History

Bernard Shaw was one of the greatest playwrights of all time © LSE

Bernard Shaw was one of the greatest playwrights of all time

Shaw of Shaw's Corner

Shaw on Shaw

Shaw was a keen photographer as well as a writer © LSE/Society of Authors

Shaw was a keen photographer as well as a writer

  • 'My speciality is being right when other people are wrong.' You Never Can Tell, Act IV, 1896
  • 'I have advertised myself so well that I find myself, whilst still in middle life, almost as legendary a person as the flying dutchman.' Three Plays for Puritans, 1900
  • 'I am of the true Shakespearian type: I understand everything and everybody, and am nobody and nothing.' Letter to Frank Harris, 1930

In the playwright's own words...

Pygmalion performed by Michael Friend productions at Shaw's Corner © Lizzie Dunford

Pygmalion performed by Michael Friend productions at Shaw's Corner

  • 'I don't want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.' Pygmalion, Act II, 1913
  • 'The fickleness of the women I love is equalled only by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.' The Philanderer, Act IV, 1893
  • 'PICKERING: Have you no morals, man? DOOLITTLE: Can't afford them, Governor.' Pygmalion, Act II, 1913

Charlotte Shaw

Bernard Shaw had evaded the clutches of many women before he eventually married the passionate and intelligent Irish heiress and fellow Fabian, Charlotte Payne-Townsend, in 1898.

The Shaws at Shaw's Corner

Bernard and Charlotte Shaw moved to what was then the very new New Rectory of Ayot St Lawrence in the autumn of 1906. They always kept a flat in London, but were to first rent, and then purchase Shaw's Corner in 1920.

Circle of friends

Shaw was active in public life for over 70 years. During that time, he came to know a great many famous and influential people, from William Morris to Danny Kaye, H.G. Wells to Einstein, Nancy Astor and Marie Stopes.

Shaw in facts and figures

  • Wrote 52 plays
  • Five novels
  • Three volumes of music criticism (regarded as the best of all time)
  • Three volumes of theatre criticism
  • Over 250,000 letters
  • Nobel Prize for Literature, 1926
  • Oscar for Best Screenplay for Pygmalion, 1938
  • Lived to the age of 94

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