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Pygmalion (eBook)

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My Fair Lady has been a favorite movie for generations. The story of Eliza and Henry Higgins was first told in Shaw's book Pygmalion. George Bernard was born in Dublin in 1856. Before becoming a playwright he wrote music and literary criticism. Shaw used his writing to attack social problems such as education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privileg My Fair Lady has been a favorite movie for generations. The story of Eliza and Henry Higgins was first told in Shaw's book Pygmalion. George Bernard was born in Dublin in 1856. Before becoming a playwright he wrote music and literary criticism. Shaw used his writing to attack social problems such as education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege. Shaw was particularly conscious of the exploitation of the working class. Shaw was the only person to win a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Oscar for the play Pygmalion. The word Pygmalion refers to in ancient Greek mythology where a sculptor fell in love with his statue. In Pygmalion Professor Henry Higgins, a speech teacher, transforms a Cockney flower girl into an elegant woman with regal bearing. As in all good stories Eliza and Henry eventually work through their differences and fall in love.


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My Fair Lady has been a favorite movie for generations. The story of Eliza and Henry Higgins was first told in Shaw's book Pygmalion. George Bernard was born in Dublin in 1856. Before becoming a playwright he wrote music and literary criticism. Shaw used his writing to attack social problems such as education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privileg My Fair Lady has been a favorite movie for generations. The story of Eliza and Henry Higgins was first told in Shaw's book Pygmalion. George Bernard was born in Dublin in 1856. Before becoming a playwright he wrote music and literary criticism. Shaw used his writing to attack social problems such as education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege. Shaw was particularly conscious of the exploitation of the working class. Shaw was the only person to win a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Oscar for the play Pygmalion. The word Pygmalion refers to in ancient Greek mythology where a sculptor fell in love with his statue. In Pygmalion Professor Henry Higgins, a speech teacher, transforms a Cockney flower girl into an elegant woman with regal bearing. As in all good stories Eliza and Henry eventually work through their differences and fall in love.

30 review for Pygmalion (eBook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    Reposting in honor of George Bernard Shaw's birthday, July 26. I am writing this review to honor my grandmother who recently passed away. I lost track of the number of times we listened to the soundtrack of My Fair Lady either in her car, her apartment, or my house growing up. To me Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, and Colonel Pickering are as much the actors who played them as they are are the memories I created with my grandmother and great aunt while watching the movie or listening to its time Reposting in honor of George Bernard Shaw's birthday, July 26. I am writing this review to honor my grandmother who recently passed away. I lost track of the number of times we listened to the soundtrack of My Fair Lady either in her car, her apartment, or my house growing up. To me Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, and Colonel Pickering are as much the actors who played them as they are are the memories I created with my grandmother and great aunt while watching the movie or listening to its timeless songs. By the time I finally read Pygmalion in script form in eighth grade English class and then subsequently watched the movie in class, I had the entire script memorized. My entire class asked me for assistance in all the assignments associated with this unit, and of course, I demurred. Ask me today, I still have most of the songs memorized, which of course came from Shaw's brilliant script. My daughters' favorite classic film is My Fair Lady because of the gorgeous costumes they see at Ascot race track and the Royal ball. But what makes this Cinderella story timeless is not the costumes but the prose down to the last line, "Eliza, where the devil are my slippers." For those who have not read this tale or seen the film, take the time to do so. You too could be captivated by Eliza the flower girl turned language pupil and create generations of memories.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    "Eliza has no use for the foolish romantic tradition that all women love to be mastered, if not actually bullied and beaten," says G.B.Shaw in the afterword to his famous play.By the way, I think this quote should be memorized and repeated on the daily basis by the contemporary authors, especially in the YA genre, who attempt to create female characters. Really. Maybe I can start a campaign encouraging authors' awareness of this quote. Hmmmm...This was one of the first plays I've ever read, and "Eliza has no use for the foolish romantic tradition that all women love to be mastered, if not actually bullied and beaten,"¹ says G.B.Shaw in the afterword to his famous play.¹By the way, I think this quote should be memorized and repeated on the daily basis by the contemporary authors, especially in the YA genre, who attempt to create female characters. Really. Maybe I can start a campaign encouraging authors' awareness of this quote. Hmmmm...This was one of the first plays I've ever read, and to this day is one of my favorites. The combination of Shaw's wit and satire with creating an amazingly strong heroine was a treat to read! The play is brilliant, as witnessed by its continuing success - but it's the afterword from the author that ultimately made it into a five-star read. The afterword that takes this story and makes it wonderfully and firmly grounded in reality (even if it's a reality with somewhat outdated early 20th century reasoning). The many faces of Eliza Doolittle. Most people know this story, right? If not from reading the play then from seeing the classic Hollywood's production of My Fair Lady musical, right? The 1912 story of a simple London Cockney flower girl Eliza who learns how to speak like a proper British lady from a renown phoneticist (and, honestly, a rather miserable person) Henry Higgins. Both Higgins and Eliza have remarkably strong characters and no wonder that problems ensue (well, because of that and because of the fact that a well-mannered British woman in the early 20th century seemingly did not really have that many choices besides finding herself a man). According to the famous movie, sparks also fly between Eliza and Higgins. But do they, really? In the words of Shaw himself, "Nevertheless, people in all directions have assumed, for no other reason than that she became the heroine of a romance, that she must have married the hero of it."And that's where the Audrey Hepburn movie lost me. After all, haven't the movie makers read the famous afterword by Shaw himself (and I honestly think that it's just as interesting as the play itself!), where he painstakingly details the future lives of his characters and destroys every notion of the happily ever after for Eliza and Higgins - the ever-after that was already clearly doomed in the play itself:"LIZA [desperate]: Oh, you are a cruel tyrant. I can't talk to you: you turn everything against me: I'm always in the wrong. But you know very well all the time that you're nothing but a bully. You know I can't go back to the gutter, as you call it, and that I have no real friends in the world but you and the Colonel. You know well I couldn't bear to live with a low common man after you two; and it's wicked and cruel of you to insult me by pretending I could. You think I must go back to Wimpole Street because I have nowhere else to go but father's. But don't you be too sure that you have me under your feet to be trampled on and talked down. I'll marry Freddy, I will, as soon as he's able to support me." After all, it would not be in character for Eliza, who is not really a romantic character but a strong, pragmatic, and independent young woman who would not settle for a life of bringing Higgins his slippers (oh, that awful last line of the movie!!!) and being ignored; a woman who is not beyond a well-aimed slippers throw to the face:"This being the state of human affairs, what is Eliza fairly sure to do when she is placed between Freddy and Higgins? Will she look forward to a lifetime of fetching Higgins's slippers or to a lifetime of Freddy fetching hers? There can be no doubt about the answer. Unless Freddy is biologically repulsive to her, and Higgins biologically attractive to a degree that overwhelms all her other instincts, she will, if she marries either of them, marry Freddy. And that is just what Eliza did."No, Eliza Doolittle is not a woman to be ignored. She is a strong, independent and level-headed heroine who has guts and self-worth even before her 'magical' lady-like transformation. She knows what she wants, and she determinedly sets out on the path that she thinks would lead her to her dream - working in a flower shop. She may be comical and pathetic in the beginning - but she knows she's not nothing (unlike the view of her that Henry Higgins has). She stands up for herself even when she is clearly in an unfavorable situation - a woman vs. a man, a social nothing vs. a respected gentleman, a physically weaker creature vs. a physically more intimidating one:"I won't be called a baggage when I've offered to pay like any lady." And from the afterword: "Even had there been no mother-rival, she would still have refused to accept an interest in herself that was secondary to philosophic interests." And her feeling of self-worth only increases as the horizons of the society open up more for her. She refuses to play second fiddle even to a powerful and intimidating Higgins. The thing is - Higgins, contrary to his belief, did not "create" Eliza, like the famous literary Pygmalion created his Galatea; he merely gave her more power to achieve what she wants. And what she wants does not include being ignored and fetching him his bloody slippers. He is a strong man - well, she is an equally strong woman who will have what's best for her. And even if in the end - the afterword - Eliza's independence is not complete and she continues to owe a lot to the duo of Higgins and Pickering - but again, somehow on her own terms."But to admire a strong person and to live under that strong person's thumb are two different things." This was my first time reading this play in English, and reading it in the language it was intended to be read in highlighted even more the brilliance of Shaw as a playwright and the exquisite humor of it. Shaw skillfully deconstructs the notions of the British class system - and does it with easily felt pleasure and enjoyment, and continues to do so in the afterword, which I enjoyed so much. In the end, it's not about Eliza becoming a lady on Henry Higgins' terms; it's all about the shrewd future florist/greengrocer Eliza, and that's the awesomeness of it. It is an excellent read, a timeless one, thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. Easy 5 stars!"Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: his relation to her is too godlike to be altogether agreeable."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dave Hill

