Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26 - George Bernard Shaw

Playwright, journalist and socialist George Bernard Shaw was born July 26, 1856, in Dublin, Ireland. In 1876 he moved to London, where he became a theater and music critic and, in the 1890s, found his greatest strength in writing plays. As a member of the Fabian Society, he articulated many of the group’s socialist principles, which focused on social change through gradualist and reformist means rather than revolution. In 1895 he founded the London School of Economics with other Fabians. Of his 63 plays, the most famous is “Pygmalion” (1912), based on the Greek myth of a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. The social rise of Shaw’s Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, provides a dramatic send-up of “proper” British society and its class system, coupled with sharp commentary on the role and independence of women. Shaw won an Academy Award for the screenplay of the 1938 movie version of the play. Much of his witty dialogue remained intact in the 1956 Broadway musical version of the play, “My Fair Lady.”

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