Literary Programme 2018

Fintan O’Toole: George Bernard Shaw

Fintan O’Toole: George Bernard Shaw

Fintan O’Toole

Maritime Hotel

Sun 15 July 2018



Join Fintan O’Toole for his lecture on Bernard Shaw and the Uses of Celebrity. George Bernard Shaw, Nobel prizewinner for literature and Academy Award winner, is perhaps best known as the author of Pygmalion (his most popular and most frequently performed play). GBS was the first great brand and in this lecture Fintan O’Toole will explore how Shaw created this most modern of concepts. In Judging Shaw, the fourth book in the Royal Irish Academy’s award winning ‘Judging’ series Fintan looks at the legacy of George Bernard Shaw as well as reintroducing GBS to an Irish and international readership. 

‘Fintan O’Toole has used mostly primary works with a stunning freshness, often putting well-known passages from Shaw into new contexts that make them really come alive, in a way that gives you the sense that Shaw is still here working on our contemporary problems, or at least should be. O’Toole makes it very clear that he was motivated to write this book precisely because, realizing that the Victorian/Gilded Age Shaw attacked with such vehemence and effectiveness has made a comeback, he argues that Shaw is never more needed than he is today. Shaw was instrumental in draining this swamp once, so maybe he can help us do it again’. R. F. Dietrich, Founder, International Shaw Society

‘There are other books on Shaw and there will be more; but none will be more Shavian than this one. […] Judging Shaw is an exhilarating read… The book is a brilliant Shavian polemic and a considerable achievement. Shaw may never again occupy the position of global influence he enjoyed on his death in 1950. But Fintan O’Toole persuades us that GBS still has radical and pertinent insights to offer into the glaring inequities of life in the twenty-first century.’ Anthony Roche, Dublin Review of Books

‘Timely, erudite and highly entertaining exploration of an extraordinary life.’ Eleanor Fitzsimons, Irish Times

Fintan O’Toole is assistant editor, columnist and feature writer for the Irish Times and Leonard L. Milberg lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. He has written books on Irish history, politics, society and culture. He has been a drama critic for Irish Times, New York Daily News, Sunday Tribune (Dublin), and In Dublin Magazine. His books on theater span a wide range of topics, from his biography of Richard Brinsley Sheridan to current productions on Irish stages. He also contributes to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, and other international publications. He has received the A.T. Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism, the Millennium Social Inclusion Award, and Journalist of the Year in 2010 from TV3 Media Awards. In 2017, O'Toole became the first Irish recipient of the prestigious European Press Prize as well as the Orwell Prize for Journalism for his commentary on the Brexit referendum and its aftermath.

Fintan’s photo is by John Ohle