George Bernard Shaw

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George Bernard Shaw(1856 - 1950), Irish playwright, writer, socialist propagandist, art, music and drama critic, vegetarian and total abstainer, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925.

He had an unorthodox upbringing in a musical family in Dublin. By his own account he was largely self-educated in English literature, art and political and economic theory. Following his mother and sisters to London, he took up jobbing journalistic work in music, art and drama criticism.

Shaw cared deeply about music, and was very knowledgeable, but as he wanted to be read, in his criticism he cultivated a light, irreverent style which was both amusing and provocative, only occasionally revealing his serious intentions. The rapid development of this style can be seen in his collected critical articles. He carried it over into his political writings and the prefaces to his plays. He also gave it to some of the leading characters in his plays, for instance Julius Caesar in Caesar and Cleopatra.

His best known plays are possibly The Devil's Disciple, Saint Joan, Androcles and the Lion, and Pygmalion, which was the basis for the musical My Fair Lady.

His music criticism was collected in three volumes in 1981, as Shaw's Music.