    This is fun to read out loud in crazy English accents while stomping around your apartment. The neighbors might not like it but screw 'em.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological figure. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1913. In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story called Pygmalion and Galatea that was Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological figure. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1913. In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story called Pygmalion and Galatea that was first presented in 1871. Shaw would also have been familiar with the burlesque version, Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed. Shaw's play has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the musical My Fair Lady and its film version. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 2007 میلادی عنوان: پیگمالیون؛ نویسنده: جرج برنارد شاو؛ از نمایشنامه «پیگمالیون» به‌ عنوان درخشان‌ترین و ماندگارترین اثر جرج برنارد شاو یاد می‌کنند. در پیگمالیون زبان‌شناس خودپسندی به نام «هنری هیگینس» شرط می‌بندد، که می‌تواند از یک دختر گلفروش و ولگرد لندنی، یک زن اشرافزاده بسازد. «الیزا» که با لهجه ی مردم کوچه و بازار صحبت می‌کند، زیر نظر این زبان‌شناس، زبان و لهجه ی اشرافزادگان را فرامی‌گیرد، و با وجود آنکه می‌تواند خودش را در محافل اشرافی، جا بزند، اما از درک گفته‌های توخالی آن‌ها عاجز است، و گاه هم از روی لغزش‌های زبانی، دشنام‌های کوچه و بازاری می‌دهد، که این‌ها همه در مجموع، موقعیت‌های شرم‌آور، اما خنده‌ داری به وجود می‌آورند. در این میان آنچه که اهمیت دارد، رابطه ی «هنری»، و «الیزا» ست. «هنری» بیش از آنکه به نیازهای «الیزا»، به عنوان یک زن توجه داشته باشد، به تصویری که از او در محافل اشرافی به‌ وجود آورده، دلباخته است. «الیزا» هم پیش از آنکه این دو به وصال هم برسند، عطای «هنری» را به لقایش می‌بخشد، و گلفروشی را، به زندگانی در کنار این مرد از خود راضی، ترجیح می‌دهد. پیگمالیون: تصادم دو فرهنگ، و دو لایه از اجتماع است. خودپسندی یکی، و تلاش دیگری، برای رسیدن به فردیت، و آزاد ساختن خود، از قید و بند توقعات دیگران. پیگمالیون، در اصل یک شخصیت اساطیری در یونان باستان است. او مجسمه‌ سازی‌ ست که مجسمه ی زنی را می‌سازد و عاشق آفریده‌ ی خویش می‌شود. در ضیافتی که ونوس برگزار می‌کند، پیگمالیون از ونوس استدعا می‌کند، که به آفریده ی دست او، جان بخشد. ونوس هم خواسته او را برآورده می‌کند، و چنین است که این هنرمند مجسمه‌ ساز به وصال مجسمه‌ ای که خود ساخته، و سپس جان گرفته، می‌رسد، و با او به خوبی و خوشی زندگی می‌کند. جرج برنارد شاو، اسطوره ی پیگمالیون را، با متن زندگی در لندن، در سال‌های نخست قرن بیستم میلادی سازگار می‌کند، اما پیش از آنکه «هنری» زبان‌شناس را، به وصال دختر گلفروش برساند، نشان می‌دهد که «الیزا»، چگونه به‌ تدریج از نظر شخصیتی، تحول پیدا می‌کند، با خواسته‌ ها و توقعاتش از زندگی، آشنا می‌شود، به نیرنگ و فریبکاری «هنری» پی می‌برد، و آفریدگار خود را ترک می‌کند. در ادبیات فارسی، دو داستان کوتاه «عنتری که لوطی‌ اش مرده بود» اثر «صادق چوبک»، و «زنی که مردش را گم کرده بود» اثر «صادق هدایت»، هر کذام از زاویه‌ ای به این موضوع پرداخته‌ اند. براساس نمایش پیگمالیون، بعدها، در اواسط سال‌های دهه 50 سده بیستم میلادی، یک موزیکال هم با عنوان «بانوی زیبای من» روی صحنه آمد، که آنهم در تاریخ ادبیات نمایشی غرب، یک حادثه به‌ شمار می‌آید. ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    3.5 stars "… you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul." Even if you are not already familiar with George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, I’m sure you are likely acquainted with either the on-stage musical version or movie adaptation titled My Fair Lady. I have fond memories of my high school’s producti 3.5 stars "… you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul." Even if you are not already familiar with George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, I’m sure you are likely acquainted with either the on-stage musical version or movie adaptation titled My Fair Lady. I have fond memories of my high school’s production of this classic tale. I adored the music and my favorite scene was the Ascot Races. My fifteen-year old self was thrilled to don the gorgeous dress and feather hat of a lady attending the races. And those lyrics to “I Could Have Danced All Night” still pop into my head on occasion even all these years later (no I most certainly did not play the role of Eliza Doolittle!) Decades later I finally got around to reading the play on which the musical was based. Professor Henry Higgins is a renowned phoneticist who takes on a bet and an experiment of sorts with Colonel Pickering to turn a common, street-corner flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a well-bred lady, simply by changing her language and her dress. The ultimate goal is to pass her off as a ‘duchess’ at the ambassador’s garden party. Eliza, with a dream of owning her own flower shop someday, agrees to the ‘project.’ The ensuing dialogue is sharp and entertaining! Shaw makes some brilliant statements about social class and gender distinctions through his characters. What I had forgotten, or perhaps it was not as glaringly obvious to me years ago, is that Professor Higgins is a bit of an ass! "Well, when I've done with her, we can throw her back into the gutter; and then it will be her own business again; so that's all right." I had to set aside my dislike and realize that this is one of the points Shaw is trying to get across – societal expectations and the objectification of women, among others. The ability to make change is inherent in each one of us, however, and can provide the freedom necessary to find a better station in life. My first attempt to actually read George Bernard Shaw was rather a success, although I still prefer actually seeing a play to reading one. Perhaps I just had a bit of nostalgia for this and wanted more of a visual experience. Nevertheless, I’d rate this 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars! "If I can't have kindness, I'll have independence."