Arms and the Man and John Bull’s Other Island

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George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) is revered as one of the great British dramatists, credited not only with memorable works, but the revival of the then-suffering English theatre. Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland, left mostly to his own devices after his mother ran off to London to pursue a musical career. He educated himself for the most part, and eventually worked for a real estate agent. This experience founded in him a concern for social injustices, seeing poverty and general unfairness afoot, and would go on to address this in many of his works. In 1876, Shaw joined his mother in London where he would finally attain literary success. Though written in his typical comedic fashion, John Bull's Other Island was the only play Shaw wrote that took place in Ireland, his birthplace. The play illustrates interest in both Irish and English cultures, and was received very well by critics. It is the story of two civil engineers: Larry Doyle, an Irishman who has turned his back on his heritage to fit in with English society and his business partner, Englishman Tom Broadbent.

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