Writer Profile: George Bernard Shaw


Dates: b. 1856, d. 1950

Literary Movements: Ibsenism, Naturalism

Famous Works: Candida (1894), Caesar and Cleopatra (1898), Man and Superman (1903), Major Barbara (1905), The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906), Pygmalion (1912)

Profile: George Bernard Shaw was an Irish author and playwright who composed more than 60 plays during his illustrious lifetime. Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1856, Shaw began studying the arts as a young child under the guidance of his mother. In 1876 Shaw moved to London where his writing career commenced. Despite struggling early in his career, he eventually found his niche.

Although most notably recognized as an esteemed playwright, Shaw also published many works of journalism, essays, novels, and short stories. Heavily involved in British politics, Shaw’s oeuvre has engaged readers on social topics like education, religion, politics, and class privilege. In 1895, after the dismal rejection of many failed novels, Shaw began writing plays.

His first plays were published as a collection titled Plays Unpleasant; they were imbued with his quintessential wit and social criticism. However, no play was as famous as Shaw’s Pygmalion, published in 1912, for which George Bernard Shaw won both a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature and an Oscar Award. Remarkably, Shaw is the only person to have ever won both awards.

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