FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART THE BEATLES Part 87 George Bernard Shaw Part B “Why was Shaw on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S?” Featured Photographer is Henry Grossman

In my last post I demonstrated that George Bernard Shaw was a vocal communist and that probably had a lot to do with his inclusion on the cover of SGT PEPPER’S but today I will look more into more this great playwright’s views. Did you know that Shaw wrote the play that MY FAIR LADY was based on? Did you know that George Bernard Shaw was a dedicated humanist too.


Monday, May 23, 2011

About the Cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The old Beatles are at left side, standing graveside, mourning their death.  Legend is this signified when the Beatles realized they could no longer tour and play live dates.  The crowds were too large, the noise was too great even for them to hear themselves playing, and the crazies and stalkers were rearing up.

So from this point forward, the new Beatles – shown front and center in their Sgt. Peppers regalia – became a studio band, safely nestled away in the Abbey Road studios.

Another reason for their departure from the stage.  By 1967, the Beatles were creating music that was so electronically complex for the time it could not be reproduced live using the technology of the day.

This was the advent of post-production effects.  For example, the rising orchestra-glissando and final chord for “Day In The Life” was produced by all 4 Beatles and George Martin banging on 3 pianos simultaneously. As the sound diminished, the recording engineer boosted to faders. The resulting note lasts 42 seconds, and the studio air conditioners can be heard toward the end as the faders were pushed to the limit to record it.

The rising orchestra-glissando and the thundering sound are reminiscent of “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Richard Wagner’s opera “Das Rheingold,” where after the rising glissando, Thor beats with his hammer. George Martin said in his 1979 book All You Need is Earsthat the glissando was Lennon’s idea. After Lennon’s death, Martin seems to have changed his mind. In his 1995 book Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt. Pepper, he states that the rising orchestra-glissando was McCartney’s idea. (thanks to Johan Cavalli, who is a music historian in Stockholm).

This album cover was created by Jann Haworth and Peter Blake. They won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts in 1968 for their work on this cover.

The celebrities and items featured on the front cover are (by row, left to right):

Top row:

Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
Aleister Crowley (occultist)
Mae West (actress)
Lenny Bruce (comedian)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
Carl Gustav Jung (psychiatrist)
Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
Richard Merkin (artist)
The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
Huntz Hall (actor)
Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row:

Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
Aldous Huxley (writer)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Terry Southern (writer)
Dion (singer)
Tony Curtis (actor)
Wallace Berman (artist)
Tommy Handley (comedian)
Marilyn Monroe (actress)
William S. Burroughs (writer)
Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
Richard Lindner (artist)
Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
Karl Marx (political philosopher)
H. G. Wells (writer)
Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist) – barely visible below Bob Dylan
Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)

Third row:

Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)
Max Miller (comedian)
A “Petty Girl” (by artist George Petty)
Marlon Brando (actor)
Tom Mix (actor)
Oscar Wilde (writer)
Tyrone Power (actor)
Larry Bell (artist)
Dr. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
Stephen Crane (writer) – barely visible between Issy Bonn’s head and raised arm
Issy Bonn (comedian)
H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
Albert Stubbins (football player)
Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
Lewis Carroll (writer)
T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”)

Front row:

Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
A “Petty Girl” (by George Petty)
Wax model of George Harrison
Wax model of John Lennon
Shirley Temple (child actress) – barely visible, first of three appearances on the cover
Wax model of Ringo Starr
Wax model of Paul McCartney
Albert Einstein (physicist) – largely obscured
John Lennon holding a Wagner Tuba
Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
Paul McCartney holding a Cor Anglais
George Harrison holding a flute
Bobby Breen (singer)
Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
An American legionnaire[1]
Diana Dors (actress)
Shirley Temple (child actress) – second appearance on the cover

마이 페어 레이디(My Fair Lady) 1964

The Beatles in Texas (1964)

Within You Without You- The Beatles

Below is a portion of an article from the British Humanist Association who claims that George Bernard Shaw put forth their views in his writings and I tend to agree with that assessment although I do not agree with that worldview.

How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin Part 2/4

20th Century Humanism

The Twentieth Century – A Scientific and Secular Age


The twentieth century saw a revulsion against war, partly because of the horrors of the first and second World Wars, and partly because the mass media make us aware of atrocities and suffering all over the world. Both world wars, and especially the Nazi genocide against the Jews, made many question their faith in a loving god. We still have wars and the threats of war, but the United Nations exists to encourage negotiation and resolution of conflict by other means, and to police international law on the conduct of war and on human rights. Generally, there has been greater awareness and spread of human rights and democracy in the twentieth century.

Because of their belief that this world is the only one we have and that human problems can only be solved by humans, humanists have often been very active social reformers. The early Ethical Societies set up Neighbourhood Guilds to undertake social and educational work in city slums, where it was much needed in the days before a welfare state. Most humanists believe in democracy, open government and human rights, and support action on world poverty and the environment. Some were and are pacifists, and many are active in charities and politics. Ethical societies came together as the Ethical Union, which in the 1960s became the British Humanist Association, its first director being Harold Blackham and its first President Julian Huxley. The English social scientist and academic, and founder member of the British Humanist Association, Baroness Barbara Wootton (1897-1988) became the first woman to chair the proceedings of the House of Lords. She always spoke up for humanist causes, especially on social policy.

Religion and Philosophy

The twentieth century saw a decline in religious belief and an increase in secularisation in the developed world. Fewer people in Europe are actively religious and people are free to declare their disbelief in gods with little fear of reprisal or social disadvantage. Mobile populations and the mass media have made most parts of the world aware of a range of belief systems, and more liberal attitudes mean that people often feel free to choose a philosophy for themselves. The growth of studies such as anthropology, pioneered in Sir James Frazer’s exhaustive collection of myths and customs, showed religions as natural human creations, and encouraged a more tolerant attitude towards other cultures.

