Shaw, born in Dublin in 1856, was essentially shy, yet created
the persona of G.B.S., the showman, controversialist, satirist,
critic, pundit, wit, intellectual buffoon and dramatist. Commentators
brought a new adjective into the English language: Shavian, a
term used to embody all his brilliant qualities.
After his arrival in London in 1876 he became an active Socialist
and a brilliant platform speaker. He wrote on many social aspects
of the day: on Commonsense about the War (1914), How
to Settle the Irish Question (1917), and The Intelligent
Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928). He undertook
his own education at the British Museum and consequently became
keenly interested in cultural subjects. Thus his prolific output
included music, art and theatre reviews which were collected
into several volumes: Music In London 1890-1894 (3 vols.,
1931); Pen Portraits and Reviews (1931); and Our Theatres
in the Nineties (3 vols., 1931). He wrote five novels and
some shorter fiction including The Black Girl in Search of
God and some Lesser Tales and Cashel Byron's Profession.
He conducted a strong attack on the London theatre and was
closely associated with the intellectual revival of British theatre.
His many plays fall into several categories: 'Plays Pleasant';
'Plays Unpleasant'; comedies, chronicle-plays, 'metabiological
Pentateuch' (Back to Methuselah, a series of plays) and
'political extravaganzas'. G.B.S. died in 1950.