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Jane Eyre (Hardcover Classics) Hardcover – October 27, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Hardcover Classics
  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics Hardcover; Reprint edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141040386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141040387
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

One of George Bernard Shaw's best-known plays, Pygmalion was a rousing success on the London and New York stages, an entertaining motion picture and a great hit with its musical version, My Fair Lady. An updated and considerably revised version of the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea, the 20th-century story pokes fun at the antiquated British class system.
In Shaw's clever adaptation, Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistic expert, takes on a bet that he can transform an awkward cockney flower seller into a refined young lady simply by polishing her manners and changing the way she speaks. In the process of convincing society that his creation is a mysterious royal figure, the Professor also falls in love with his elegant handiwork.
The irresistible theme of the emerging butterfly, together with Shaw's brilliant dialogue and splendid skills as a playwright, have made Pygmalion one of the most popular comedies in the English language. A staple of college drama courses, it is still widely performed.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charlotte Bronte lived from 1816 to 1855. In 1824 she was sent away to school with her four sisters and they were treated so badly that their father brought them home to Haworth in Yorkshire. The elder two sisters died within a few days and Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne were brought up in the isolated village. They were often lonely and loved to walk on the moors. They were all great readers and soon began to write small pieces of verse and stories.

Once Charlotte’s informal education was over she began to work as a governess and teacher in Yorkshire and Belgium so that she could add to the low family income and help to pay for her brother Branwell’s art education. Charlotte was a rather nervous young woman and didn’t like to be away from home for too long. The sisters began to write more seriously and published poetry in 1846 under male pen names – there was a lot of prejudice against women writers. The book was not a success and the sisters all moved on to write novels. Charlotte’s best-known book, Jane Eyre, appeared in 1847 and was soon seen as a work of genius. Charlotte really knew how to make characters and situations come alive.

Charlotte’s life was full of tragedy, never more so than when her brother Branwell and sisters Emily and Anne died within a few months in 1848/49. She married her father’s curate in 1854 but died in 1855, before her fortieth birthday.

Customer Reviews

I loved the story, the characters, the blend of romance, mystery, and gothic elements--in short, I loved everything about it!
C. Nunez
I highly recommend Pygmalion because it is a classic that is enjoyable to read and better crafted than its more famous movie adaptation.
Deborah Smith Cook
There is comedy and romance, above all, but there is also a very clear social critic -- and even a Marxist idea of class struggle.
A. T. A. Oliveira

