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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.
Shaw was noted for expressing his views in uncompromising language, whether on vegetarianism (branding his own pre-vegetarian self a "cannibal"), the development of the human race (his own brand of eugenics was driven by encouragement of miscegenation and marrying across class lines), or on political questions (in spite of his own generally liberal views he was not an uncritical supporter of democracy, and is even recorded as supporting, or at least condoning, the dictators of the nineteen thirties).
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 turned down all other awards and honours, including
the offer of a knighthood.
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares it is his duty.
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." -George Bernard Shaw
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The Last but not Least
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