Life of George Bernard Shaw

  • Birth of George Bernard Shaw

    Born in Dublin, Ireland to George Carr Shaw and Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly. Has two elder siblings, Agnes and Lucy.
  • Period: to

    [Approximate Dates] Shaw attends school

    Shaw attends school until fifteen, when he decides to work jobs with mundane tasks. All the while, he maintains interest in literature and art.
  • Mrs Shaw leaves husband

    Shaw's mother leaves her husband and takes Agnes and Lucy to London. Shaw later follows.
  • Shaw moves to London

    Shaw tries to earn a living as a literary/music critic, advocating the theater of Henrik Ibsen. All the while he writes early novels. However, he struggles financially and frequently has to rely on his mother for support.
  • Publishes first novel titled 'Immaturity'

    Shaw's first novel, Immaturity, is deeply autobiographical. However, this novel and his subsequent works are regarded as failures.
  • Becomes a member of the Fabian Society

    Shaw joins a group of socialists after his literary failures. He contributes several essays to this society.
  • Publishes first play, Widower's Houses.

    Widower's Houses was notable for its unconventional treatment of romantic relationships. Shaw rejected English notions of love through satirization and caustic wit. Though critics were relatively dismissive of Widower's Houses, it laid a foundation for his future masterpieces.
  • Shaw becomes a theater critic; plays become more popular

    Shaw's reputation gradually expanded with additional publications. He was inspired by Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House during this period. All the while, Shaw initiated a relationship with actress Ellen Terry, maintaining it purely through letters.
  • Marriage to Charlotte Payne-Townshend

    Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a socialist political activist of the Fabian Society, meets Shaw after nursing him back to health. The two shared similar principles and got along amiably. They never had children.
  • Moves to Ayot St. Lawrence in Hertfordshire

    Composes new plays during this period, including Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Dilemma, and Caesar and Cleopatra. Has considerably more success in terms of both popularity and critical reception.
  • Begins an affair with actress Stella Campbell

    Despite his marriage to Payne-Townshend, the two never consummated their relationship. Campbell inspires the character of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, but her relations with Shaw lead to conflict with his wife.
  • First production of Pygmalion

    Austrians perform Pygmalion in Vienna in October of 1913 in a German translation.
  • First English production of Pygmalion

    Opens the first production in English. At the onset of WWI, Shaw also published a pamphlet containing his socialist-influenced opinions of the war. Regarded as outrageous, the work leads to London artistic circle's ostracism of Shaw.
  • Visits the war zone in France

    His visit to war-torn France would later inspire his masterpiece Saint Joan (1923). This piece details the life of Joan of Arc in Middle Ages and extends it to the present.
  • Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature

    Received prize in 1926. Awarded for works "marked by both idealism and humanity" and "stimulating satire often... infused with a singular poetic beauty."
  • Tours Russia, the US, and the Antipodes

    These travels inspire the now-seventy Shaw to write The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, The Six of Calais, and The Millionairess.
  • Outbreak of WWII

    For the entirety of this period, Shaw abstains from publishing further plays.
  • First film rendition of Pygmalion

    Shaw is adamant about allowing any cuts to the dialogue. The film stars Leslie Howard as Higgins and Wendy Hiller as Eliza.
  • Death of wife

    Charlotte Payne-Townshend dies of osteitis deformans, a chronic bone disease.
  • Writes final play, Why She Would Not

    This play remains incomplete, as Shaw only finished five of six scenes.
  • Shaw dies at the age of 94

    Suffers trauma and kidney failure after falling while attempting to prune a tree. His death leads to worldwide coverage and mourning.