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A. T. A. Oliveira on February 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
It is not very likely that George Bernard Shaw knew he was writing the play that would become one of the seminal romantic comedies of the 20th when he penned `Pygmalion'. The play is delightful, with borrowed elements from many genres. There is comedy and romance, above all, but there is also a very clear social critic -- and even a Marxist idea of class struggle. What only enhances the reading of this masterpiece.
Professor Henry Higgins is a linguistic expert who is much more interested in how people say the words rather than what they say. He ends up taking a bet that he is able to transform a simple cockney flower seller, Eliza, into a sophisticated and refined young lady, who would be able to fool the Queen herself. To succeed in such a move he claims he will change only the way she speaks.
To work on Eliza he puts her up in his house and starts polishing her speech. This is not an easy job, because what the girl speaks is not English, but a language she has developed herself. After some time, the Professor decides to introduce her to a group of friends, without mentioning her backgrounds. At first the meeting is blast. Although Eliza can use a fine language it is clear she has not backgrounds to develop and keep up a conversation. And her behavior ends up being the laughing stock. But one of the guests notices how beautiful the girl is. Higgins feels sort of jealous and this could lead their relationship to another level.
Shaw's prose is funny and touching at the same time. He uses devices, like everybody speaking at the same time, which only enhances the fun of the play and brings more truth to the action. His characters are lively and well developed. His social critic is evident.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Morrison on November 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Shaw's PYGMALION. like Julius Caesar's Gaul, is divided into three parts.
1. A preface, which was written after the play was already a hit, but was meant by Shaw to be a part of the reader's experience, and is necessary to the understanding of Shaw's main theme.
2. A five act play, meant to be performed, and which is annotated in such a manner so as to facilitate deletion, on the stage, of portions only possible in a film version.
3. What Shaw refers to as a sequel, written in prose, and outlining Liza and Freddy's life after their marriage which takes place after the end of Act V.
In the preface, Shaw first emphasizes the importance of reading his prose sequel. He then devotes the bulk of the preface to a discussion of the difficulties of learning to speak English, because its written alphabet so inadequately reflects the sound of the spoken word. He makes it very clear that he believes that the English Alphabet should be replaced by a 42 letter phonetic alphabet. He states that, "The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it." He also states that Henry Higgins, the speech therapist, is at least partially modeled on Henry Sweet, a leading phonetician of the period.
The central portion of PYGMALION is the five act play to which most of us have been exposed in one form or another; The original play, the screen play with the altered "happy ending," or the musical version, "My Fair Lady." By now, I would guess that we all are very familiar with the plot in which Professor Henry Higgins teaches the uneducated flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, proper language and manners, and, for an evening, passes her off as royalty.
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Format: Paperback
George Bernard Shaw uses of wit and insight into England's 1800s arrogant class system to show class is not bred, but made, and the highest class of people see no class at all, being humble enough to know we are equals. Shaw's "Pygmalion" was not written just to add to his wallet with its publication, but to influence society, much the same as Charles Dickens "Oliver Twist" and "David Copperfield" have.

As fun as the musical, "My Fair Lady" is, read Shaw's take on this old Greek myth.

From the plot of whether or not a pauper can made a princess to the subplot of love and true romance, the story is intertwined with memorable characters, delightful banter and intriguing thoughts.

Shaw's understanding of English's accents and how these separated the masses (do they still?) causes me in America to wonder if my Chicago-istic pronunciations affect how I am seen. What about African-American accents, or the New England accents? Does a Kentucky girl's accent come across as higher or lower class than her Alabama neighbors? How do I see others? Am I as affected?

Drop down a little cash, sneak this book into a larger order, and read, "Pygmalion." Review Edith Hamilton's book on mythology, discover who Shaw refers to (as in Galatea and Pygmalion, a fascinating story in its own right).

I fully recommend "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw.

Anthony Trendl
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to imagine a better gothic romance than "Jane Eyre" -- gloomy vast houses, mysterious secrets, and a brooding haunted man with a dark past.

In fact, Charlotte Bronte's classic novel has pretty much everything going for it -- beautiful settings, a passionate romance tempered by iron-clad morals, and a heroine whose poverty and lack of beauty only let her brains and courage shine brighter. And it's all wrapped in the misty, haunting atmosphere of a true gothic story -- madwoman in the attic and all.

Jane Eyre was an orphan, abused and neglected first by relatives, then by a boarding school run by a tyrannical, hypocritical minister. But Jane refuses to let anyone shove her down -- even when her saintly best friend dies from the wretched conditions.

But many years later, Jane moves on by applying to Thornfield Hall for a governess position, and gets the job. She soon becomes the teacher and friend to the sprightly French girl Adele, but is struck by the dark, almost haunted feeling of her new home.

Then she runs into a rather surly horseman -- who turns out to be her employer, Mr. Rochester, a cynical, embittered man who spends little time at Thornfield. They are slowly drawn together into a powerful love, despite their different social stations -- and Rochester's apparent attentions to a shallow, snotty aristocrat who wants his wealth and status.

But strange things are happening at Thornfield -- stabbings, fires, and mysterious laughter. Jane and Rochester finally confess their feelings to each other, but their wedding is interrupted when Rochester's dark past comes to light. Jane flees into the arms of long-lost family members, and is offered a new life -- but her love for Rochester is not so easily forgotten...
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