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History of Vegetarianism - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

GBS From the archives of The Vegetarian Society UK:

The Summer of 1946 seems to have been a season of anniversaries and memorials. The Vegetarian Society itself was looking forward to its 100th anniversary and giving its members advance warnings of celebratory plans.

But the big story of the July issue of The Vegetarian Messenger was the tribute to George Bernard Shaw, celebrating his 90th birthday on the 26th of that month. He had, at that time, been a vegetarian for 66 years and was commended as one of the great thinkers and dramatists of his era. "No writer since Shakespearean times has produced such a wealth of dramatic literature, so superb in expression, so deep in thought and with such dramatic possibilities as Shaw." The writer was a staunch vegetarian, anti-vivisectionist and opponent of cruel sports.

From The Vegetarian (London), February 13, 1897:
(photo from the 1957 IVU Congress souvenir book)


Slowly, but surely, the roll-call of well-known men and women who have adopted Vegetarianism increases in length. . . . It would be interesting to ascertain how many members of the dramatic profession find that they can perform their arduous duties better under a vegetarian diet and as abstainers than under the scheme of "high living" which they are popularly supposed to indulge in. We know that one of the most brilliant of modern dramatists and critics - Mr. George Bernard Shaw - is a Vegetarian. In the pursuit of his duties he has to work frequently under most unhealthy conditions and to face all weathers, yet any observant stranger would turn and take a second look at Shaw's virile figure in the street.

He is a standing answer to critics who aver that Vegetarians cannot compete with brain workers who are flesh-eaters. A glance at the dramatic article in the Saturday Review will convince any intelligent reade that in G. B. Shaw we have one of our keenest critics, capable of producing a succession of critiques which positively scintillate with epigrams.