George Bernard Shaw – Irish Playwright, critic, activist, economist, essayist, novelist, was born on this day, July 26, 1856 in Dublin. He was co-founder of the London School of Economics, was the only person to have won a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award, is probably best known as the author of Pygmalion which became the premise for the musical My Fair Lady and was a social critic as well as vegetarian and Socialist. He died in November of 1950, leaving behind a rich legacy that has been studied, preserved and discussed ever since.
1956 was his Centenary – and media outlets were celebrating his birth all during the week of July 26. NBC Radio, as part of its New World series via the weekend service Monitor, hosted a discussion of Shaw by one of his friends and associates, Political Scientist Herman Finer.
Finer had known and worked with Shaw since 1923 and provides interesting insights into the Man and his legacy, not only as a figure notable in so many areas of the arts and politics, but also as a person. Shaw’s activism stressed equality during a time when class-consciousness was at an all-time high – he called for Britain to be one of the first western countries to recognize the Soviet Union and was a vigorous rebel against Victorian respectability at the time and that was just a small part of who he was.
These insights into the life and work of George Bernard Shaw probably mean nothing if you aren’t familiar with Shaw or his writing.
So – have a look around – click on any one of a number of websites devoted to his work and get an idea of who the man was, who often went by the initials GBS.
If you are familiar – this will give you added insights as to who Shaw was on a personal level. And it may prompt you to grab any of his books, plays or criticisms as a reminder of who we had, roaming the earth early in the last century.
In any case, here is an interview with Herman Finer on the life of George Bernard Shaw, as it was first broadcast during the centennial week in 1956 over NBC Radio.