Irish playwright and novelist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born on this day in Dublin. Known for his keen intelligence and barbed wit, he influenced the culture of his time with his writing.
"I often quote myself," he said. "It adds spice to my conversation."
Self-taught because he disliked formal training, G.B.S. (he disliked his name "George," too) began as a London theatre critic, then wrote his first novel to further criticize the English stage.
He explained his reason for action: "You don't learn to hold your own in the world by standing on guard, but by attacking and getting well-hammered yourself."
His over 52 plays and pamphlets --among them, Candida (1898), Pygmalion (1912), and Saint Joan (1923)--showcase memorable characters and brilliant insights: "If you are going to tell people the truth, you'd better make them laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you."
Famous for mixing philosophy and humor, G.B.S. wrote most of his own work in shorthand. "A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned," he said.
Praised for his "rollicking gaiety," in 1925, Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity." He answered his own critics by observing, "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
More G.B. SHAW Quotations
Ingenuity + Courage + Work = MIRACLES.