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Pygmalion (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, October 20, 1994

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; FIRST EDITION edition (October 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486282228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486282220
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


One of Shaw's best works, Pygmalion is a perceptive comedy of wit and wisdom about the unique relationship between a spunky cockney flower-girl and her irascible speech professor. The flower girl Eliza Doolittle teaches the egotistical phonetics professor Henry Higgins that to be a lady means more than just learning to speak like one. The performance by the L. A. Theatre Works is technically flawless and a world-class performance of a theatrical classic. --Midwest Book Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

Shaw does an amazing job at creating a character/reader connection.
Ashley K.
The play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is a work of comedy, satire and wit which is difficultly revelled.
Actually the whole book is a quick, fun read that I'd recommend to pretty much everyone.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 188 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Guyer on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
This review is aimed more toward the Norton edition than to JANE EYRE. We all know this is a classic. Bronte was simply a genius and a harbinger of romantic, dramatic, gothic, and horror writing. (However, it still irks me that she couldn't end a simple sentence with a period. Every declarative statement, it seems, must be qualified with a colon or semi-colon. Oh well. Sign of the times.)

As for the Norton edition, it's the only one to buy. Bronte makes the assumption that you have read the Bible cover-to-cover a zillion times, and for those of us who have not read it through once, Norton's annotations are more than helpful---they're essential to understanding the novel's Christian allusions. This edition also provides the reader with critical essays, contexts of Bronte's life, Bronte's reactions to critics of her day, etc.

Bottom line: you can get the Dover Thrift edition for a couple bucks, but, if you are interested in giving this classic more than a cursory read, this edition is worth the extra money.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By E. Strickenburg on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you already love this book - with its lush style, gothic suspense, striking characters, and passionate romance - but are still looking for the right edition to purchase, search no more. You've found it.

In addition to nicely laid-out typeface and margins, this edition has truly helpful footnotes. They point out the origin of obscure quotations, the meanings of archaic words, and the translations of the smattering of French interspersed throughout the book. Footnotes are found at the bottom of the page within the text, taking away the need for unnecessary flipping to the back of the book. And unlike other footnotes I've read, they don't waste your time pointing out things that are fairly obvious.

At the end of the book is a section entitled "Contexts." This contains helpful biographical information about the author, not just in a summary format, but in actual source documents. We can read letters Charlotte Bronte wrote while at boarding school. Or parts of her journal while she was working as a governess. Or letters to her publisher. Or responses to her book written at the time of its publication.

A section of "Criticism" follows, containing six essays, which focus on everything from assessment of Jane and Mr. Rochester's interactions to a survey of film adaptations of the book. The essays are varied in their perspective and quite interesting to read. This edition was last released in 2001, so the survey of film adaptations doesn't cover the most recent versions, but is a fascinating look at the variation within the previous versions.

My only complaint about this edition is the cover. It is burnt orange in color, and the illustration isn't one I would have picked. But the quality of the edition certainly outweighs any aesthetic concerns with the cover.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're thinking of reading Jane Eyre, and you want to understand it, this edition is the one for you. The footnotes are very helpful, explaining the allusions to the Bible or older literature that you might not pick up on, as well as some of the vocabulary. The contemporary reviews in the back are great - everyone must read Elizabeth Rigby's review. Our culture has changed so much, we don't understand how revolutionary books like Jane Eyre once were. The essays of modern criticism are also very helpful. Someone did a very good job with this book.

A few reviewers wrote that Jane Eyre is not entertaining or something. Actually, it is if you understand it. To me, Jane Eyre is up there with Shakespeare, the Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye as some of the deepest, most well thought-out stories I know of. It is a book to read 2 or 3 times before you draw your conclusion.

So - in short - read Jane Eyre, and use the Norton Critical Edition.
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27 of 32 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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