George Bernard Shaw
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1925
Born: 26 July 1856, Dublin, Ireland
Died: 2 November 1950, Ayot St. Lawrence, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”
George Bernard Shaw received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1926.
Prize share: 1/1
George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. After working as a real estate agent, he moved to London at the age of 20. Before he became established as a leading music and literary critic, five of his novels had been rejected. He belonged to the Fabian Society, a socialist thinktank whose members included the author Virginia Woolf. At the same time, he advocated racial biology and made positive statements about Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.
George Bernard Shaw, the commentator and theatre critic, became an author to illustrate his criticisms of contemporary British theater. He made his debut with Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (1898) and asserted that art should be didactic and discuss social issues. Shaw’s plays are characterized by satire, provocation and allegories. He wrote more than 60 plays, of which Pygmalion (1912) is best remembered today. Shaw propounded the idea of “creative evolution,” a kind of racial biology that did not recognize the equal worth of individuals.
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