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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,755 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.

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

Great book, and this edition is just so beautiful.
Amazon Customer
The way in which Shaw portrays such strong characters in this play makes it irresistable.
Alecia
Jane Eyre is probably one of my favorites in classic literature.
Shelley D. Brook

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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18 of 21 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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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
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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