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A lot of my reading at the moment seems to revolve around the relationship between art and artist, creator and creation. Reading other reviews on "Pygmalion", I realise how strange my approach to it was, and how disappointed I was at first because my expectations were not met. I chose it as part of a reading challenge I set myself a couple of years ago - to read all Nobel Laureates in literature. The title appealed to me, and I was thrilled to explore a modernist's take on the ancient myth of Pyg A lot of my reading at the moment seems to revolve around the relationship between art and artist, creator and creation. Reading other reviews on "Pygmalion", I realise how strange my approach to it was, and how disappointed I was at first because my expectations were not met. I chose it as part of a reading challenge I set myself a couple of years ago - to read all Nobel Laureates in literature. The title appealed to me, and I was thrilled to explore a modernist's take on the ancient myth of Pygmalion. Believe it or not, I had never realised that "My Fair Lady", which I love, is based on this play, and I waited for GREEK characters to show up, as I had been immersing myself in Enlightenment art concerned with the artistic questions raised in the Pygmalion story. Falconet's sculpture of the misogynistic sculptor falling in love with his own creation, kneeling in front of the carefully chiselled woman, praying to Aphrodite to make her come alive, - that was what I was waiting for! I kept wondering about the charming cockney and 19th century scientific approach to social class distinctions. I enjoyed the reading experience, but could not make sense of it at all. Don't judge a book by its title, I was inclined to say, until it dawned on me all of a sudden that: a) Shaw's "Pygmalion" was linked to the musical "My Fair Lady", and b) Higgins had more than a trace of Pygmalion, in fact was his modern alter ego. Just like the ancient artist, he did not quite expect the outcome of his experiment, and Eliza Doolittle, like so many other literary creatures, does a beautiful job of emancipating herself from her creator. Art is quite amazing that way: as soon as it enters the world, it has a life of its own, and the artist is forced to watch its development together with other spectators. I like that idea, as it symbolises the relationship between older and younger generations as well: we are nurtured and shaped by our parents' choices, but when we grow up, the freedom and responsibility is ours. In a way, Frankenstein and Moreau's monsters in The Island of Doctor Moreau demonstrate the same emancipation process, and I don't think it is a coincidence that artists and writers of the 19th century were obsessed with that theme, as the world went through major political, social, economic and scientific changes. Shaw showed wonderful creativity when transforming the ancient myth into modern life while keeping the essential questions alive. And his creation lives its own, independent life as well! Must-read for anyone interested in the eternal human questions, as well as 19th/20th century social history. Along with O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra", this is my favourite merging of myth and modern drama!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    Pygmalion was an ancient Greek legend, who was a sculptor and a king. He fell in love with his own ivory statue of his own ideal woman. He prayed. In response to his prayer, the Goddess gave life to the statue and then the king married it. This much of information was sufficient for me to know why the title of this book was chosen by G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion. I very much liked the character of Mr. Higgins in the play. He is a professor and scientist of phonetics and very confident about his knowl Pygmalion was an ancient Greek legend, who was a sculptor and a king. He fell in love with his own ivory statue of his own ideal woman. He prayed. In response to his prayer, the Goddess gave life to the statue and then the king married it. This much of information was sufficient for me to know why the title of this book was chosen by G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion. I very much liked the character of Mr. Higgins in the play. He is a professor and scientist of phonetics and very confident about his knowledge and acumen. While reading the book I realized that everyone is like Pygmalion. Everyone likes and adores whatever is created by him or her. Three years old daughter of my neighbor first makes a bridge from the cards and then claps and laughs seeing it, and during this spree when someone breaks it or it is shattered by the wind, she weeps. She perhaps loves her creation. Though momentary, she expresses the feelings of love and pain with a unique sort of fervor to those childish maneuvers and efforts. I too was probably like Pygmalion when I was a kid, but unlike this small daughter of my neighbor, I did not feel pain when one day my creation was destroyed! My creation was a cat made up of snow. When one day there occurred, an event of a very heavy snow fall, all houses and trees were covered with the white sheet of snow and remained covered for a few days. I made a sculpture of cat of the snow, just outside the window of my room. It was not an exact replica of a cat, In fact it looked like a small cow, a bit bulky in size and a bit distorted but still it was a cat for me and I had placed a few whiskers of string on its front bulging shape, which according to me was the mouth of my cat, and I inserted two small round glass shooters, a few inches above those whiskers to make them look like eyes of my cat. My this awkward looking cat remained there just outside the window of my room for two days possibly. There was not at all sunshine for two days. Temperature was below zero and snow did not melt. I kept watching my cat again and again and adored its ludicrous shape during those two days. Then third day Sun shone with all its brilliance and in the very morning time itself, my cat melted away and disappeared. But I did not feel bad as I knew by that time if snow would be there again, I would recreate my cat again. However in that season there was no snowfall again. And in the next season, I was one year older and the Pygmalion within me was now matured enough to make other kind of creations ! Actually I am talking all this rubbish because these two events just flashed over my mind when I was reading this play. The character of Prof Higgins was very much like me, when I was a kid …. Overconfident and heartless ! I read this book for the first time and this was a