Bernard Shaw (he disliked his first name George) was not a good scholar but developed a wide knowledge of music, art, and literature from his mother’s influence and his visits to the National Gallery of Ireland.
In 1876 Shaw resolved to become a writer and he joined his mother and elder sister, by then living in London. Like most creatives in their 20s, Shaw suffered continuous frustration and poverty. He depended upon his mother’s pound a week from her husband and her earnings as a music teacher.
I love a good rags-to-riches story
Shaw’s early days were spent in the British Museum reading room, writing novels and reading what he had missed at school… eventually he became an internationally known and celebrated playwright, producing more than sixty plays. His work is still performed today, the most well-known from 1912 is ‘Pygmalion’ aka ‘My Fair Lady’, and in 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
NOTE: Britannica shows a film clip of Bernard Shaw (in his 70s) speaking on the marvels of Movietone and the novelty of technology; excerpt from a Hearst Metrotone newsreel (c. 1930), (29 sec; 2.6 MB) J. Fred MacDonald & Associates.
Cesare Pavese was an Italian novelist, poet and translator, and an outspoken literary and political critic.
Not well-known outside Italy, Pavese is numbered highly among the important 20th century authors in his home country.
Born in rural Santo Stefano Belbo, he often returned to the area, enjoying the solitude away from his turbulent career and heartbroken love life. Pavese was not destined to live long, he died just before his 42 birthday.
John Milton (December 1608 – November 1674) was an English poet of the late Renaissance period. He is particularly noted for his epic poem on the fall of Satan and Adam and Eve’s ejection from the Garden of Eden ‘Paradise Lost’ which he composed in blank verse after going blind.
Allow yourself plenty of time to read this legendary poem!