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Pygmalion

by George Bernard Shaw

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,575681,343 (3.85)126
Pygmalion both delighted and scandalized its first audiences in 1914. A brilliantly witty reworking of the classical tale of the sculptor who falls in love with his perfect female statue, it is also a barbed attack on the British class system and a statement of Shaw's feminist views. In Shaw's hands, the phoneticist Henry Higgins is the Pygmalion figure who believes he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl, into a duchess at ease in polite society. The one thing he overlooks is that his 'creation' has a mind of her own. This is the definitive text produced under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence, with an illuminating introduction by Nicholas Grene, discussing the language and politics of the play. Also included in this volume is Shaw's preface, as well as his 'sequel' written for the first publication in 1916, to rebut public demand for a more conventionally romantic ending.… (more)
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» See also 126 mentions

English (60)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. A great read! ( )
  SpookyFM | Jan 18, 2021 |
Most people never read this play so their only exposure to the story is the movie, My Fair Lady. Better to read the play and discover the spunky version of Eliza that the play has and MFL changes at the end. Hollywood loves a romance, but Pygmalion is not meant to be one. I love that Eliza stands up for herself and is determined to make something of the dubious training she has received at the hands of Higgins and Pickering. I haven't seen MFL in a long time but I will never be satisfied with the end of the movie again. ( )
  boldforbs | Jan 15, 2021 |
I liked this quite a bit more than I expected to. The musical "My Fair Lady" (a personal favorite) mimics this play much more than I expected, which made it difficult to see Eliza as anything BUT Audrey Hepburn.

I honestly wish I hadn't read Shaw's additional ending (although I love spoilers). I think, in hindsight, I'd have preferred the ambiguity of the original ending. I applaud Shaw's commitment to a realistic outcome, however.

I'm hesitant to call this "feminist" literature, however I LOVE Eliza as a heroine. She is resilient, strong, and independent; these qualities are unheard of for a turn-of-the-century woman.

4 1/2 stars.

( )
  kohrmanmj | Sep 21, 2020 |
This is NOT: My Fair Lady

I never did like the ending of My Fair Lady. My Fair Lady ends all wrong with Eliza submitting to the bullying indifference of Mr. Higgins. Pygmalion has the right ending. I especially like this edition that has text after the end of the play which tells what happens after they left the residence of Mrs. Higgins.

It was so delightful that I read it through in one afternoon. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Vividly witty and charming. Higgins is frustratingly disagreeable at times, but this only serves to drive the sharp satire home.

Read the postscript! ( )
  piquareste | Jun 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shaw, George Bernardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abreu, Mário César deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Agresti, AntonioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexander, RoslynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderberg, BengtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bard, Susannesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartle, BrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentley, Ericsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertinetti, PaoloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blatchford, Roysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Broutá. JulioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, John Russellsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bru de Sala, XavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burke, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carr, L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cochran, ShannonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coenraads, EduardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conolly, LeonardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cookson, Lindasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, DanielCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorian, A. F.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Douthwaite, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
du Maurier, DeniseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, MillôrTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, JacquelineRed.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fleckhaus, WillyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fricke, Petersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furlan, NadjaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geisen, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glaser, MiltonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, HannahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gould, GerardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grene, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Habart, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heijenoort, J.A.G. vansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildesheimer, WolfgangPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hordern, Sir MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hynes, JamesContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hynes, Jamessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jurak, MirkoAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koshland, Daniel EdwardAssociated Namesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koshland, Lucile HemingAssociated Namesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López Santos, AntonioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laurence, Dan H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lerner, Alan Jaysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacLean, RebeccaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manis, JimEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mészöly, Dezsősecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCowen, Alecsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michels-Wenz, UrsulaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michelsen, Hans GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Misiołek, EdmundPrzedm.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moder, Jankosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mueller, HaraldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munda, JožeContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neuhaus, AndreaKommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
New, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Northcott, Kenneth J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, GeoffreyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennell, NicholasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piotrowski, KazimierzTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redgrave, LynnReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redgrave, MichaelReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rigg, Dianasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ritzerfeld, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudall, Nicholassecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saba Sardi, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sander, Ottosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sobieniowski, FlorianTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staudt, RolfCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Topolski, FeliksIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trebitsch, SiegfriedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tydeman, JohnDirectorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vittiglio, NicoleAdaptorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Alfred CharlesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitehouse, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whybrow, LucyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whyte, LauraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Бернард Шоуsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
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The Daughter: I'm getting chilled to the bone.
Quotations
Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you're driving at another.
It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.
The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it.
What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day.
Mrs. Higgins. You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Pygmalion both delighted and scandalized its first audiences in 1914. A brilliantly witty reworking of the classical tale of the sculptor who falls in love with his perfect female statue, it is also a barbed attack on the British class system and a statement of Shaw's feminist views. In Shaw's hands, the phoneticist Henry Higgins is the Pygmalion figure who believes he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl, into a duchess at ease in polite society. The one thing he overlooks is that his 'creation' has a mind of her own. This is the definitive text produced under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence, with an illuminating introduction by Nicholas Grene, discussing the language and politics of the play. Also included in this volume is Shaw's preface, as well as his 'sequel' written for the first publication in 1916, to rebut public demand for a more conventionally romantic ending.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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