wonderful experience. Then I watched the 1938 movie of Leslie Howard as Professor Henry Higgins and Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle and this movie extraordinarily complemented my experience of reading the book. What a fine movie and wonderful acting by its cast! The only difference between the play and the movie was its ending. Shaw kept his play realistic but there is a different ending in the movie, there might have been commercial reasons behind this change! There are 5 acts in this play. The beginning of this play is so sweet. Thunders and then rain.People rushing into the shelters…. closing a dripping umbrella… in the street. A street flower girl calling the name of a young man and then a mother and daughter asking the street flower girl…. “Now tell me how you know that young gentleman’s name?” Prof. Higgins, a scientist of phonetics, takes a challenge that he will be able to transform the cockney speaking Covent Garden flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a woman as poised and well-spoken as a duchess. He meets his challenge wonderfully. “There are such fools that they think style comes by nature to people in their position; and so they never learn. There is always something professional about doing a thing superlatively well.” Higgins is so obsessed with his work and knowledge that he hardly appreciates anything else, whether they are emotions or other trivial felicities of our surroundings .When Liza feels something for him and he denies her. She feels letdown. Liza : what did you do it for if you didn’t care for me ? Higgins : Why , because it was my job. Liza : you never thought of the trouble it would make for me. Higgins : Would the world ever have been made if its maker had been afraid of making trouble. There is only one way of escaping trouble; and that’s killing things. Cowards, you notice, are always shrieking to have trouble some people killed. Probably many people are already familiar with story and they have seen many movies based on the play, but for me this was first time. Even in my school days I missed this book, so a highly satisfying five star read for me. This enriched me on many levels. I am quenched!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I was surprised.......this is not a love story. I only vaguely remember the musical, and the outcome I envisioned is not what happens in the play.I remember Eliza Dolittle as a poor flower girl, and the bet between two upper class gentlemen to turn a street "guttersnipe" into a proper lady, but not the horribly chauvinistic treatment she receives or the choices she makes in the end.Totally enjoyed it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    SPOILER!! A fountainhead of inspiration for countless projects, Pygmalion is actually not about love, and, this being a Shaw play, is all about social classes, manners and, what? phonetics. Also about humanity—about the power-play inherent in all types of relationships. Higgins, undeniably a gay man completely up to give the Betty a total overhaul, is not loveable, not even likeable. He's a tyrant—but he is written o-so-well, with British wit to spare. He is the prototypical academic—a sociopath, SPOILER!! A fountainhead of inspiration for countless projects, Pygmalion is actually not about love, and, this being a Shaw play, is all about social classes, manners and, what? phonetics. Also about humanity—about the power-play inherent in all types of relationships. Higgins, undeniably a gay man completely up to give the Betty a total overhaul, is not loveable, not even likeable. He's a tyrant—but he is written o-so-well, with British wit to spare. He is the prototypical academic—a sociopath, even. Eliza Doolittle, however, well, her character has made it into the popular consciousness: at once naïve and downtrodden, she is eager to learn, she is motivated to become better than who she is. Her lines drip with syrup—but I like her a lot, too. Alas, this is something quite unexpected. The plot itself is pretty dull. We get no lessons from Higgins, we only see the transformation complete. The metamorphosis and the theme of taking on human projects has been recycled, as I’ve said, to no end. But the ending is quite extraordinary: instead of the usual romantic finale, the ending we are given stops only on the stage, but Shaw continues an epilogue for his most famous play, telling the reader why Eliza chooses Freddy over (he’s gay!) Higgins. Incredibly realistic, this unromantic end. Shaw is definitely a realist—yet it’s difficult not to find most of his works instantaneously endearing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    If you happen to be the Wayans Brothers and are stuck for ideas about where your next racist, sexist, gratuituously offensive comedy is going to come from, have you considered doing a gender- and color-reversed version of Pygmalion? I feel it has real potential. My first thought is to reunite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher from Guess Who. Mac, in drag, plays Henrietta, a black linguist who bets her friend Picky (Oprah) that she can turn preppy white-boy Kutcher into a bro' within six weeks. Here' If you happen to be the Wayans Brothers and are stuck for ideas about where your next racist, sexist, gratuituously offensive comedy is going to come from, have you considered doing a gender- and color-reversed version of Pygmalion? I feel it has real potential. My first thought is to reunite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher from Guess Who. Mac, in drag, plays Henrietta, a black linguist who bets her friend Picky (Oprah) that she can turn preppy white-boy Kutcher into a bro' within six weeks. Here's the warm-up joke, which I was told many years ago at a linguistics conference by a black colleague: So there's this black dude and this white dude, and they're arguing about what color God is. In the end, they agree that there's only one way to find out. They get down on their knees, and they pray to God to reveal this important piece of information to His unworthy servants. There's a peal of thunder, and then they hear this booming voice from the sky saying: I AM WHAT I AM "Well, you was right!" says the black dude. "Cuz if He was black, He'd have said 'Ah IS what Ah IS!'"

