Dr Siân Adiseshiah: Ageing, Utopia and G.B. Shaw’s Back to Methuselah

Rowcroft, Andrew and Adiseshiah, Sian (2017) Dr Siân Adiseshiah: Ageing, Utopia and G.B. Shaw’s Back to Methuselah. [Event, Show or Exhibition]

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Item Type:Event, Show or Exhibition
Item Status:Live Archive


George Bernard Shaw’s five-part play, Back to Methuselah (1921), presents an epic expanse of time: from the beginnings of Creation with Adam and Eve in Part One to the year 31,920 – ‘As far as Thought Can Reach’ – in Part Five. The utopian worlds of Parts Four and Five come about through extended life, which is considered key to creating the long-term vision deemed central to establishing the good life. In this paper, I examine the relationship between ageing and utopianism in Back to Methuselah. The play – in common with most utopian drama – has been neglected by Utopian Studies scholarship, and part of my attention is on what I consider to be the play’s disruption of dominant definitional ways in which mainstream Utopian Studies scholarship establishes the literary utopia. This paper sketches out preliminary responses to two main questions: What is the significance of Shaw’s alignment of utopian possibility with longevity? And why has Back to Methuselah been neglected by Utopian Studies scholarship?

Keywords:Marxism and literature, utopian theatre
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V271 International History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V141 Modern History 1500-1599
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:27679
Deposited On:16 Jun 2017 11:07

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