George Bernard Shaw

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Born to a civil servant, in Dublin 1856, George Bernard Shaw is a renowned playwright known for his controversial works which dealt with prevailing social problems of the early twentieth century. As an ardent socialist, Shaw supported of private property, radical change in the voting system, campaigned for the simplification of spelling, and the reform of the English alphabet.

Despite childhood neglect, he became one of the most prominent writers of modern Britain. Shaw grew up in a family where money was scarce, with an alcoholic of a father and a mother who left the family to follow her aspirations with the remarkable talent for music and singing. As a child, Shaw resented school and his education ended when he was merely fifteen years old. Subsequent to that decision, a friend secured him a position in the office of a Dublin land agent where he endured the drudgery of routine and figures for five years.

Although his irresponsible mother had abandoned him at an early age, before that she had introduced him to music and art and after 1876, he moved to London to continue his self-education, where she supported him for nine more years. Shaw began his journalism career as a book reviewer and art, music, and drama critic, always downgrading the artificialities and hypocrisies he found in those arts. During this period Shaw wrote five unsuccessful novels. Then, in 1884, he met William Archer, the prominent journalist and drama critic, who urged him to write plays. Shaw began writing the dialogue for a play, after Archer wrote the plot. However, it was abandoned until 1892 after Shaw used up the entire projected plot in half the play.

This was the first step in his progress towards a lifetime's work as a dramatist. In 1898, he married an Irish heiress, Charlotte Payne-Townshend, and his first successful play, Candida, was produced in the same year. He followed this up with a series of classic comedy-dramas including Pygmalion in 1913. Shaw's popularity...
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