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    #9 of my 2018 Shaw Project Many people consider this to be Shaw's best play. I'm not among them (nor is Major Barbara for that matter). With that being said, I adore this script. I do feel it is among Shaw's most accessible works. The basis for the much beloved, happily-ever-after Lerner & Lowe musical, George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion takes a much firmer tack on questions of class distinctions and female independence. Those themes, so dear to Shaw’s progressive heart, end up rather #9 of my 2018 Shaw Project Many people consider this to be Shaw's best play. I'm not among them (nor is Major Barbara for that matter). With that being said, I adore this script. I do feel it is among Shaw's most accessible works. The basis for the much beloved, happily-ever-after Lerner & Lowe musical, George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion takes a much firmer tack on questions of class distinctions and female independence. Those themes, so dear to Shaw’s progressive heart, end up rather heartwarmingly watered down in My Fair Lady. But Pygmalion ~~ it is all charmingly amusing and remarkably undated. It is nearly flawless. Shaw's insistence on language as the vital instrument of power and oppression goes beyond his customary explorations of class, nationalism and feminism. With story and dialogue by Shaw, there is little to complain about here. Pygmalion is Shaw at his best.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    I watched My fair Lady about twenty years ago and all I remember is that a linguistic professor taking in a common flower girl to teach her proper language and speech and to improve her behaviour so that she'll become a lady. I didn't know then that the musical was based on the play Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. I acquired that knowledge very recently. I cannot remember much details of the musical so the reading of the play was quite fresh. The Pygmalion, the play, is centered on Henry Higgins, a p I watched My fair Lady about twenty years ago and all I remember is that a linguistic professor taking in a common flower girl to teach her proper language and speech and to improve her behaviour so that she'll become a lady. I didn't know then that the musical was based on the play Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. I acquired that knowledge very recently. I cannot remember much details of the musical so the reading of the play was quite fresh. The Pygmalion, the play, is centered on Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics and Eliza Doolittle, a common flower girl. Higgins makes it his "project" to reform Eliza and makes her a "duchess". He is successful in his project but he has to face certain consequences that were not anticipated. Under this light story line, Bernard Shaw exposes few powerful themes. The major one is the speech and language defect in the lower classes of the English society. Eliza represents them. Her life story is a blatant example of the lives of men and women of lower class. Their lack of education and inability speak proper English made their life circumstances dire. They were confirmed to very low jobs and to become even a shop assistant is beyond reach. Shaw advocates the value of education irrespective of the gender. Another is the class difference and attitude of the higher classes toward the low class. Professor Higgins represents a higher class. His treatment to Eliza and the likes generally shows that the class Higgins represents does not see the likes of Eliza as humans with feelings. They are only mere objects to be used and then sent to the "gutter" as Professor Higgins so shamelessly states. Finally, Shaw addresses the issue of women's position in the English society. Eliza is a "project" for Higgins and he keeps her in the house without any thought to her future. And when his "project" triumphs, all he does his expresses his relief that finally it was over. When Eliza hurt and leaves the house, Higgins wants her back because he is "used to the sound of her voice and appearance". Using the cold and snobbish character of Higgins, Shaw portrays how women are seen and viewed. In men's eyes they are nothing but objects to be possessed, used, abused and manipulated. Higgins does not value Eliza. What is valuable to him is his creation, just like Pygmalion who loved the statue which he carved. Her leaving to find her independence and following her heart to be with one who appreciates her is Shaw's way of signifying the women's emerging fight for independence. Overall, this was an interesting play with witty dialogues, satire and powerful themes. Simple writing and the light story line made this very much fun to read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    This is the last book I will finish in 2012 as there are only 6 hours remaining in my day. It is certainly a fitting book (or rather play inside a book) to end the year on. For Pygmalion is a story about new beginnings and about transformation. What better book to symbolise the changing of the year, I say! The classic musical My Fair Lady is perhaps my favourite musical film that I have seen. The acting is superb, the plotting excellent and all the music serves to add to the humorous feel of the This is the last book I will finish in 2012 as there are only 6 hours remaining in my day. It is certainly a fitting book (or rather play inside a book) to end the year on. For Pygmalion is a story about new beginnings and about transformation. What better book to symbolise the changing of the year, I say! The classic musical My Fair Lady is perhaps my favourite musical film that I have seen. The acting is superb, the plotting excellent and all the music serves to add to the humorous feel of the film. If you've seen My Fair Lady the plot of Pygmalion will not be too unfamiliar to you. It is the tale of one professor of phonetics by the name of Henry Higgins who makes a bet that he can transform a girl from the street, Eliza Doolittle, into a woman of breeding - a lady - simply by changing her vocabulary and language. Of course if you have seen the musical I must add that the ending in Pygmalion is different, in a way that suits the differences apparent in the play. The author of this play, George Bernard Shaw, is an interesting character. A man credited with wanting to use the intricacies of the English language to spell 'fish' as 'ghoti'. Which makes indefinitely more sense, who wouldn't want to catch a ghoti? I say 'credited' because various references indicate he likely did not come up with the idea in the first place. Bernard Shaw also won an oscar for the screenplay for My Fair Lady, which makes the differences between the two very interesting to observe. However it is clear as to why Bernard Shaw, with his obsession with language, chose to write a play with a phonetician as its protagonist, something not often done in literature. The two notable themes I observed in this play are the presence and power of language as it connects to everyday life and also the idea of responsibility for that which we create. This second idea is apparent in connection particularly to the various mythological and literary references visible in Pygmalion. Language Language, I have always believed, is power. It is the power to shape the world and change lives. If you've seen the incredible Dead Poets Society you may remember (apart from 'carpe diem') the line about how language was made to 'woo women'. I believe language is far more than about romance or emotion however, though the idea in that line when expanded holds true: that language can influence people. Why else do we have the Biblical creation story where 'And God said "let there be light", and there was light.' (Genesis 1:3)? Why else do we have countless fairytales and fantasy stories where magic is produced through speaking language? Why do we find that the great leaders of all time were also great writers, thinkers and orators? Think of Winston Churchill or Adolf Hitler, a man who manipulated people with words! It is because words, language, has power. Power to affect our thinking processes, those parts of us connected to language and which control us. Language is what truly separates us from animals in many ways. In Pygmalion language is shown in its transformative ability. The language of Liza Doolittle to begin with is atrocious and as such she belongs to the streets, selling flowers. Later she becomes a lady, largely thanks to the change of her vocabulary. It must also be noted, particularly in the garden party scene, how language among the upper classes is a thing of both culture and triviality. When Liza for a moment slips back into her street language the upper class gentry she is among think she is speaking with a new form of popular slang and though taken aback by her cursing something as 'bloody' consider this language progressive. Another instance of transformation is shown in Liza's father who has an eloquence with his tongue in regards to politics to begin with but later becomes a gentlemen because of this language ability. Literary References Pygmalion is full of references to literature. In particular John Milton's brilliant Paradise Lost (a must read for all literature lovers by the way), Frankenstein and the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. According to this myth Pygmalion was a sculptor who created the most beautiful and lifelike sculpture of a woman, having vowed he never would marry. He did however fall in love with this sculpture thanks to Venus (or Aphrodite depending on the version I suppose), who then conveniently transformed the statue into a real woman for Pygmalion to marry. Each of these stories have the main theme of the responsibility of the creator to the created. Paradise Lost observes the relationship between God and his creations in Satan, Adam and Eve; Frankenstein observes the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his creature; and the mythology of Pygmalion hints at the idea that it was Pygmalion's duty to look after Galatea (the statue) as a wife. George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion could be seen as a subtle subversion of the Pygmalion myth (view spoiler)[in how in the end Liza rejects her 'creator' though he has clearly fallen in love with her (hide spoiler)] . It further suggests that there is a moral obligation for a creator to care for the thing he has created, in Henry Higgins' case he had a duty to Liza (view spoiler)[and one which in the play he fails at (hide spoiler)] . Conclusion Pygmalion is a deep literary play which has fascinating themes about language and moral obligation. It is also a social critique (as the best plays, poems and novels are) challenging the way we live our lives. Though it is humorous and witty the most powerful aspect of this play is in how it reflects on our true reality, leading the audience to ultimately question 'who in the end is at fault?'

