George Bernard Shaw (-)

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw's attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council.

In 1898, Shaw married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a fellow Fabian, whom he survived. They settled in Ayot St Lawrence in a house now called Shaw's Corner. Shaw died there, aged 94, from chronic problems exacerbated by injuries he incurred by falling from a ladder.

He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively. Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright because he had no desire for public honours, but accepted it at his wife's behest: she considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting it be used to finance translation of Swedish books into English.


Quotes (3)

Of the three official objects of our prison system: vengeance, deterrence, and reformation of the criminal, only one is achieved; and that is the one which is nakedly abominable.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. First published in seven parts in the New York American (April 30-June 11, 1922). Crude Criminology, "Imprisonment," Doctors' Delusions, Crude Criminology, and Sham Education, Constable (1950).
The lesson intended by an author is hardly ever the lesson the world chooses to learn from his book.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. (1903). Man and Superman, epistle dedicatory, The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw: Collected Plays with their Prefaces, vol. 2, ed. Dan H. Laurence (1971).
No severity of punishment deters when detection is uncertain, as it always must be.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. First published as "Reasonable Murder," Sunday Express (May 13, 1928). Crude Criminology, "Imprisonment," Doctors' Delusions, Crude Criminology, and Sham Education, Constable (1950).

Comments (4)

Am scouring the net for a poem about a journalist who has to be funny. I think it was called I've got to be funny one line is 'The presents uncertain, the future is doubt" Not sure of the author.
Hunting for poem about how wonderful it is to have a true friend Neither having to measure words or actions But knowing that a faithful heart will keep the worth of you, the wheat And with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. Was it George Bernard Shaw.? And
Ahtesham afroz khan