The Theatre: Shaw's Vampire

"Stella,

"... I hope you have lost your good looks; for while they last any fool can adore you, and the adoration of fools is bad for the soul. No: give me a ruined complexion and a lost figure and sixteen chins. . . . Then you shall see me come out strong." So wrote, not perverse Jonathan Swift to his 18th-Century Stella, but moonstruck, middle-aged George Bernard Shaw to the lovely Mrs. Patrick Campbell. Year after year, in a stream extending from the '90s till long after the war, the most merciless of scoffers wrote the lady the most extravagant...

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