  14. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    My vision of Eliza Doolittle will always be Audrey Hepburn from the 1964 movie My Fair Lady. But eight years earlier (1956) Julie Andrews nailed her portrayal of Eliza in the Broadway production of the musical. Of course both of these award winning productions were based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In the first London stage production Eliza was performed by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Shaw having written it with her in mind because of their unrequited love affair. I enjoyed reading the p My vision of Eliza Doolittle will always be Audrey Hepburn from the 1964 movie My Fair Lady. But eight years earlier (1956) Julie Andrews nailed her portrayal of Eliza in the Broadway production of the musical. Of course both of these award winning productions were based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In the first London stage production Eliza was performed by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Shaw having written it with her in mind because of their unrequited love affair. I enjoyed reading the play; the characters so remarkably unique, and Shaw takes a slap at the British class conscious society, and especially it's impact on women.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaila

    4/5 stars “I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else.” Oh, I loved this play! It is hilarious, wildly entertaining and is also profound in its criticisms of class structure and traditional gender roles. If you have no idea what Pygmalion is, it is based of a Greek myth of the same name. Now, I'm lazy, and can't be bothered paraphrasing the myth to you or even researching it in detail for myself. Pygmalion is more commonly associated 4/5 stars “I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else.” Oh, I loved this play! It is hilarious, wildly entertaining and is also profound in its criticisms of class structure and traditional gender roles. If you have no idea what Pygmalion is, it is based of a Greek myth of the same name. Now, I'm lazy, and can't be bothered paraphrasing the myth to you or even researching it in detail for myself. Pygmalion is more commonly associated with the movie, My Fair Lady that is loosely based off of the play. Basically, just think of it as the inspiration for the Audrey Hepburn movie. Eliza is a common, poor woman who makes a living on selling flowers on the street. After an encounter with Mr. Higgins, a phoneticist who prides himself on everything regarding diction and speech, Eliza wishes for Mr. Higgins to change her voice to pass her off as a lady and get her out of the slums. Making a bet of the situation, Higgins says that in a matter of months he will be able to pass Eliza off as a duchess. Only, the chauvinistic, rude and quite frankly socially inept Higgins never thought of what would happen to Eliza after the experiment and failed to recognise her as an equal person instead of a mere "guttersnipe". “I can't turn your soul on. Leave me those feelings; and you can take away the voice and the face. They are not you.” I know that in my short description I made Higgins out to be some kind of awful character, but he actually brought most of the hilarity to the play. I believe that most of the time he didn't mean to be rude, he just didn't care or understand social customs. I think of him as just a few notches down from an olden day Sheldon Cooper. The way he interacted with people and used his blunt, matter-of-fact language made me laugh out loud on so many occasions. People who call all classics boring have obviously never read this play! I absolutely flew through this page which isn't exactly surprising since it's only around 100 pages long. But the play was just so entertaining and it never faltered. It made it so much better because I listened to the audiobook whilst reading it which I don't normally do. I've never been into audiobooks but this one was downright amazing and I truly believe that the play wouldn't have had such a great effect on me if I just read it. Plus, drama is meant to be performed and not just read like a book so the audiobook was just perfect for experiencing the play. “I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.” At face value, I found this to be a super entertaining, cute and hilarious play that I one day hope to see live. But after much consideration, I realise that it's much more profound and clever than just entertainment. Hours after reading it, I decided to pick it up again and read it again but much more critically. In this second reading, I realised how many clever and witty ways that the author criticised the class system and also gender roles. I always liked Eliza but I only really appreciated how strong she was whilst reading it for the second time. Now, I have this greater respect for the play and love it a whole lot more! Like many short stories and plays, I can't really give this five stars because it's always hard to get fully connected to a 100 page story. I'm also under the impression that I can never fully judge a play script until I've seen it in theatres or at least watch the play version on the internet. I do feel like this play is quite under appreciated and would love for more people to read it or see it! Trust me, it is so darn entertaining as well as profound, you won't regret experiencing it! FREDDY [opening the door for her] Are you walking across the Park, Miss Doolittle?   LIZA. Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi. [She goes out]. This was my favourite line in the play, though I don't know how funny it is out of context...but I just couldn't leave it out of my review!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    One of George Bernard Shaw’s most beloved plays, Pygmalion is the work on which the subsequent musical comedy, My Fair Lady, is based. But the two works have important differences. Shaw’s work is far less sentimental and is throughout more ambiguous, especially in its ending. Furthermore, in order that it might be readable, the accents of the various characters are not attempted in the text, except at the very beginning (primarily to show that it would be unreadable if attempted). Those readers One of George Bernard Shaw’s most beloved plays, Pygmalion is the work on which the subsequent musical comedy, My Fair Lady, is based. But the two works have important differences. Shaw’s work is far less sentimental and is throughout more ambiguous, especially in its ending. Furthermore, in order that it might be readable, the accents of the various characters are not attempted in the text, except at the very beginning (primarily to show that it would be unreadable if attempted). Those readers who are familiar with the musical will be reminded of many parallel episodes and even some precise lines of dialogue, but on the whole the play is more incisive, with more than a hint of bitterness. Because of demands on the part of readers and audiences for a happier and less uncertain ending, Shaw was frequently pressured to make changes, changes he resisted as being out of keeping with the story and his intent. Eventually he added a postscript essay, “What Happened Afterward,” and this is worth reading. Shaw’s plays make interesting reading in part because his stage directions and the editorial comments he makes throughout his writings illuminate the social and political issues and concerns that motivated much of his writing. This play includes many such, and they make rich reading. The reader is left pondering moral and social issues that are troubling, issues that are still with us today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    david

    Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse, Hear a Cornishman converse, I'd rather hear a choir singing flat. Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one! Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that? It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place. Not her wretched clothes and dirty face. Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? This verbal class distinction by now should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, Why, you might be selling flowe Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse, Hear a Cornishman converse, I'd rather hear a choir singing flat. Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one! Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that? It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place. Not her wretched clothes and dirty face. Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? This verbal class distinction by now should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, Why, you might be selling flowers, too. An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him, The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. One common language I'm afraid we'll never get. Oh, why can't the English learn to set A good example to people whose English is painful to your ears? The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. There even are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years! Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks have taught their Greek. In France every Frenchman knows his language fro "A" to "Zed" The French never care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce in properly. Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning. And Hebrews learn it backwards, which is absolutely frightening. But use proper English you're regarded as a freak. Why can't the English, Why can't the English learn to speak? -my fair lady (the musical) ****************** The original written publication of this play is just excellent on every level. Thumbs up. High five.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arybo ✨

    🇬🇧 My Fair Lady was the first film I saw with Audrey Hepburn, after attending the musical that was going around in Italy some time ago. I was a bit disturbed by the vision at the theater, not because I did not like the plot, but because of the attitude of the actors and the choice of the translation into Italian. Back home, I decided to watch the movie. And I fell in love with it. Literally. Now I know almost all the songs (in Italian, shame on me), and I still sing them as I clean my house. It 🇬🇧 My Fair Lady was the first film I saw with Audrey Hepburn, after attending the musical that was going around in Italy some time ago. I was a bit disturbed by the vision at the theater, not because I did not like the plot, but because of the attitude of the actors and the choice of the translation into Italian. Back home, I decided to watch the movie. And I fell in love with it. Literally. Now I know almost all the songs (in Italian, shame on me), and I still sing them as I clean my house. It was a long time that I wanted to read the true story of Shaw. I was not disappointed, although I expected a play a bit longer. I am happy to have read the end added by the author in 1941 (if I'm not mistaken). This finale is more understandable than that rewritten by television producers and others. In addition, I would like to say that the section on Pygmalion and Galatea in Ovid's Metamorphosis is one of the most beautiful pieces in the Latin literature. 💘 ——————- 🇮🇹My Fair Lady è stato il mio primo film con Audrey Hepburn, dopo aver assistito al musical che girava in Italia un po’ di tempo fa. Ero rimasta un po’ turbata dalla visione a teatro, non perché non mi fosse piaciuta la trama, quanto per l’atteggiamento degli attori e la scelta della traduzione in italiano. Tornata a casa, ho deciso di guardare il film. E me ne sono innamorata. Letteralmente. Ora conosco quasi tutte le canzoni (in italiano, shame on me), ed ancora le canto quanto pulisco casa. Era da tanto, quindi, che volevo leggere la storia vera di Shaw. Non sono rimasta delusa, sebbene mi aspettassi un play un po’ più corposo. Sono felice di aver letto la fine aggiunta dall’autore nel 1941 (se non sbaglio). È più comprensibile questo finale rispetto a quello riscritto da produttori televisivi e simili. In aggiunta, vorrei dire che la sezione riguardante Pigmalione e Galatea nelle Metamorfosi di Ovidio è una dei pezzi più belli nella letteratura latina.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    Reading the play out loud made me laugh a lot!!! It is smartly funny!!! It is a good piece for the one who is planning to change his or her life radically.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Shaw's Masterpiece 16 April 2010 Pygmalion, in my opinion, is Shaw's piece de resistance (if that is how you spell it). It is a masterpiece. While I can simply leave it at that I am compelled to say a lot more about this play, but first, the plot. Two English gentlemen (and when I read this book I wondered if it was implied that they were homosexual) bet as to whether they can take a street urchin and turn her into a lady by teaching her how to speak proper English. They do and the experiment is Shaw's Masterpiece 16 April 2010 Pygmalion, in my opinion, is Shaw's piece de resistance (if that is how you spell it). It is a masterpiece. While I can simply leave it at that I am compelled to say a lot more about this play, but first, the plot. Two English gentlemen (and when I read this book I wondered if it was implied that they were homosexual) bet as to whether they can take a street urchin and turn her into a lady by teaching her how to speak proper English. They do and the experiment is successful, and the bet is won. However the problem is that the woman, Eliza, is left in a difficult position as despite the fact that she is now educated, she is still a woman and has all the rights of a woman - which is none. So, while Henry Higgins has proven that he can turn a street urchin into a lady, she is still a woman and is left in the situation that she cannot do anything with the education that she now has. This play is an attack upon education and upon the status of women in early 20th Century England. They simply had no rights and while they could learn and they could appear to move among the gentry, the fact that they were women relegated them to a second class status. It is said that the system of education was one of the areas that Shaw attacked in his plays, and in this play we see how despite Liza having an education, she knows that she can do nothing with it, and is not recognised as having an education. This play has spawned a lot of duplicates, one of them being a play by Willy Russell called Educating Rita. I read that book in year 11 when I returned to high school and my English teacher loved it because he believed that it showed us how an education can change us. After reading Pygmalion I believed that that play was left for dead (and still do). However there are differences, namely that the status of women in the mid-twentieth century had changed dramatically. However, the theme is still the same, in that a woman from the working class, through education, was able to lift herself out of the working class. Another spawn would be an Eddie Murphy movie called Trading Places. Here two incredibly wealthy men make a bet that they could turn a bum into a successful Wall Street Trader, and turn the successful Wall Street Trader into a common criminal. Like Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, they succeed, but further, they have no understanding of the power of education, because after turning the bum into a successful trader, they realise that they cannot simply send him back to the streets. He has become educated, and in becoming educated he has the power to fight back, which he does so successfully. It is a shame that Shaw has disappeared into relative obscurity. I do not see any of his plays being performed (though being stuck in the little backwater that is Adelaide means that we see very little in the way of good theatre, or more correctly, what I consider good theatre). Still, beggars can't be choosers, but the educated have the world at their doorstep.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Is Mini

