An Unsocial Socialist by Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was a master of the satire, and he used his pen as a knife to cut through the bejeweled ribbons of a class structure that he found to be both unsustainable and at the pinnacle of it’s success.
In this work, he elucidates the concepts of socialism far better than any of the actual proponents of the philosophy did, and yet also showed the relative difficulties in ridding society of the evils of rampant capitalism.
Sidney Trefusis, son and heir to a cotton merchant, despises the world of class and privilege he was born into and takes up the socialist cause. Deserting his wife of six weeks, he poses as a laborer and-once rumbled in that guise-as a gentleman agitator for the socialist cause. But chief among his people to reform and convert are the society women in his circle who are simply expected to be unthinking adornments to their husbands who offer “Class” and “Good breeding” to atone for the vapid life they offer. If women can be made to wake up to their condition, surely the socialist cause will advance far quicker!
All in all, ‘An Unsocial Socialist’ is a bit of a quaint curiosity now as far as the politics goes, but it still stands up as a beacon for the feminist cause and the role of women in society. It also gives a useful window to look into and see the winds for social change that were blowing in to Victorian Britain and the world in general.