Monday, June 30, 2008

My Town Monday - George Bernard Shaw

I must say that until I started to take part in My Town Monday - Thanks Travis!!! I had no idea that my town and surrounding area was such rich source of authors of lots of different genres!!
This week I am going to tell you about a rather famous man George Bernard Shaw.

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was born in Dublin on the 26th of July 1856. Shaw's first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, his talent was for drama, and during his career he wrote more than sixty plays. Nearly all of his writings deal sternly with prevailing social problems, but are lightened by a vein of comedy to make their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege and found them all defective, but he was more upset about the by the exploitation of the working class; his writings seldom fail to censure that abuse. 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 political rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthful lifestyles.
Shaw married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a fellow Fabian, whom he survived. They made their home in Ayot St. Lawrence in a house now called Shaw's Corner. GBS spent a lot of his time writing in a revolutionary for the time, revolving shed, which he moved around to follow the sun. He named this shed 'London' so that his staff could tell any unwelcome visitors to his home that he was working in the capital!!
Shaw died there, aged 94, from chronic problems exacerbated by injuries he incurred by falling while pruning a tree in his garden.
He is the only person to have been awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). These were for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion, respectively. Shaw would have refused his Nobel Prize outright, because he had no desire for public honors, 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 to English.
For those of you who haven't made the connection, Pygmalion is better known as the film 'My Fair Lady' Nowadays the house and land is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. For my part I have been there several times and the gardens in the summer are absolutely beautiful.


debra said...

I had no idea that Shaw received an Oscar and the Nobel prize. Interesting post.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A few hours from here on Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, they have a Shaw Festival every summer all summer long. They do a couple of his plays and plays from the period. It's a beautiful town, fit for such a writer.

Travis Erwin said...

Interesting post. I never knew much about the man until now.

LuLu said...

As always - a font of knowledge. Brilliant man and he wrote some brilliant plays. My favourite has to be The Doctors Dilema.

I am really into his book, Heartbreak House, as Luke is studying WW1 and the literature of that time.

Have to say that I didn't realise that he reached the fabulous age of 94! and to be still so active - pruning trees. What a guy.

Great post and can't for the next one.

suebaru said...

I went to Shawas Corner a couple of years back,and it really is lovely :)

Manna said...

What a great read! Thanks for the interesting article!

Debbielou said...

I love Pygmallion - have been past his place several times but have never been in - must visit it !

Maureen said...

fabulous!! you have such great info on your monday's - I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts!!!

suzann said...

Very interesting! GBS winning the Nobel prize and Oscar is a great trivia question!