“A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.”
“A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.”
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
“Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.”
“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
“Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”
“Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich--something for nothing.”
“I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”
“I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.”
“If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.”
“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”
“Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.”
“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”
“Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.”
“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”
“The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.”
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
“Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.”
“You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”
“All great truths begin as blasphemies.”
“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”
“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
“He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.”
George Bernard Shaw was born July 26, 1856. He was an Irish playwright and he co-found the London School of Economics. He was born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was George Carr Shaw, a grain merchant, and his mother was Lucinda Elizabeth Shaw, a professional singer. His sisters were Lucinda Frances and Elinor Agnes. He attended Wesley College in Dublin before moving on to a private school. He then transferred to Dublin's Central Model School. He wrote Treatise on Parents and Children enumerating his reasons for disliking formal education, school curricula and the strict regimen.
He was an avid reader and this influenced him to become a socialist and a member of the Fabian Society. The Fabian Society was a group that tried to advocate the spread of socialism due to peaceful means. He met his future wife, Charlotte Payne-Townshend, through his political activism. They married in 1898. The marriage was never consummated at Charlotte's insistence and Shaw had numerous affairs with married women. In 1897, Shaw was elected to the London County Council. He was a Progressive.
He wrote numerous novels and plays. His novels include Immaturity, The Irrational Knot, Love Among the Artists, and An Unsocial Socialist. His plays are what made him famous. Some of his plays include The Philanderer, Candida, The Devil's Disciple, Pygmalion, and Why She Would Not. The last play was unfinished as Shaw died while writing it.
Candida and Pygmalion are two of his most recognized plays. Candida is about a woman who chooses a man who needs her over a man who loves her. It is about a clergyman whose wife is being wooed by a young artist. It questions the notions of love and marriage during Shaw's time and it allowed Shaw to intersperse his own political views and the political issues of the time into the play. Pygmalion is about a woman who rose from the gutter to become a great lady. She then has some regrets as both lives have their restrictions. Pygmalion is the basis for the musical My Fair Lady. These are the two plays most often read.
Shaw, along with Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, and Graham Wallas founded the London School of Economics in 1895. Private funding was responsible for getting the school established. Shaw was also responsible for establishing the magazine New Statesman in 1913.
George Bernard Shaw died at the age of ninety-three of renal failure. His ashes were mixed with his late wife's and scattered in their garden.