Few Christian intellectuals nowadays defend the literal truth of the Bible, but focus instead on its metaphorical truth and the exemplary life of Jesus. Religious beliefs have tended to evolve, casting some doubt in the minds of sceptics about what exactly Christians believe these days, or what they mean by “truth” or “God”. Theologians such as Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45), William James (1842-1910) and Paul Tillich (1886-1965), and developments such as liberation theology and the ideas of the Sea of Faith group, have done much to liberate academic Christian theology from religious dogma and to integrate secular and scientific ideas into Christianity. Many humanists today see little point in attacking beliefs that are no longer held except by a tiny minority of people.

On the other hand, there is still much popular conventional belief and there is a growing trend towards new religions and ideas, many of which are little more than superstition, and some of which are dangerous. In some countries there has been a growth in religious fundamentalism. Religion is still given special status and privileges in most countries, and non-religious people have often had to organise and campaign for their views to be heard.

Most twentieth century philosophers have worked on the assumption that morality is independent of religious faith e.g Sir Karl Popper, A J AyerG E Moore, Mary Warnock, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Wallace Matson, Antony Flew, Peter Singer, though it was still possible to cause a scandal in Britain by suggesting, as did Margaret Knight in a radio talk in the late 1950s, that morality and religion could usefully be separated.

The Arts

Despite continued laws against blasphemy, artists and intellectuals have increasingly challenged religious privilege and conventions. In the first half of this century, the Bloomsbury Group (which included J M Keynes, Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Leonard Woolf, E M ForsterBetrand Russell) were an influential group of writers, academics and artists, who were heavily influenced by the ethical theories of G E Moore, which stressed the values of friendship and aesthetic experience. Writers such as Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, H G Wells, and Joseph Conrad, were well-known free-thinkers and the novelist Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was an Honorary Associate of the Rationalist Press Association from 1916.

My Fair Lady “Why Can’t the English Learn to Speak”

 Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album really did look at every potential answer to meaning in life and to as many people as the Beatles could imagine had the answers to life’s big questions. One of the persons on the cover did have access to those answers and I am saving that person for last in this series on the Beatles. 

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

In this article below Francis Schaeffer tells how men such as George Bernard Shaw saw that there were two competing worldviews (Humanism and Christianity) and they sought to do away with the traditional view of truth and morality.

The Abolition of Truth and Morality – Francis A. Schaeffer

June 24, 2010

The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.

They have very gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally abortion. But they have not seen this as a totality — each thing being a part, a symptom, of a much larger problem. They have failed to see that all of this has come about due to a shift in world view — that is, through a fundamental change in the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole. This shift has been away from a world view that was at least vaguely Christian in people’s memory (even if they were not individually Christian) toward something completely different — toward a world view based upon the idea that the final reality is impersonal matter or energy shaped into its present form by impersonal chance. They have not seen that this world view has taken the place of the one that had previously dominated Northern European culture, including the United States, which was at least Christian in memory, even if the individuals were not individually Christian.

These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results—including sociological and governmental results, and specifically including law.

It is not that these two world views are different only in how they understand the nature of reality and existence. They also inevitably produce totally different results, The operative word here is inevitably. It is not just that they happen to bring forth different results, but it is absolutely inevitable that they will bring forth different results.

Why have the Christians been so slow to understand this? There are various reasons but the central one is a defective view of Christianity. This has its roots in the Pietist movement under the leadership of P. J. Spener in the seventeenth century. Pietism began as a healthy protest against formalism and a too abstract Christianity. But it had a deficient, “platonic” spirituality. It was platonic in the sense that Pietism made a sharp division between the “spiritual” and the “material” world — giving little, or no, importance to the “material” world. The totality of human existence was not afforded a proper place. In particular it neglected the intellectual dimension of Christianity.

Christianity and spirituality were shut up to a small, isolated part of life. The totality of reality was ignored by the pietistic thinking. Let me quickly say that in one sense Christians should be pietists in that Christianity is not just a set of doctrines, even the right doctrines. Every doctrine is in some way to have an effect upon our lives. But the poor side of Pietism and its resulting platonic outlook has really been a tragedy not only in many people’s individual lives, but in our total culture.

True spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us as absolutes which are sinful — which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spectrum of life equally. In this sense there is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.

Related to this, it seems to me, is the fact that many Christians do not mean what I mean when I say Christianity is true, or Truth. They are Christians and they believe in, let us say, the truth of creation, the truth of the virgin birth, the truth of Christ’s miracles, Christ’s substitutionary death, and His coming again. But they stop there with these and other individual truths.

When I say Christianity is true I mean it is true to total reality — the total of what is, beginning with the central reality, the objective existence of the personal-infinite God. Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth — Truth about all of reality. And the holding to that Truth intellectually — and then in some poor way living upon that Truth, the Truth of what is — brings forth not only certain personal results, but also governmental and legal results.

Now let’s go over to the other side — to those who hold the materialistic final reality concept. They saw the complete and total difference between the two positions more quickly than Christians. There were the Huxleys, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), and many others who understood a long time ago that there are two total concepts of reality and that it was one total reality against the other and not just a set of isolated and separated differences, The Humanist Manifesto published in 1933, showed with crystal clarity their comprehension of the totality of what is involved. It was to our shame that Julian (1887-1975) and Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), and the others like them, understood much earlier than Christians that these two world views are two total concepts of reality standing in antithesis to each other. We should be utterly ashamed that this is the fact.

They understood not only that there were two totally different concepts but that they would bring forth two totally different conclusions, both for individuals and for society. What we must understand is that the two world views really do bring forth with inevitable certainty not only personal differences, but also total differences in regard to society, government, and law.

There is no way to mix these two total world views. They are separate entities that cannot be synthesized. Yet we must say that liberal theology, the very essence of it from its beginning, is an attempt to mix the two. Liberal theology tried to bring forth a mixture soon after the Enlightenment and has tried to synthesize these two views right up to our own day. But in each case when the chips are down these liberal theologians have always come down, as naturally as a ship coming into home port, on the side of the nonreligious humanist. They do this with certainty because what their liberal theology really is is humanism expressed in theological terms instead of philosophic or other terms.

