Utopianism, History, Freedom and Nature: Shaw’s Theory of “Creative Evolution” in Saint Joan


  • Shoshana Milgram Knapp Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Anna Rita Gabellone University of Salento




independence, Joan of Arc, democracy, freedom, utopia


This paper aims to investigate some important elements of the thought of George Bernard Shaw, more commonly known as one of the most famous playwrights of the twentieth century. Shaw’s philosophy dwells on the relationship between man and nature and especially the concept of freedom. Among all his works, it was decided here to analyse Saint Joan. In re-imagining the historical Joan as a heroine in a play of ideas, Shaw made use of the known facts about Joan of Arc and Joan’s statements at her trial. Nonetheless, he made changes to emphasize her personal dignity and independence by contrast with the tyranny of institutions. Although he departed from the historical background, whitewashed her adversaries, and condensed episodes in Joan’s biography, he sought to be true to her confidence, courage, integrity, and common sense. His theatrical presentation is, in some respects, at odds with the Preface that accompanies the published play.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Knapp, S. M., & Gabellone, A. R. (2023). Utopianism, History, Freedom and Nature: Shaw’s Theory of “Creative Evolution” in Saint Joan. Rivista Italiana Di Filosofia Politica, (3), 31–56. https://doi.org/10.36253/rifp-2015



Il tema