Bernard Shaw on his Genius

Shaw explained to a prospective biographer that he should emphasise that sheer hard work and experience rather than natural capacity ” enabled me to produce an impression of being an extraordinarily clever, original, and brilliant writer, deficient only in feeling, whereas the truth is that though I am in a way a man of genius… yet I am not in the least naturally ‘brilliant’ and not at all ready or clever. If literary men generally were put through the mill I went through and kept out of their stuffy little coteries, where works of art breed in and in until the intellectual and spiritual product becomes hopelessly degenerate, I should have a thousand rivals more brilliant than myself. There is nothing more mischievous than the notion that my works are the mere play of a delightfully clever and whimsical hero of the salons: they are the result of perfectly straightforward drudgery…”

[letter to Archibald Henderson, an American, 30 June 1904].

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