Books: From Crybaby to Curmudgeon

BERNARD SHAW: VOLUME I, 1856-1898, THE SEARCH FOR LOVE

by Michael Holroy

Random House; 486 pages; $24.95

A frustrated mama's boy who spent his life scorning family relations as unhappy when not downright unnatural. A product of a menage a trois who loathed his given name of George because he shared it with both a pathetic father and the self-styled musical genius who became his mother's lover. An eccentric who attributed ill health and body odor to cotton and linen clothing and advocated a wardrobe of unbleached woolen garments. A purported avatar of women's liberation who called himself a "philanderer" and...

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