Bernard Shaw is not generally known for philanthropic theories and practices. In his dramatic and political writings, Shaw believed that isolated acts of charity could not address social ills and encourage progress. He sought meaningful social impact through political solutions, highlighted by his involvement in the Fabian Society, but also recognized the social role of private actions of generous visionaries. Shaw's ideas on these private acts were influenced by the rise of early twentieth-century scientific philanthropy and anticipated twenty-first-century social entrepreneurs. His “revolutionists,” depicted in plays such as Man and Superman, Widowers' Houses, Major Barbara, The Devil's Disciple, and Saint Joan, laid the groundwork for modern social activists.

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