An example of this coming down naturally on the side of the nonreligious humanists is the article by Charles Hartshorne in the January 21, 1981, issue of The Christian Century, pages 42-45. Its title is, “Concerning Abortion, an Attempt at a Rational View.” He begins by equating the fact that the human fetus is alive with the fact that mosquitoes and bacteria are also alive. That is, he begins by assuming that human life is not unique. He then continues by saying that even after the baby is born it is not fully human until its social relations develop (though he says the infant does have some primitive social relations an unborn fetus does not have).

His conclusion is, “Nevertheless, I have little sympathy with the idea that infanticide is just another form of murder, Persons who are already functionally persons in the full sense have more important rights even than infants.” He then, logically, takes the next step: “Does this distinction apply to the killing of a hopelessly senile person or one in a permanent coma? For me it does.” No atheistic humanist could say it with greater clarity. It is significant at this point to note that many of the denominations controlled by liberal theology have come out, publicly and strongly, in favor of abortion.

Dr. Martin E. Marty is one of the respected, theologically liberal spokesmen. He is an associate editor of The Christian Century and Fairfax M. Cone distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago divinity school. He is often quoted in the secular press as the spokesman for “mainstream” Christianity. In a Christian Century article in the January 7-14, 1981, issue (pages 13-17 with an addition on page 31), he has an article entitled: “Dear Republicans: A Letter on Humanisms.” In it he brilliantly confuses the terms “being human,” humanism, the humanities and being “in love with humanity.” Why does he do this? As a historian he knows the distinctions of those words, but when one is done with these pages the poor reader who knows no better is left with the eradication of the total distinction between the Christian position and the humanist one.

I admire the cleverness of the article but I regret that in it Dr. Marty has come down on the non-religious humanist side, by confusing the issues so totally it would be well at this point to stress that we should not confuse the very different things which Dr. Marty did confuse. Humanitarianisrn is being kind and helpful to people, treating people humanly. The humanities are the studies of literature, art, music, etc. — those things which are the products of human creativity. Humanism is the placing of Man at the center of all things and making him the measure of all things.

Thus, Christians should be the most humanitarian of all people. And Christians certainly should be interested in the humanities as the product of human creativity, made possible because people are uniquely made in the image of the great Creator. in this sense of being interested in the humanities it would be proper to speak of a Christian humanist, This is especially so in the past usage of that term. This would then mean that such a Christian is interested (as we all should be) in the product of people’s creativity. In this sense, for example, Calvin could be called a Christian humanist because he knew the works of the Roman writer Seneca so very well. John Milton and many other Christian poets could also be so called because of their knowledge not only of their own day but also of antiquity.

But in contrast to being humanitarian and being interested in the humanities Christians should be inalterably opposed to the false and destructive humanism, which is false to the Bible and equally false to what Man is.

Along with this we must keep distinct the “humanist world view” of which we have been speaking and such a thing as the “Humanist Society,” which produced the Humanist Manifestos I and 11(1933 and 1973). The Humanist Society is made up of a relatively small group of people (some of whom, however, have been influential — John Dewey, Sir Julian Huxley, Jacques Monod, B. F. Skinner, etc.). By way of contrast, the humanist world view includes many thousands of adherents and today controls the consensus in society, much of the media, much of what is taught in our schools, and much of the arbitrary law being produced by the various departments of government.

The term humanism used in this wider, more prevalent way means Man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standards outside of himself. In this view Man is the measure of all things, as the Enlightenment expressed it.

Nowhere have the divergent results of the two total concepts of reality, the Judeo-Christian and the humanist world view, been more open to observation than in government and law.

We of Northern Europe (and we must remember that the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and so on are extensions of Northern Europe) take our form-freedom balance in government for granted as though it were natural. There is form in acknowledging the obligations in society, and there is freedom in acknowledging the rights of the individual. We have form, we have freedom; there is freedom, there is form. There is a balance here which we have come to take as natural in the world. It is not natural in the world. We are utterly foolish if we look at the long span of history and read the daily newspapers giving today’s history and do not understand that the form-freedom balance in government which we have had in Northern Europe since the Reformation and in the countries extended from it is unique in the world, past and present.

That is not to say that no one wrestled with these questions before the Reformation nor that no one produced anything worthwhile. One can think, for example, of the Conciliar Movement in the late medieval church and the early medieval parliaments. Especially one must consider the ancient English Common Law. And in relation to that Common Law (and all English Law) there is Henry De Bracton. I will mention more about him in a moment.

Those who hold the material-energy, chance concept of reality, whether they are Marxist or non-Marxist, not only do not know the truth of the final reality, God, they do not know who Man is. Their concept of Man is what Man is not, just as their concept of the final reality is what final reality is not. Since their concept of Man is mistaken, their concept of society and of law is mistaken, and they have no sufficient base for either society or law.

They have reduced Man to even less than his natural finiteness by seeing him only as a complex arrangement of molecules, made complex by blind chance. Instead of seeing him as something great who is significant even in his sinning, they see Man in his essence only as an intrinsically competitive animal, that has no other basic operating principle than natural selection brought about by the strongest, the fittest, ending on top. And they see Man as acting in this way both individually and collectively as society.

Even on the basis of Man’s finiteness having people sweat in court in the name of humanity, as some have advocated, saying something like, “We pledge our honor before all mankind” would be insufficient enough. But reduced to the materialistic view of Man, it is even less. Although many nice words may be used, in reality law constituted on this basis can only mean brute force,

In this setting Jeremy Bentham’s (1748-1842) Utilitarianism can be and must be all that law means. And this must inevitably lead to the conclusion of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935): “The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.” That is, there is no basis for law except Man’s limited, finite experience. And especially with the Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest concept of Man (which Holmes held) that must, and will, lead to Holmes’ final conclusion: law is “the majority vote of that nation that could lick all others.”

