George Bernard Shaw

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George Bernard Shaw.

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright, literary critic, and political activist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. He has been considered the greatest British dramatist since Shakespeare, possibly in part due to having leftist views.

His most popular play is Pygmalion, which has been filmed many times, also adapted as the very popular musical My Fair Lady, revived several times. One theme is criticism of class divisions, with a lower class girl learning the speech and manners of a higher class. Recent productions may be about immigration and race instead of traditional classes, supporting a blank slate view.

He was involved in the socialist Fabian Society. Later, he is stated to have become more authoritarian, expressed certain admiration for both Mussolini and Hitler, but more so for Stalin, whose regime he championed uncritically throughout the 1930s. He criticized anti-Semitism and racism.

He is claimed to have supported eugenics, a popular view during some parts of his life, but he may have mainly opposed marriages based on wealth and status, claiming that this would cause eugenic effects. Other supposedly eugenic statements on exterminations of the useless may have been jokes or support for Stalin's persecutions.

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