    I really don't know why Pygmalion is still called a romance. I mean, Shaw himself was very dissapointed at the fact that his socialistic drama became a success as a romance. Shaw wanted to liberate his play from the traditional conventions of a romance, that's why he reversed the romantic story by giving a different end, marking Eliza's emancipation and independence. If this was a typical love story, the two protagonists would have been married at the end. But Shaw implies that Mr. Higgings wil I really don't know why Pygmalion is still called a romance. I mean, Shaw himself was very dissapointed at the fact that his socialistic drama became a success as a romance. Shaw wanted to liberate his play from the traditional conventions of a romance, that's why he reversed the romantic story by giving a different end, marking Eliza's emancipation and independence. If this was a typical love story, the two protagonists would have been married at the end. But Shaw implies that Mr. Higgings will never accept ELiza as an equal even though she becomes economical and emotional independent from him at the end of the play. He wanted to attack the idea of subordination of women by creating a play of social utility that may help people in his age rethink their values and manners towards what he thought to be the most exploited creature on earth, women. So maybe it's time for Goodreads to change the title "a romance" because it does not reflect neither Shaw's intentions nor the play's true nature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.” I have seen “My Fair Lady” more times than I can count. I never get tired of it. Whether it’s school and community productions, Audrey Hepburn or Julia Roberts, it’s just a wonderful show. But until now, I’d never read it. And of course, this trumps them all. Pygmalion is only my second book of his, but I can say with confidence that I just love reading George Bernard Shaw. This is a captivating play about relationships and “You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.” I have seen “My Fair Lady” more times than I can count. I never get tired of it. Whether it’s school and community productions, Audrey Hepburn or Julia Roberts, it’s just a wonderful show. But until now, I’d never read it. And of course, this trumps them all. Pygmalion is only my second book of his, but I can say with confidence that I just love reading George Bernard Shaw. This is a captivating play about relationships and social hierarchy, with characters chalk full of personality, and rapid-fire, witty dialog. And then, as if he just can’t help himself, Shaw tops it off with an essay at the end; a wonderful treatise on marriage and “the state of human affairs.” It’s short, but densely packed. Highly recommended. “I have learnt something from your idiotic notions: I confess that humbly and gratefully. And I have grown accustomed to your voice and appearance. I like them, rather.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Great read. One you do not want to put down.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sera

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This play is the first one that I've read in a very long time. Although I am familiar with My Fair Lady, and I have seen the play a number of times, I had never read Pygmalion. I enjoyed the play very much, even though it is a much crueler story than I had anticipated. It's premise is that two men make a bet as to whether they can take a street urchin named Eliza Doolittle and change her to point where society deems her as royalty. After they win, the girl is tossed out into the street with all This play is the first one that I've read in a very long time. Although I am familiar with My Fair Lady, and I have seen the play a number of times, I had never read Pygmalion. I enjoyed the play very much, even though it is a much crueler story than I had anticipated. It's premise is that two men make a bet as to whether they can take a street urchin named Eliza Doolittle and change her to point where society deems her as royalty. After they win, the girl is tossed out into the street with all her new charm, but no idea how to fend for herself as the new Eliza until she fends for herself by finding a man marry and then supporting him, as well as their family. Shaw was a feminist throughout his life, and this book is his way of showing how men mistreat women, but that women are strong enough to overcome it and to take care of themselves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Chapelway

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't care what anybody says. Eliza and Higgins were meant for each other. They're my new non-cannon OTP. Also Pickering is a dear. That is all.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    Probably the favorite play read until now, which I have to admit are not many. A linguist makes a bet that he can turn a flower girl into a lady in 6 months. Both the girls and the linguist are strong characters and from there conflicts arise. By the end of the play they get attached to each other in a strange way. What I found special about the play was the afterword written by the author himself that explains in details how the life of the character will unfold.

  27. 4 out of 5

    LydiaMae

    3.5 stars There were some really great bits that I'd like to quote on the daily, but for some reason I felt really unsatisfied with the book as a whole. Maybe it was because it was written as a play and not a novel, I don't know...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    I'm honestly shocked at how much I enjoyed my read! I didn't expect to laugh for pretty much the entirety or reading about a strong female character who stands up for herself. Truly recommend this short play! (4.25)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Absolutely gorgeous. This short play is not only written brilliantly, but delivers an insanely original plot. Yes, we are all familiar with the myth of Pygmalion: but to make of Pygmalion a world renowned phoneticist, of Galatea a low-born flower seller and of the sculpting the teaching of proper English.... that is genius. Thoroughly enjoyable read that packs a philosophical punch, I only wish I'll at least once get to see it on a stage.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    Although I haven't watched "My Fair Lady," I've listened to some song or another to have a foggy idea of the plot, plus the name "Pygmalion" is a clue in itself, but I came to the play without expectations as to the story. And it was quite good for a majority of the plotline's development, funny even, right up to the end, when Shaw managed to ruin it for me with his post-play What Happened Afterwards commentary in which he pontificates dogmatically on what the play is supposed to mean and on wha Although I haven't watched "My Fair Lady," I've listened to some song or another to have a foggy idea of the plot, plus the name "Pygmalion" is a clue in itself, but I came to the play without expectations as to the story. And it was quite good for a majority of the plotline's development, funny even, right up to the end, when Shaw managed to ruin it for me with his post-play What Happened Afterwards commentary in which he pontificates dogmatically on what the play is supposed to mean and on what happened to Eliza Doolittle, to Higgins, to Colonel Pickering, to the Eynsford Hills, etc., so expansively he's annoying and spoils it all. I'd have preferred it had Shaw left to the readers' imagination what else comes after the last scene and not reveal every character's fate. I wanted to know (and speculate) for myself who Eliza married, how Higgins and the Colonel lived like after, what Clara did for a living, who had a happy ending and who didn't, etc., and not be spoon-fed all this information in an authorial vanity note after the curtain came down like I'm too clueless to have guessed it all by myself. That was infuriating and took away much of the play's charm in my eyes.

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