The problem always was, and is, What is an adequate base for law? What is adequate so that the human aspiration for freedom can exist without anarchy, and yet provides a form that will not become arbitrary tyranny?

In contrast to the materialistic concept, Man in reality is made in the image of God and has real humanness. This humanness has produced varying degrees of success in government, bringing forth governments that were more than only the dominance of brute force.

And those in the stream of the Judeo-Christian world view have had something more. The influence of the Judeo-Christian world view can be perhaps most readily observed in Henry De Bracton’s influence on British Law. An English judge living in the thirteenth century, he wrote De Legibus et Consuetudinibus (c.1250). Bracton, in the stream of the Judeo-Christian world view, said:

And that he [the King] ought to be under the law appears clearly in the analogy of Jesus Christ, whose vice-regent on earth he is, for though many ways were open to Him for His ineffable redemption of the human race, the true mercy of God chose this most powerful way to destroy the devil’s work, he would not use the power of force but the reason of justice.

In other words, God in His sheer power could have crushed Satan in his revolt by the use of that sufficient power. But because of God’s character, justice came before the use of power alone. Therefore Christ died that justice, rooted in what God is, would be the solution. Bracton codified this: Christ’s example, because of who He is, is our standard, our rule, our measure. Therefore power is not first, but justice is first in society and law. The prince may have the power to control and to rule, but he does not have the right to do so without justice. This was the basis of English Common Law. The Magna Charta (1215) was written within thirty-five years (or less) of Bracton’s De Legibus and in the midst of the same universal thinking in England at that time.

The Reformation (300 years after Bracton) refined and clarified this further. It got rid of the encrustations that had been added to the .Judeo-Christian world view and clarified the point of authority — with authority resting in the Scripture rather than church and Scripture, or state and Scripture. This not only had meaning in regard to doctrine but clarified the base for law.

That base was God’s written Law, back through the New Testament to Moses’ written Law; and the content and authority of that written Law is rooted back to Him who is the final reality. Thus, neither church nor state were equal to, let alone above, that Law. The base for law is not divided, and no one has the right to place anything, including king, state or church, above the content of God’s Law.

What the Reformation did was to return most clearly and consistently to the origins, to the final reality, God; but equally to the reality of Man — not only Man’s personal needs (such as salvation), but also Man’s social needs.

What we have had for four hundred years, produced from this clarity, is unique in contrast to the situation that has existed in the world in forms of government. Some of you have been taught that the Greek city states had our concepts in government. It simply is not true. All one has to do is read Plato’s Republic to have this come across with tremendous force.

When the men of our State Department, especially after World War II, went all over the world trying to implant our form-freedom balance in government downward on cultures whose philosophy and religion would never have produced it, it has, in almost every case, ended in some form of totalitarianism or authoritarianism.

The humanists push for “freedom,” but having no Christian consensus to contain it, that “freedom” leads to chaos or to slavery under the state (or under an elite), Humanism, with its lack of any final base for values or law, always leads to chaos. It then naturally leads to some form of authoritarianism to control the chaos. Having produced the sickness, humanism gives more of the same kind of medicine for a cure. With its mistaken concept of final reality, it has no intrinsic reason to be interested in the individual, the human being. Its natural interest is the two collectives: the state and society.


George Bernard Shaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw 1936.jpg

Shaw in 1936
Born 26 July 1856
Dublin, Ireland
Died 2 November 1950 (aged 94)
Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England
Occupation Playwright, critic, political activist
Nationality Irish
Alma mater Wesley College, Dublin
Genre Satire, black comedy
Literary movement Ibsenism, naturalism
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Literature
1925Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
1938 Pygmalion


George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems with a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw’s attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the St Pancras Vestry.

Shaw was noted for expressing his views in uncompromising language, whether on vegetarianism (branding his own pre-vegetarian self a “cannibal“), the development of the human race (his own brand ofeugenics was driven by encouragement of miscegenation and marrying across class lines), or on political questions (in spite of his own generally liberal views he was not an uncritical supporter of democracy, and is even recorded as supporting, or at least condoning, the dictators of the 1930s).

In 1898, Shaw married Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a fellow Fabian, whom he survived. They settled in Ayot St Lawrence in a house now called Shaw’s Corner. Shaw died there, aged 94, from chronic problems exacerbated by injuries he incurred by falling from a ladder.

He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Academy Award (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (an adaptation of his play of the same name), respectively.[n 1] Shaw refused all other awards and honours, including the offer of a knighthood.

Political activism[edit]

Shaw declined to stand as an MP, but in 1897 was elected as a local councillor to the St Pancras Vestry as a Progressive. With the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras in 1900 Shaw was elected as a borough councillor but dismissed any party label, claiming “I have not yet discovered the party that is anxious to claim me as its representative.”[10][11] He resigned from the council at the next election in 1903 as “in his view, the only perfect Council should consist of millionaires and labourers” and he was neither.[12]


Shaw’s plays were first performed in the 1890s. By the end of the decade he was an established playwright. He wrote sixty-three plays and his output as novelist, critic, pamphleteer, essayist and private correspondent was prodigious. He is known to have written more than 250,000 letters.[13] Along with Fabian Society members Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Graham Wallas, Shaw founded the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1895 with funding provided by private philanthropy, including a bequest of £20,000 from Henry Hunt Hutchinson to the Fabian Society. One of the libraries at the London School of Economics is named in Shaw’s honour; it contains collections of his papers and photographs.[14] Shaw helped to found the left-wing magazine New Statesman in 1913 with the Webbs and other prominent members of the Fabian Society.[15]

Final years[edit]

During his later years, Shaw enjoyed attending to the grounds at Shaw’s Corner. At 91 he joined the Interplanetary Society for the last three years of his life.[16] He died at the age of 94,[17] of renal failure precipitated by injuries incurred by falling while pruning a tree.[18] He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 6 November. His ashes, mixed with those of his wife, Charlotte Payne-Townshend, were scattered along footpaths and around the statue of Saint Joan in their garden.[19][20]



See List of works by George Bernard Shaw for listings of his novels and plays, with links to their electronic texts, if those exist.

