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Pygmalion (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, October 20, 1994
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The songs of course, and many of the scenes they were in, were added, but the main dialog was straight from the original.
The biggest difference, and one that I assume most of the fans of the musical wouldn't like, is the "sequel" written by Shaw that describes the characters' lives after the end of the play. I know my wife will be disappointed if she ever reads it.
As for the edition: I noticed no problems with it and it's hard to argue with the price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is absolutely amazing. It presents an interesting tale of a beggar woman turned lady like. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Drew Doehring
Delivery was fast and book looks good. I t's for my son's school reading, so I'm not able to review the book itself because I did not read it.Published 6 months ago by GIT, Henderson, NV
This edition contains the text, including Shaw's narrative preface and "sequel" (afterword) from the original publication. Read morePublished 10 months ago by LitNerd12
Served its purpose: cheap with multiple copies available for a class. The margins are large enough for a reader to take notes, and the paper is thick enough that the notes don't... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Buckeyedobe
This was perfect for my students to use to study with in class. Easy to read and follow along in.Published on May 15, 2014 by Cassie B.
I brought this item for my daughter. The product was as advertised and price was reasonable. I would recommend it. Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by EG
The book was in great shape, except for two previous annotations everything was in order. The book did a little later than I expected, but even so it was still a great purchase.Published on December 9, 2013 by Malcolm Prophett
My daughter had to read this book for English, she said it is very good play and very interesting. She will recommend it.Published on September 15, 2013 by Bibiana Ahumada