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Finding Aid for the Edward Gordon Craig Notes and Drafts for a Plea to George Bernard Shaw, 1929-1931
170/512  
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edward Gordon Craig Notes and Drafts for a Plea to George Bernard Shaw
    Date (inclusive): 1929-1931
    Collection number: 170/512
    Creator: Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966
    Extent: 3 items, including a proof with holograph notes and two typescript drafts
    Abstract: The portfolio contains a notebook and two typed manuscripts that trace the development of the essay entitled, "A Plea to G. B. S." in Ellen Terry and her Secret Self (1931; republished as Ellen Terry and her Secret Self, Together with a Plea for G. B. S. in 1932). Edward Gordon Craig's essay "A Plea to G. B. S." is addressed to the British playwright Bernard Shaw, and responds to a preface Shaw had written for his published correspondence with Dame Ellen Terry, a prominent actress and Craig's mother.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edward Gordon Craig Notes and Drafts for a Plea to George Bernard Shaw (Collection 170/512). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230403 

    Biography/History

    Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966) was the second of two illegitimate children born to the actress Ellen Terry and the architect Edward William Godwin. Like his older sister Edith, Gordon Craig followed his mother into drama. He attended Southfield Park School in Tunbridge Wells, Bradfield College, and Heidelberg College in Germany. Craig became a member of the Lyceum, London, the theatre associated with Henry Irving, where he received training as an actor and began his career in stage design and production. Although Craig's radical ideas would prove highly influential, his English productions were commercial failures. In 1904, he left England for the continent, where he wrote several influential pieces on stage design including "The Art of the Theatre" (1905; republished as "On the Art of the Theatre" in 1911) and "The Actor and the Übermarionette" (1907). Craig's belief in the potential of abstract scenic and lighting design, his studies of movement, and the moveable screens that he created played a prominent role in dramatic experimentation in the early twentieth century. He died in 1966 in Vence, France.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, Ireland. He moved to London in 1870, where he tried his hand at writing novels and became involved in progressive politics. Among his many projects, he helped to found the Fabian Society, an organization dedicated to transforming Britain into a socialist state. Although Shaw had been writing plays since 1891, he first became a recognized figure in English drama when he was named drama critic of the Saturday Review in 1895; he soon emerged as perhaps the most important British playwright of the early twentieth century. Among his most famous works are "Arms and the Man" (1898), "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (1898), "Man and Superman" (1902), and "Major Barbara" (1905). Shaw's interest in Ellen Terry dated from her performance in "New Men and Old Acres" in 1878; after he penned "The Man of Destiny" with Ellen Terry in mind in 1895, their correspondence became more intense. Shaw received numerous awards and accolades, including the 1925 Nobel Prize (which he declined).

    Scope and Content

    These materials document Edward Gordon Craig's response to Bernard Shaw's participation in the publication of his mother's correspondence, in addition to Shaw's bitter rivalry with the actor Henry Irving. In the 1890s, actress Ellen Terry played a series of virtuous women at the Lyceum alongside Henry Irving; however, Shaw thought that her talents were being wasted, and the playwright and the actor engaged in a very public struggle over her. After Terry's death in 1928, her daughter Edith ("Edy") Craig decided to publish her mother's correspondence with Shaw. Shaw agreed to turn over Terry's letters to Edy and write a preface. Edward Gordon Craig, who, unlike his sister, was not one of his mother's executors, objected to the publication of the letters, and urged Shaw to withdraw his support. Shaw refused, and further upset Craig by using his preface to attack Irving, the man who had served as Craig's mentor. The notes and typescripts in the portfolio are Gordon Craig's early drafts of his published response.
    The portfolio has the following three parts: Notebook: Miss Ellen Terry and Mr. G. B. Shaw, their correspondence; Draft essay: On the publication of the Correspondence of Ellen Terry and Bernard Shaw, and on Mr. Shaw's Preface to that publication; Draft letter: First copy of a letter to George Bernard Shaw.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Manuscripts.

    Related Material

    Bound Manuscripts Collection (Collection 170)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Edward Gordon Craig Papers (Collection 1006)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Rudolph Holzapfel Collection of Edward Gordon Craig Material (Collection 1482)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Dame Ellen Terry Papers (Collection 643)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Edith Craig Papers (Collection 1003)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.