The International Shaw Society provides a detailed chronological listing of Shaw’s writings.[21] See also George Bernard Shaw, Unity Theatre.[22]


Shaw around 1900 (aged 43).


Shaw in 1909 (aged 52).

Shaw in 1925 (aged 68), when he was awarded theNobel Prize in Literature


Short stories[edit]

Shaw writing in a notebook at the time of first production of his play Pygmalion in 1914 (aged 57).

A collection of Shaw’s short stories, The Black Girl in Search of God and Some Lesser Tales, was published in 1934.[37] The Black Girl, an enthusiastic convert to Christianity, goes searching for God. In the story, written as an allegory, somewhat reminiscent of Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Shaw uses her adventures to expose flaws and fallacies in the religions of the world. At the story’s happy ending, the Black Girl quits her searchings in favour of rearing a family with the aid of a red-haired Irishman who has no metaphysical inclination.

One of the Lesser Tales is The Miraculous Revenge (1885), which relates the misadventures of an alcoholic investigator while he probes the mystery of a graveyard—full of saintly corpses—that migrates across a stream to escape association with the body of a newly buried sinner.


By the 1910s, Shaw was a well-established playwright. New works such as Fanny’s First Play (1911) and Pygmalion (1912), had long runs in front of large London audiences. Shaw had permitted a musical adaptation of Arms and the Man (1894) called The Chocolate Soldier (1908), but he had a low opinion of German operetta. He insisted that none of his dialogue be used, and that all the character names be changed, although the operetta actually follows Shaw’s plot quite closely, in particular preserving its anti-war message. The work proved very popular and would have made Shaw rich had he not waived his royalties, but he detested it and for the rest of his life forbade musicalization of his work, including a proposed Franz Lehár operetta based onPygmalion. Several of his plays formed the basis of musicals after his death—most famously the musical My Fair Lady—it is officially adapted from the screenplay of the film version of Pygmalion rather than the original stage play (keeping the film’s ending), and librettist Alan Jay Lerner kept generous chunks of Shaw’s dialogue, and the characters’ names, unchanged.

Shaw’s outlook was changed by World War I; which he uncompromisingly opposed, despite incurring outrage from the public as well as from many friends. His first full-length piece, presented after the War, written mostly during it, was Heartbreak House(1919). A new Shaw had emerged—the wit remained, but his faith in humanity had dwindled. In the preface to Heartbreak House he said:

It is said that every people has the Government it deserves. It is more to the point that every Government has the electorate it deserves; for the orators of the front bench can edify or debauch an ignorant electorate at will. Thus our democracy moves in a vicious circle of reciprocal worthiness and unworthiness.[41]

The movable hut in the garden of Shaw’s Corner, where Shaw wrote most of his works after 1906, including Pygmalion.

Shaw had previously supported gradual democratic change toward socialism, but now he saw more hope in government by benign strong men. This sometimes made him oblivious to the dangers of dictatorships. Near his life’s end that hope failed him too. In the first act of Buoyant Billions (1946–48), his last full-length play, his protagonist asks:

Why appeal to the mob when ninetyfive per cent of them do not understand politics, and can do nothing but mischief without leaders? And what sort of leaders do they vote for? For Titus Oates and Lord George Gordon with their Popish plots, for Hitlers who call on them to exterminate Jews, for Mussolinis who rally them to nationalist dreams of glory and empire in which all foreigners are enemies to be subjugated.[42]



In a letter to Henry James dated 17 January 1909,[46] Shaw said,

I, as a Socialist, have had to preach, as much as anyone, the enormous power of the environment. We can change it; we must change it; there is absolutely no other sense in life than the task of changing it. What is the use of writing plays, what is the use of writing anything, if there is not a will which finally moulds chaos itself into a race of gods.[47]


As well as plays and prefaces, Shaw wrote long political treatises, such as Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889),[54] and The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1912),[55] a 495-page book detailing all aspects of socialistic theory as Shaw interpreted it. Excerpts of the latter were republished in 1928 as Socialism and Liberty,[56] Late in his life he wrote another guide to political issues, Everybody’s Political What’s What (1944).

Correspondence and friends[edit]

Shaw corresponded with an array of people, many of them well known. His letters to and from Mrs. Patrick Campbell were adapted for the stage by Jerome Kilty as Dear Liar: A Comedy of Letters,[57] as was his correspondence with the poet Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (the intimate friend of Oscar Wilde), into the drama Bernard and Bosie: A Most Unlikely Friendship by Anthony Wynn. His letters to the prominent actress, Ellen Terry,[58] to the boxer Gene Tunney,[59] and to H.G. Wells,[60] have also been published. Eventually the volume of his correspondence became insupportable, as can be inferred from apologetic letters written by assistants.[61] Shaw campaigned against the executions of the rebel leaders of the Easter Rising, and he became a personal friend of the Cork-born IRA leader Michael Collins, whom he invited to his home for dinner while Collins was negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty with Lloyd George in London. After Collins’s assassination in 1922, Shaw sent a personal message of condolence to one of Collins’s sisters. He much admired (and was admired by) G. K. Chesterton.[62] When Chesterton died, Shaw mourned his death in a poignant letter to Chesterton’s widow; he had always expected that he would predecease Chesterton, being the latter’s senior by almost two decades.

Shaw also enjoyed a (somewhat stormy) friendship with T.E. Lawrence, the British Army officer renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, as well as the Arab Revolt, which Lawrence memorialized in his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence even used the name “Shaw” as his nom de guerre when he joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraftman in the 1920s.


