- Slides: 27
(George) Bernard Shaw (1856 -1950)
Bernard Shaw l Shaw hated his first name, George. l No one personally or professionally called him George. l Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1856 to Poor Protestant parents
Family Life l His father drank heavily. l Therefore: Shaw becomes a Teetotaller (no alcohol) l Shaw's embarrassing alcoholic father claimed to be descended from Macduff, the slayer of Macbeth.
… l Shaw and siblings (2 sisters) grow up in the care of others. l Father dies in 1885 = none of his children or his wife attends funeral.
… l When 16, his family broke up: l Mother moved to London with her daughter for opportunities in music l Scandalous! l They set up their home with mother’s vocal teacher
… l Shaw moves in with his mother and sister in London during the 1870 s l He continues to live off of his mother until he marries
Education l Educated at Wesley College. l Wanders around London, educating himself at the British Museum
Beginning Life in London l First few years: writes 6 novels, only one published l Becomes music critic on the Star newspaper. l 1895, he becomes the drama critic of the Saturday Review
Set Beliefs … l 1882: hears a lecture by the American political theorist Henry George l Rest of his life he is deeply involved in efforts to alter British society through the peaceful redistribution of wealth
l Shaw supported abolition of private property, radical change in the voting system, campaigned for the simplification of spelling, and the reform of the English alphabet.
… l Served as a local councilor in the St. Pancras district of London for several years from 1897 l He was a noted socialist in the Fabian Society
Happily Ever After? l 1898: Marries Charlotte Payne Townshend l AND he finally moves out of his mother’s home l At the age of 42 …
Bernard and Charlotte Quiet Days at home …
… l Bernard and Charlotte stay together until Charlotte’s death in 1943. l It is said that their marriage was never consummated.
Mrs. Patrick Campbell l Widow and actress which he carried on a passionate correspondence over several years through his marriage l Shaw even writes the play Pygmalion in 1912 for her
Beatrice Stella Campbell Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle
Shaw’s Plays l Shaw’s plays pushed the envelope with his controversial opinions within his plays l Example: Widowers’ Houses = about slum landlords; Mrs. Warren’s Profession = discussion about prostitution.
… l Many plays were refused performance licenses by the official censor because of their content l Shaw begins to publish his play texts; at this time, a very uncommon practice.
l In the books, he writes long prefaces and epilogues where he discusses his opinions further. l Shaw believed that modern plays should contain the traditional plot conflict and its resolution as well as a consideration of important problems and suggestions for their resolution
… l 1925, Shaw is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature l He accepts the honor but refuses the money
Into the Movies l l l 1938, Shaw writes the screenplay for Pygmalion Shaw becomes the first and only man ever to win the Nobel Prize for literature and an Academy Award Shaw wrote the part of Eliza in Pygmalion for the famous actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell
Death l In 1950, Shaw fell off a ladder while trimming a tree on his property at Ayot St. Lawrence in Hertfordshire, outside of London, and died a few days later of complications from the injury, at age 94
l “He was a hypochondriac, socialist, anti-vaccinationist, semi-feminist vegetarian who believed in the Life Force and only wore wool”
After Death l 1956: Pygmalion is adapted into a musical, My Fair Lady. (Movie 1964)
More Information ? l l l BBC. Shaw Audio Interview. Available Online: http: //www. bbc. co. uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/shaw g 1. shtml Online Brittanica. Nobel Prize Audio Clips. Available Online: http: //www. britannica. com/nobel/ind_av. html Sparknotes. Pygmalion, Study Guide. Available Online: http: //www. sparknotes. com/lit/pygmalion/context. html Holt, Rinehart & Winston. “Drama: Bernard Shaw (1856 -1950). ” Elements of Literature. New York: New York. 1989. Pgs. 11461147. Scott, Foresman & Co. “Biography: Bernard Shaw. ” England in Literature. Illinois: Chicago. 1989. Pg. 643.