Stanley Weintraub

in Who's Afraid of Bernard Shaw?

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037264
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041544 | DOI:

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In Shaw's early, fiction-writing days, when his travels were limited by lack of means to London and environs, he placed the Zulu chieftain Cetewayo in one of his novels—in England, where, indeed, he had briefly and incongruously turned up in 1882 while Shaw was writing Cashel Byron's Profession. As the British were brutally expanding their African colonial holdings, Cetewayo had vainly defended his kingdom against modern weaponry. In defeat he had been taken captive. To impress him further with British power and ensure his docility, he was taken to London, even to Queen Victoria, then returned to Africa as a vassal. When Shaw discovered that his novel, largely about the prizefighter Cashel Byron, was being pirated as a play for post-career boxers, he wrote, to protect his stage copyright, The Admirable Bashville (1901), named for the ambitious butler of the hero's inamorata, but largely about Cetewayo in London. It became a satire, in verse, of British imperialism, and turned Cetewayo into a tragicomic hero.

Keywords: Zulu; Cetewayo; Cashel Byron; imperialism; colonialism; prizefighting

Chapter.  5481 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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