Shaw was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) for his contributions to literature. The citation praised his work as “… marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”.[66] Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright because he had no desire for public honours, but accepted it at his wife’s behest: she considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting it be used to finance translation of fellow playwright August Strindberg‘s works from Swedish to English.[67]

At this time Prime Minister David Lloyd George was considering recommending to the King Shaw’s admission to the Order of Merit, but the place was instead given to J. M. Barrie.[43] Shaw rejected a knighthood.[43] It was not until 1946 that the government of the day arranged for an informal offer of the Order of Merit to be made: Shaw declined, replying that “merit” in authorship could only be determined by the posthumous verdict of history.[43]

In 1938, Shaw was awarded an Oscar for his work on the film Pygmalion (adaptation of his play of the same name). The Academy Award was jointly shared with Ian Dalrymple, Cecil Lewis and W.P. Lipscomb, who had also worked on adapting Shaw’s script.[68]

Political, social, and religious views[edit]

Shaw asserted that each social class strove to serve its own ends, and that the upper and middle classes won in the struggle while the working class lost. He condemned the democratic system of his time, saying that workers, ruthlessly exploited by greedy employers, lived in abject poverty and were too ignorant and apathetic to vote intelligently.[69] He believed this deficiency would ultimately be corrected by the emergence of long-lived supermen with experience and intelligence enough to govern properly. He called the developmental process elective breeding but it is sometimes referred to as shavian eugenics, largely because he thought it was driven by a “Life Force” that led women — subconsciously — to select the mates most likely to give them superior children.[70] The outcome Shaw envisioned is dramatised in Back to Methuselah, a monumental play depicting human development from its beginning in the Garden of Eden until the distant future.[71]

In 1882, influenced by Henry George‘s view that the rent value of land belongs to all, Shaw concluded that private ownership of land and its exploitation for personal profit was a form of theft, and advocated equitable distribution of land and natural resources and their control by governments intent on promoting the commonwealth. Shaw believed that income for individuals should come solely from the sale of their own labour and that poverty could be eliminated by giving equal pay to everyone. These concepts led Shaw to apply for membership of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), led by H. M. Hyndman who introduced him to the works of Karl Marx. Shaw never joined the SDF, which favoured forcible reforms. Instead, in 1884, he joined the newly formed Fabian Society, which accorded with his belief that reform should be gradual and induced by peaceful means rather than by outright revolution.[72] Shaw was an active Fabian. He wrote many of their pamphlets,[54] lectured tirelessly on behalf of their causes and provided money to set up The New Age, an independent socialist journal. As a Fabian, he participated in the formation of the Labour Party. The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism[55] provides a clear statement of his socialistic views. As evinced in plays like Major Barbara and Pygmalion, class struggle is a motif in much of Shaw’s writing.

Oscar Wilde was the sole literary signator of Shaw’s petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested (and later executed) after the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886.[73]

Shaw opposed the execution of Sir Roger Casement in 1916. He wrote a letter “as an Irishman”[74] to The Times, which they rejected, but it was subsequently printed by both the Manchester Guardian on 22 July 1916, and by the New York American on 13 August 1916.


After visiting the USSR in 1931 and meeting Joseph Stalin, Shaw became a supporter of the Stalinist USSR. On 11 October 1931 he broadcast a lecture on American national radio telling his audience that any ‘skilled workman … of suitable age and good character’ would be welcomed and given work in the Soviet Union.[75] Tim Tzouliadis asserts that several hundred Americans responded to his suggestion and left for the USSR.[76]

Shaw continued this support for Stalin’s system in the preface to his play On the Rocks (1933) writing:

But the most elaborate code of this sort would still have left unspecified a hundred ways in which wreckers of Communism could have sidetracked it without ever having to face the essential questions: are you pulling your weight in the social boat? are you giving more trouble than you are worth? have you earned the privilege of living in a civilized community? That is why the Russians were forced to set up an Inquisition or Star Chamber, called at first the Cheka and now the Gay Pay Oo (Ogpu), to go into these questions and “liquidate” persons who could not answer them satisfactorily.[77]

Yet, Shaw defends “the sacredness of criticism”:

Put shortly and undramatically the case is that a civilization cannot progress without criticism, and must therefore, to save itself from stagnation and putrefaction, declare impunity for criticism. This means impunity not only for propositions which, however novel, seem interesting, statesmanlike, and respectable, but for propositions that shock the uncritical as obscene, seditious, blasphemous, heretical, and revolutionary.[77]

In an open letter to the Manchester Guardian in 1933, he dismissed stories—which were later determined to be largely substantiated—of a Soviet famine as slanderous, and contrasts them with the hardships then current in the West during the Great Depression:

We desire to record that we saw nowhere evidence of such economic slavery, privation, unemployment and cynical despair of betterment as are accepted as inevitable and ignored by the press as having “no news value” in our own countries.”[78]

In the preface to On The Rocks he wrote:

It sounds simple; but the process requires better planning than is always forthcoming (with local famines and revolts as the penalty); for while the grass grows the steed starves; and when education means not only schools and teachers, but giant collective farms equipped with the most advanced agricultural machinery, which means also gigantic engineering works for the production of the machinery, you may easily find that you have spent too much on these forms of capitalization and are running short of immediately consumable goods, presenting the spectacle of the nation with the highest level of general culture running short of boots and tightening its belt for lack of sufficient food.
I must not suggest that this has occurred all over Russia; for I saw no underfed people there; and the children were remarkably plump. And I cannot trust the reports; for I have no sooner read in The Times a letter from Mr Kerensky assuring me that in the Ukraine the starving people are eating one another, than M. Herriot, the eminent French statesman, goes to Russia and insists on visiting the Ukraine so that he may have ocular proof of the alleged cannibalism, but can find no trace of it. Still, between satiety and starvation mitigated by cannibalism there are many degrees of shortage; and it is no secret that the struggle of the Russian Government to provide more collective farms and more giant factories to provide agricultural machinery for them has to be carried on against a constant clamor from the workers for new boots and clothes, and more varied food and more of it: in short, less sacrifice of the present to the future.[77]

