Quiz: How well do you know Shaw?

As George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion hits the West End, test your knowledge of the great playwright
kara tointon pygmalion
A Shaw hit ... Kara Tointon (centre) as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion at the Garrick theatre, London. Photograph: Tristram Kenton
  1. 1.Shaw was born on 26 July 1856. His middle-class childhood in Dublin was marked by many problems, especially his father’s alcoholism. What did his mother Bessie finally do when her son was a teenager?
  2. 2.Shaw began his writing career with five novels, none of which were published until later. Which of these is not a storyline from one of them?
  3. 3.To what experience did Shaw attribute his conversion to socialism, which became the dominant focus of his writing life?
  4. 4.Seldom precious about his work, Shaw once said that a baby could have written the central speech in Mrs Warren’s Profession. Which French author did he admit stealing the story from?
  5. 5.Now rarely seen, the play that made Shaw’s name in Britain was John Bull’s Other Island, a comedy about the Irish question that premiered at the Royal Court in 1904. What rumour about the play helped make it such a hit?
  6. 6.Shaw's first financial success as a playwright came with his eighth play, The Devil’s Disciple, which was a big hit in America. What is it about?
  7. 7.The part of the flowergirl Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion was written for Shaw’s friend, the actor Mrs Patrick Campbell (née Beatrice Tanner). Why was she a strange choice?
  8. 8.Shaw was susceptible to fads. Which of the following did he not do?
  9. 9.Shaw received many honours during his lifetime, but he is still the only person in history to have achieved one particular distinction. Which is it?
  10. 10.For which of these purposes did Shaw bequeath a large sum of money in his will?


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