistent efforts to entice Tanner to marry her yet he remains a bachelor. Ann is referred to as “the Life Force” and represents Shaw’s view that in every culture, it is the women who force the men to marry them rather than the men who take the initiative.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright 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, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw’s attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.