He wrote a defence of Lysenkoism in a letter to Labour Monthly, in which he asserted that an “acquired characteristic” could be heritable, writing of Lysenko: “Following up Michurin’s agricultural experiments he found that it is possible to extend the area of soil cultivation by breeding strains of wheat that flourish in a sub-Arctic climate, and transmit this acquired characteristic to its seed.” He added:

Lysenko is on the right side as a Vitalist; but the situation is confused by the purely verbal snag that Marx called his philosophy Dialectical Materialism. Now in Russia Marx is a Pontif; and all scientists who do not call themselves Materialists must be persecuted. Accordingly, Lysenko has to pretend that he is a Materialist when he is in fact a Vitalist; and thus muddles us ludicrously. Marxism seems to have gone as mad as Weismannism; and it is no longer surprising that Marx had to insist that he was not a Marxist.[79]

Despite Shaw’s scepticism about the creation of the Irish Free State, he was supportive of Éamon de Valera‘s stance on the Second World War, including his policy of refusing to fall in line with the Allies’ demand for neutral countries to deny asylum to Axis war criminals during the war.[80] According to Shaw “The voice of the Irish gentleman and Spanish grandee was a welcome relief from the chorus of retaliatory rancor and self-righteousness then deafening us”.[81]


Shaw delivered speeches on the theory of eugenics and he became a noted figure in the movement in England.[82]

Shaw’s play Man and Superman (1903) has been said to be “invested with eugenic doctrines” and “an ironic reworking” of Nietzsche‘s concept of Übermensch.[82][83] The main character in the play, John Tanner, is the author of “The Revolutionist’s Handbook and Pocket Companion”, which Shaw published along with his play. The Revolutionist’s Handbook includes chapters on “Good Breeding” and “Property and Marriage”. In the “Property and Marriage” section, Tanner writes:

To cut humanity up into small cliques, and effectively limit the selection of the individual to his own clique, is to postpone the Superman for eons, if not for ever. Not only should every person be nourished and trained as a possible parent, but there should be no possibility of such an obstacle to natural selection as the objection of a countess to a navvy or of a duke to a charwoman. Equality is essential to good breeding; and equality, as all economists know, is incompatible with property.

In this Shaw was managing to synthesize eugenics with socialism, his best-loved political doctrine. This was a popular concept at the time.[84]

Shaw in 1905

When, in 1910, Shaw wrote that natural attraction rather than wealth or social class should govern selection of marriage partners, the concept of eugenics did not have the negative connotations it later acquired after having been adopted by the Nazis of Germany.[85] Shaw sometimes treated the topic in a light-hearted way, pointing out that if eugenics had been thought about some generations previously, he himself may not have been born, so depriving humanity of his great contributions.[86] He seems to have maintained his opinion throughout his life.[85]

As with many of the topics that Shaw addressed, but particularly so in his examination of the “social purity” movement, he used irony, misdirection and satire to make his point.[77][87][88] At a meeting of the Eugenics Education Society of 3 March 1910 he suggested the need to use a “lethal chamber” to solve their problem. Shaw said: “We should find ourselves committed to killing a great many people whom we now leave living, and to leave living a great many people whom we at present kill. We should have to get rid of all ideas about capital punishment …” Shaw also called for the development of a “deadly” but “humane” gas for the purpose of killing, many at a time, those unfit to live.[89]

In a newsreel interview released on 5 March 1931, dealing with alternatives to the imprisonment of criminals, Shaw says

You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.[90][91]

Shaw often used satiric irony to mock those who took eugenics to inhumane extremes and commentators have sometimes failed to take this into account.[82][92] Some noticed that this was an example of Shaw satirically employing the reductio ad absurdum argument against the eugenicists’ wilder aspirations: The Globe and The Evening News recognised it as a skit on the dreams of the eugenicists, though many others in the press took his words out of their satirical context. Dan Stone of Liverpool University writes: “Either the press believed Shaw to be serious, and vilified him, or recognised the tongue-in-cheek nature of his lecture”.[92][93]


In his will, Shaw stated that his “religious convictions and scientific views cannot at present be more specifically defined than as those of a believer in Creative Evolution.”[94] He requested that no one should imply that he accepted the beliefs of any specific religious organization, and that no memorial to him should “take the form of a cross or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice.”[94]

Gary Sloan summarises Shaw’s religious views as follows:

Until he was thirty or so, Shaw called himself an Atheist. He became one, he later quipped, before he could think. He adjudged the doctrines of the Church of Ireland, which he attended as a child, unintelligible or absurd. Since the first of its Thirty-nine Articles describes god as “without body, parts, or passions,” he waggishly theorized that the church was atheistic. An incomprehensible god, he opined, was tantamount to no god. In 1875, he blazoned his Atheism abroad. In a letter to Public Opinion, a Dublin newspaper, he announced “with inflexible materialistic logic, and to the extreme horror of my respectable connections, that I was an atheist.” In Immaturity, the first of five novels he wrote in his twenties, the young protagonist, obviously Shaw’s alter ego, walks pensively in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey: “His hushed step, impressive bearing, and reflective calm, marked him as a confirmed freethinker.”
In “The New Theology,” he prepped his audience: “When you are asked, ‘Where is God? Who is God?’ stand up and say, ‘I am God and here is God, not as yet completed, but still advancing towards completion, just in so much as I am working for the purpose of the universe, working for the good of the whole society and the whole world, instead of merely looking after my personal ends.”‘ God “would provide himself with a perfectly fashioned and trustworthy instrument. And such an instrument would be nothing less than God himself.”[95]


