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.
Shaw was a very witty satirist who loved to present people with the absurdity of their conventional way of thinking. His satires range widely over such subjects as heroism in war, physicians and their power over life and death, religion, the battle of the sexes, education, and heaven and hell.
Self-taught because he disliked formal training, G.B.S. (he disliked his name "George," too) began as a London theatre critic, then wrote his first novel to further criticize the English stage [...] In 1925, Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature and answered his own critics by observing, "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
George Bernard Shaw was an active amateur photographer from at least 1898, the date of his first surviving negative. Shaw was a pioneer of photography as a serious art form: reviewing exhibitions and writing widely on the topic. [...] His photographs document a prolific literary and political life offering glimpses into Shaw's inner world. Shaw's images are almost endless in their subject coverage: from changes in fashions to portraits of the 1860s, from architecture to education; and their personas, from Vivien Leigh and Mrs Patrick Campbell to Sidney and Beatrice Webb.
Long before his writing made him rich, Shaw's money problems were solved by marrying [an] Irish heiress in 1898.
[Michael Holroyd, a G.S.B. biographer] enjoyed bringing out Shaw's humour, his hidden generosity and outstanding deficiency in mechanical matters – such as controlling his typewriter, his bicycle and his cars – all of which humanised the public figure who had come to exist in many people's imagination as a remote Superman.
Between 1880 and 1914 Shaw wrote four novels and 23 plays with prefaces. Most reflect a preoccupation with, and a wish to improve, the position of women in contemporary society. He wrote about the sexual oppression experienced by married women and in favour of the right of unmarried women to have sexual experience and to have children. He pointed to poverty as the root cause of prostitution and favoured the state provision of childcare to enable women to work.
Bernard Shaw wrote an immense amount […]. He wrote novels, criticisms and many essays and articles on politics and other subjects as well as plays by which he is best known and which, during his lifetime and since his death, constitute his greatest claim to our interest.
More than any other of these Anglo-Irish playwrights [Shaw] was acutely aware of being in suspension between two cultural identities [Irish and English]. It is the subject of John Bull's Other Island which Shaw wrote for an Irish audience as a corrective to relations between the two countries but also as a way of balancing, at times precariously, his own disjointed selves.... The bulk of [Shaw's] comedies are technically conservative to the point of forming an anthology of conventions out of the tradition. Shaw's use of traditional comedy, however, is a brave attempt to urge it into the modern world by investing it with interesting ideas. The problem, in so many of Shaw's plays, is that the tiredness of that tradition shows through despite the articulation, the mischief and the commonsense.
At twenty-six, influenced by Henry George, Shaw became a Socialist; he says also that the reading of Marx was the turning point in his career. He was one of the original members of the Fabian Society which was organized in England in 1884.
SHAW, (GEORGE) BERNARD July 26, 1856-Nov. 2, 1950 Irish-born playwright, wit, and critic; author of Fabian tracts and books on socialism, including The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism; established his reputation with sympathetic criticism of paintings of Whistler and of the impressionist school, of the music of Wagner, and of the drama of ideas; among his plays are Candida, The Devil's Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Pygmalion, Back to Methuselah, Saint Joan, several of which have been presented in motion pictures; awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1925.
In his works, Shaw criticized almost everything identifiable with English society. He was critical of the English participation on World War I […] and was sympathetic to the Irish 1916 rebellion. His writing also criticizes the failures of capitalism. […] Despite his many criticism of life around him, Shaw believed in a natural man who could improve himself by means of correct social awareness combined with the energy Shaw thought emanated from a universal Life Force.