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Shaw was born in Dublin, on the 26th of July 1856 of a middle-class family. He attended school which he hated and which he remembered as a "boy prison". He went to school as a "day boy" which meant that he had his afternoons free. Shaw used to say that he had hated his time at school as it had not taught him anything. And at home there was music - always music. His mother had a beautiful voice, he himself and his sisters could sing well enough and there were, besides the piano, many other musi­cal instruments always lying about. The front sitting-room was seldom silent in the evening -and music came to play an impor­tant educative part in young Shaw's life.

Suddenly a new figure appeared in the family - Mr. Lee, a professional music master. His appearance at Shaw's house was due to the fact that Mrs. Shaw had gone to him to have her voice trained. Since the day of his coming nothing counted ex­cept music. Young George Bernard took part in all the musical activities, though he had never been trained before.

By the time he was fifteen two important events had happened. Mrs. Shaw had gone to London where she decided to earn a living by teaching singing; George Bernard had finished his schooling and got his first job. The job he had been given was that of a clerk in an office. The world that the new clerk found there was to him as alarming as it was strange. The monotonous daily routine, the endless figures and forms, the feeling that he bad become an insignificant part of a machine, all that alarmed the youth. In many things he was better informed than most of his fellow clerks. Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley and many other great poets and writers had been read and re-read by him. He could discuss art, for he had studied the best works at the Ireland National Gallery. And when it came to music he could, of course, leave them all far behind. At his job he was quite efficient and his starting salary had increased by the time he was nine­teen to £ 80 a year. He had mastered the problems of his work without any difficulty. Yet he was far from being happy. Though the office was not such a "prison" as his school, but a prison it was for all that. Shaw felt that he had to leave. So in 1876 he said good-bye to Ireland and went to London where he became a journalist and wrote music and dramatic critiques for various periodicals.

George Bernard Shaw started his literary work with a few novels which had little success and in 1892 turned to dramatic writing. Shaw had an easy command of wit in all its forms. He loved the Russian drama and with a few English writers and ac­tors of his time brought the plays by Chekhov, Gorky and Tolstoy onto the English stage.

George Bernard Shaw is widely popular and beloved all over the world.


to earn a living - зарабатывать на жизнь

80 pounds a year - 80 фунтов стерлингов в год

for all that - тем не менее, несмотря на все ото

had an easy command of wit - обладал остроумием

to be a success - пользоваться успехом


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