Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The eclectic nature of George Bernard Shaw is a well-known fact . As Joseph Wood Krutch points out in "Modernism" in Modern Drama, "Next to his optimism and hi s energy , the most striking thing about Shaw was his furious eclecticism. He felt no necessity to choose between the various modern prophets . He would take something from them all , and moreover he would reconcile the most disparate."1 A striking example of apparent reconciliation occurs in "If I were a Priest, " one of Shaw's last essays, in which he states, "...while calling myself a Creative Evolutionist , [I] might also call myself a Jainist Tirthankara as of eight thousand years ago."2 Jainism is a particularly rigid and aescetic offshoot of Hinduism . Shaw appended the following explanatory note to his article. "Jainism, an older religion than Buddhism, holds that their great leader Mahavira was preceded by twenty-three Tirthankaras, or saints, who have attained Nirvana, and, though without care for or influence on the world, are worshipped as gods."3