George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw's attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.
He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. 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 rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council.
In 1898, Shaw married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a fellow Fabian, whom he survived. They settled in Ayot St Lawrence in a house now called Shaw's Corner. Shaw died there, aged 94, from chronic problems exacerbated by injuries he incurred by falling from a ladder.
He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively. Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright because he had no desire for public honours, 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 into English.
Langford Reed Saved The Limerick Verse
Langford Reed saved the limerick verse,
From being taken away in a hearse.
He made it so clean
Now it's fit for a queen,
Re-established for better or worse.
We must reform society before we can reform ourselves.
Only where there is pecuniary equality can the distinction of merit stand out.
He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.
Every dream is a prophecy: every jest is an earnest in the womb of Time.
A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell.
You must not suppose, because I am a man of letters, that I never tried to earn an honest living.
There are two things necessary to Salvation.... Money and gunpowder.
Reminiscences make one feel so deliciously aged and sad.
There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.
Man can climb to the highest summits; but he cannot dwell there long.
What right has any human being to talk of bringing up a child? You do not bring up a tree or a plant. It brings itself up. You have to give it a fair chance by tilling the soil.
Martyrdom ... is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.
Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn't really hurt.
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
The only way for a woman to provide for herself decently is for her to be good to some man that can afford to be good to her.
Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farm-yard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves and that men and women are not so completely enslaved as farm stock.
A contract for better for worse is a contract that should not be tolerated.
What is any respectable girl brought up to do but to catch some rich man's fancy and get the benefit of his money by marrying him?—as if a marriage ceremony could make any difference in the right or wrong of the thing!
There is a disease to which plays as well as men become liable with advancing years. In men it is called doting, in plays dating. The more topical the play the more it dates.
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income.
I do not, like the Fundamentalists, believe that creation stopped six thousand years ago after a week of hard work. Creation is going on all the time.
The more reasonable a student was in mathematics, the more unreasonable she was in the affairs of real life, concerning which few trustworthy postulates have yet been ascertained.
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
Those who do not know how to live must make a merit of dying.
Hypocrisy ... is only bad when it is improperly used.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
The domestic career is no more natural to all women than the military career is natural to all men.
At all events, as she, Ulster, cannot have the status quo, nothing remains for her but complete union or the most extreme form of Home Rule; that is, separation from both England and Ireland.
Faith in reason as a prime motor is no longer the criterion of the sound mind, any more than faith in the Bible is the criterion of righteous intention.
Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.
Religion is a great force: the only real motive force in the world; but what you fellows don't understand is that you must get at a man through his own religion and not through yours.
You'll never have a quiet world til you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
The doctor learns that if he gets ahead of the superstitions of his patients he is a ruined man; and the result is that he instinctively takes care not to get ahead of them.
I can't talk religion to a man with bodily hunger in his eyes.
Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences may be serious.
The British blockade won the war; but the wonder is that the British blockhead did not lose it. I suppose the enemy was no wiser. War is not a sharpener of wits.
Laws, religions, creeds, and systems of ethics, instead of making society better than its best unit, make it worse than its average unit, because they are never up to date.
If parents would only realize how they bore their children!
The weakness of the man who, when his theory works out into a flagrant contradiction of the facts, concludes "So much the worse for the facts: let them be altered," instead of "So much the worse for my theory."
Better see rightly on a pound a week than squint on a million.
A country where every citizen is free to suppress liberty.
Whenever I see the word Operation, especially Trifling Operation, I at once write off the patient as dead.
I must ... warn my readers that my attacks are directed against themselves, not against my stage figures.
I believe in Michael Angelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed.
It's a dangerous thing to be married right up to the hilt, like my daughter's husband. The man is at home all day, like a damned soul in hell.
I have to get your room ready for you: to sweep and dust, to fetch and carry. How could that degrade me if it did not degrade you to have it done for you?
Until the men of action clear out the talkers we who have social consciences are at the mercy of those who have none.
A book is like a child: it is easier to bring it into the world than to control it when it is launched there.
I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.
There is the eternal war between those who are in the world for what they can get out of it and those who are in the world to make it a better place for everybody to live in.