George Bernard Shaw

Irish playwright, critic, and polemicist (1856–1950)

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish writer. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925.

George Bernard Shaw
Shaw in 1936
Shaw in 1936
Born(1856-07-26)26 July 1856
Dublin, Ireland
Died2 November 1950(1950-11-02) (aged 94)
Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England
OccupationPlaywright, critic, political activist
Alma materWesley College, Dublin
GenreSatire, black comedy
Literary movementIbsenism, naturalism
Notable awardsNobel Prize in Literature
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
1938 Pygmalion


His best known works are his plays, some of which were made into movies. He wrote many plays about political problems, and those plays sometimes gave him enemies. For example, he wrote a play about prostitution, and another about women's rights.

His play Saint Joan was made into a movie in 1957.

His play Pygmalion was made into a movie twice. The first Pygmalion movie won him an Academy Award for the best adapted screenplay, 1938. Later, the play was also made into a musical play called My Fair Lady. The movie based on that musical won 8 Academy Awards in 1964.

Shaw was the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award.[1]

Shaw also wrote musical criticism using the pseudonym (made-up name) Corno di Bassetto (which means: Basset horn).

In 1962, his play Androcles and the Lion was printed in a two-language version. On one side of the book, the text is written using regular English. On the other side, it is written using the Shaw alphabet.

Personal views change

Shaw was a vegetarian,[2] did not drink alcohol, and spoke strongly in favor of socialism and women's rights. He was also interested in making the English language easier to spell.[3] In his will, he left money to be used to make a new alphabet. He wanted the new alphabet to have at least 40 letters, so that each sound could be spelled with just one letter.

Shaw delivered speeches supporting the idea of eugenics (selected breeding to improve the human race) and he became a noted figure in the movement in England.[4] He sometimes exaggerated his arguments to an extreme to expose the cruelty that might come from this.[4]

References change

  1. Gibbs, A. M. (2005). Bernard Shaw: a life (pp. 375–376). Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. p. 554. ISBN 0-8130-2859-0.
  2. "Vegetarians are more intelligent, says study". Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  3. "The History of English: Spelling and Standardization (Suzanne Kemmer)". Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kevles, Daniel J. (1995). In the name of eugenics: genetics and the uses of human heredity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 86. ISBN 9780520057630. Shaw...did not spare the eugenics movement his unpredictable mockery...[he] acted the outrageous buffoon at times.