Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joke Written by George Bernard Shaw about William Morris Unearthed after 79 Years

BBC News reported yesterday that a researcher has discovered a joke written by playwright George Bernard Shaw in honour of the opening in 1930 of the Hall at William Morris House in Wimbledon. The joke was found written in Shaw's hand on a photograph of himself, and reads as follows:

"William Morris and I preached the gospel of Labour together on many occasions.

"Many respectable persons thought we deserved hanging. I am proud to hang in a hall dedicated to him."

The note was discovered by researcher Peter Walker in a cupboard among the archives of the Wimbledon Labour Party. Walker noted that, "[t]he discovery of this original picture and handwritten joke by one of our greatest playwrights is very exciting."

It's interesting to see that Shaw seems to have had fond memories of Morris. I always knew that they shared similar political views, but they seem to have had a long history together. Both men started as members of the Social Democratic Foundation (SDF), and they actually started the Socialist League together in 1885, together with Eleanor Marx. Small world!


Hermes said...

What a great find, and such a polite joke for GBS.

Margaret said...

Yeah, the joke is rather tame. I was a bit disappointed!

lotusgreen said...

oh that joke is baaaad :^)

and thanks for it, and the background.

the connections are so interesting.

Margaret said...

Yeah, a bit lame, but isn't it neat to see how closely connected these people were? It amazes me how often my favourite writers and artists actually knew each other or were very closely connected (i.e., William Morris was one of C.S. Lewis' favourite writers!).