Featured Photographer is Henry Grossman


03.27.134:45 AM ET

Beatles Photographer Henry Grossman on ‘Places I Remember’

In his new book, veteran photographer Henry Grossman unveils 1,000 never-before-seen images of his time with the band in the 1960s. He tells Abby Haglage how he caught their goofy side.
The Beatles’ most trusted photographer was a friend, not a fan.At 27, Henry Grossman—then employed by Life magazine—was first invited to shoot the pop stars during their 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. A New York City–born opera singer in training, Grossman didn’t like their music, but he loved them. By far the youngest photographer shooting them, he forged a lasting friendship with the group, landing him unprecedented access to their lives, which he captured in 6,000 images, more than any other photographer.In his latest, limited-edition, book, Places I Remember: My Time With the Beatles, Grossman unveils more than 1,000 photos never before seen by the public. He tells Abby Haglage what it was like traveling the world with the most popular band of all time—and what, 50 years later, he’s still remembering.What was it that made you connect with them so well?Well, I liked them! I found them witty, charming, fun, intelligent. They were bright guys—and they were only about four years younger than me. Most of the other photographers were much older than me, so I think that was part of it. But also, as a Life magazine photographer, we were taught to watch. We didn’t set up a lot of pictures, I simply captured their lives. I didn’t want things from them. As a result, it was a lot of fun.

But were you a Beatles fan at the time?

Well, I did not particularly care for Rock music, at all. I loved opera. I didn’t listen to their stuff. Some songs, like “Yesterday,” I loved. But I wasn’t a fan of their music, I was a fan of them. I never had the adoration, the awe that their fans had. I recognized the greatness I was around, definitely, but they were my friends. That made it different.

Is it true that they tried to stop you from running the first intimate photos you took of them?

Well, Brian Epstein [their manager] called me when Life magazine said they were going to syndicate some of the pictures I had taken of them in their home, and he said, “Henry, please don’t do that.” The next day, I got a cable from him that said: “Please disregard phone call. I’ve just seen the pictures. Can I have a set?” So that was good news.

When you imagine a moment with them now, what comes to mind?

I was always singing along the beach in Nassau with them, Oh, what a beautiful morning—simply because I loved that song! They caught on to that quite quickly and began singing it to me whenever I would show up to meet them. Even years later, I had a cable from George, and he started it with “Oh, what a beautiful morning!”

That’s hilarious. It seems like you were really able to see their goofy sides.

Absolutely. When I was shooting the cover for Life magazine, I said to Ringo, “I wish I had the guts to wear a tie like that.” And he came over and fingered my paisley tie, a very quiet tie I’d bought in London, and he said, “Well, Henry, if you did, you’d still be Henry, but with just a bright tie.” I thought that was justmarvelous. I loved it.

“George said to me once, ‘You know, we don’t know if this is going to last at all, Henry.’ That’s crazy to me to think about now.”

It’s clear that they really let you into their lives. Can you describe what that was like?

Well, to give an example, one day in Wales, I passed through the group of photographers waiting outside where they were staying and knocked on the door. John peeked out the curtain window, saw me, and immediately opened it and pulled me inside. The other photographers who were waiting in the courtyard were fuming and making a racket about it, saying, “Why does he get to go inside!?” When John heard them, he leaned back out to explain it: “He’s a friend of ours. He’s traveled around the world with us. If you’d traveled around the world with us, you might be inside too.” I thought that was funny.

Of the four guys, who were you closest with?

I became closer friends with George. When I would end up in London, I would call the office and leave a message for him that I was in town and he’d get back to me. We’d arrange to meet the next day or whenever. One time when I went over to George’s house, he had an instrument hanging on the wall that I didn’t recognize—it was a sitar. He took it down and told me, “I can’t get anyone to teach me how to play it.” I told him that he had enough money to find the best sitar teacher in India and ask him to come stay for the summer to teach him how to play. He took my advice but went further—and headed all the way to India!

What about Paul?

I remember one day I was standing with Paul by the water in Nassau, and I looked down and saw what appeared to be a fossil. It was a piece of coral, I think. I picked it up and handed it to Paul and said, “Look at this, you know how many millions of years it took for this to end up this way?” And he picked it up, looked me in the eye, grinned, and tossed it as far out into the ocean as he could. Then he turned to me laughing and said, “Wow, I guess we set that one back a few million years, didn’t we, Henry?”

It seems like you captured so many light moments like that. In all the time you spent with them, did you ever see them upset?

I never saw any dark days. Maybe that’s just me. I see the best things in people, and I try to capture that. But I can honestly say, I never saw a nasty or biting look from any of them. They were charming. The only time that I really saw them down was the day Brian Epstein died. I left with Jane Asher and Paul for the car ride back to London after they got the news, and the press was surrounding him trying to ask “How do you feel?” and “What’s next?” Those were definitely some down times. But I was there as a friend, not an interviewer or photographer.

What about the iconic Bob Dylan image you took outside the Delmonico in New York?

That one is interesting. I knew who Dylan was, but only got one frame off before he went into the hotel. I did not recognize Al Aronowitz until my publishers told me of the importance of that shot. I didn’t think much of the photograph, but when my publishers saw it, they flipped. I said, “What’s the matter, what’s the matter?” And they said, “You don’t understand, that’s the night Dylan introduced them to pot!”

Did you ever see them doing drugs?

No, I never saw any of that. The closest I came to it was David Crosby was smoking something, that night at the party at George’s. He asked if I wanted some. It was hash, I think. I took a smoke of it and never had it again.

Is there anything you realize now, almost 50 years later, that you missed at the time?

One of the things that I think about, looking back now, is the love and excitement that they engendered. They had no idea how long it would all last. They knew how good they were, but they were always wondering how much longer they had. George said to me once, “You know, we don’t know if this is going to last at all, Henry.” That’s crazy to me to think about now.



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