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Pygmalion (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged


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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: 2 x 3.3 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Shaw's best works, Pygmalion is a perceptive comedy of wit and wisdom about the spunky 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

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

In the course of his long and prolific career, George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) wrote 60 plays, in addition to music and literary criticism. An avid socialist, he regarded his writing as a vehicle for promoting his political and humanitarian views.

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Customer Reviews

He sculpted a statue of a beautiful woman with which he fell in love.
Loren D. Morrison
I have always enjoyed this classic play, I recommend it to anyone and everyone who has an appreciation for well written works and enjoys pure entertainment.
Carleton Kate
The play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is a work of comedy, satire and wit which is difficultly revelled.
Alecia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 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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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By christine on September 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pygmalion is a brilliant success by George Bernard Shaw to modernize the legendary Greek tale of a sculptor who falls in love with his artsitic creation and wishes to bring her to life. The rags-to-riches tale of Eliza Doolittle captivates the reader with its fast paced storyline, and witty dialogue. Shaw fascinates the reader with complicated characters such as Henry Higgins, Doolittle, and Colonel Pickering. Set in England, during a period of sophistication and elegance, Higgins and Pickering were faced with the seemingly impossible task of transforming a filthy flower girl (Eliza) into a beautiful duchess. The outrageous antics that ensue are both humorous and entertaining. Shaw's playful dialogue and timeless plot have been updated to fit the social and cultural standards of our time. For example, Alan Jay Lerner's My Fair Lady is an internationally acclaimed musical adaptation of Shaw's classic play. 1999 brought yet another adaptation of Pygmalion, in the form of the film She's All That, penned by R. Lee Fleming Jr. This teen comedy brings a new twist to the classic characters of Shaw's play. Pygmalion is a quick read and an enjoyable way to spend the day, and the characters in the story will remain with you forever.
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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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on May 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished. -George Bernard Shaw
Though almost universally interpreted as a critical statement on the artificiality of class and social status, Pygmalion is really just an update of Paradise Lost and the Genesis story of the Fall of Man. This is most obvious from the way that Shaw changes the ending of the classic myth from which he borrows the plot and title and by his referring several times to Henry Higgins as Miltonic. The original Pygmalion was a character in Ovid's Metamorphoses, a woman-hating sculptor who chiseled a perfect female out of stone. He became so enamored with his creation that he asked the gods to grant her life. Venus answered his prayers, turning the statue into a living woman, Galatea, whom Pygmalion then married.
In his version of the Pygmalion tale, Shaw eschews this happy ending and, whether wittingly or no, turns the story into a Biblical allegory. Henry Higgins takes the role of God :
You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. I could even get her a place as lady's maid or shop assistant, which requires better English. Thats the sort of thing I do for commercial millionaires. And on the profits of it I do genuine scientific work in phonetics, and a little as a poet on Miltonic lines.
Lifting Liza--who it must be noted is a flower girl, deriving her living from the products of the garden, get it?--up from the gutter (note the implication that she is dirt), Higgins turns her into a cultured woman, remakes her in his own image, only to find himself taken with his creation.
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