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Penguin Classics Jane Eyre [Hardcover]

Charlotte Bronte
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2010 Penguin Classics
Part of "Penguin's" beautiful hardback "Clothbound Classics" series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design. Charlotte Bronte's first published novel, "Jane Eyre" was immediately recognised as a work of genius when it appeared in 1847. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

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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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charlotte Bronte (1816-55), along with her sisters Emily and Anne, is one of the greatest novelists of the 19th century. She is also the author of Shirley, The Professor and Villette. Dr Stevie Davies is a novelist, critic and historian. She is Director of Creative writing at the University of Wales Swansea. She is the author of four books on Emily Bronte, three novels, and three books in the Penguin Critical Studies series.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Published as a play in 1916, 'Pygmalion' is one of Shah's play
not heavy on philosophy. I, personally feel that his plays heavy
on philosophy are his best - 'Man and Superman', 'St.
Joan', 'Androcles and the Lion' et al. Among his plays of 'not
heavy on philosophy' genre, I rate 'Pygmalion' as one of the
best. It is full of fun, gaiety, humor, Shavian wit and is a wee
bit didactic. As Shaw wrote in the preface of 'Man and
Superman', that all good, great writing should be didactic. So,
even in the mildly didactic 'Pygmalion', Shaw had more than one
axe to grind so to say.
The central theme of Pygmalion is the gift of speech in human
beings. Shaw has tried to depict as to how a person speaks
affects their own personality and the people around. As a
corollary to this theme, Shaw hoped to popularize the science of
phonetics. In the short preface of the play, Shaw also makes a
plea for enhancement of the English alphabet (with it's too few
vowels and few consonants) to make English reading pronunciation
rational. Both his wishes of popularizing phonetics and getting
the English alphabet enlarged remain unfulfilled even today,
perhaps a measure of how much ahead of the times he was or still
The locale is London's Covent Garden vegetable market. The time
is late night. It is pouring heavily, everybody is seeking the
shelter of a church's portico. Among the shelter seekers is an
impoverished, bedraggled flower girl Liza with a terrible
cockney accent. Liza is trying to peddle her flowers to the
crowd of shelter seekers. A middle- aged gentleman, professor
Higgins is taking down her speech (in Bells Visible Speech) in
his notebook.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware: awful edition!! March 2 2004
This is a comment on the edition, not on the actual play itself (which is great). This edition of *Pygmalion* is incomplete, awfully incomplete. I ignore if Shaw rewrote the play, or what may have happened, but if you intend to read the real version, look for other publisher!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion: Romance and Social Commentary Dec 4 2005
By Zoe
Shaw's Pygmalion is a delightful combination of social commentary and romance. The story of a young Eliza Doolittle being taken off the streets and transformed into a lady by Professor Henry Higgins is one of many messages. In his attempt to prove that the way one speaks changes who they are, Higgins proves that a person can be changed based on their social class and distinction. In my opinion, this thought alone made Pygmalion worth reading. If that is not enough, then I would suggest it for the irony of Eliza's relationship with Mr. Higgins. Beginning as an act of boredom and curiosity on Higgins' part, he soon finds that this lady he created is one he does not want to part with. While Higgins is at a loss for what to do without Eliza, she is able to break away from the security he provides and live her own life, turning the story into one of romance. I suggest this play to anyone interested in insightful and talented writing about society and love.
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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

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4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic Dec 4 2005
The play Pygmalion was brilliantly written. The characters were relatable and had realistic personalities. They were well developed through out the play and left the reader attached. The plots was engaging but due to the large sum of adaptions it ended up being very predictable.
If the year at which Shaw wrote the play [1916] is taken into account one could say that it was very original and fresh. Pygmalion was the first of it's genre, which makes Shaw the pioneer of the Romantic Comedy.
The humor in the play is highly sarcastic and mostly based on the poor etiquette of Ms.Doolittle and at times seems a bit ridiculous. What I found to be the most humerus was the satirical aspect of the play in which the British social class system was mocked. Higgins the upper class gentleman found himself behaving with a lot less poise and restraint then Eliza herself who in the play is the common flower girl.
It is a quick read and highly entertaining. I strongly recommend this play to anyone who enjoys a slightly romantic twist on sarcastic and satirical humor. It is a timeless classic that should be read by young and old.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!
This Book is SO Good!

I Read This Years Ago But I Did Not Own it Until Now

I Love This Book and The 4 Part Mini-Series
Published 9 days ago by Ginerva
3.0 out of 5 stars Upside down :(
I ordered this because I wanted to re-read one of my favourite novels. When I opened the front cover, I saw that the pages were in upside down! Read more
Published on July 6 2012 by tints
5.0 out of 5 stars companion read to compare musical "My fair Lady" to G.B.Shaws...

G.B.Shaw had a biting sense of humor with regard of Britains social class system. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2010 by C. Sekerka-bajbus
5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion: Eloquantly Humorous
George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' is an intriguing piece accenting the differences between class and gender of the late eighteen hundreds. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2005 by Andrea Wrobel
5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion: A Carleton U Review
George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion, is a perfect example of classic and witty comedy. Set in England, it is a story of a flower girl's transformation into a lady. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2005 by Allison Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Work From Shaw
George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" is one of the most popular and socially relatable out of his works. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2005 by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
Based on the ancient Greek myth character of Pygmalion in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' cleverly captures the story line when an arrogant professor of... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2005 by Cinzia Gualtieri
4.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic of Warmth and Wit
If a lighthearted, romantic comedy about a young girl's struggle to climb to middle class stature interests you, then read the play Pygmalion. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2005 by Courtney Brazier
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Look at the 20th Century British Class System
This is one of Shaw's best works ever. Pygmalion is set in London during the 20th Century, a time when one's social status is held above all else. Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2005 by Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars GBS: The King of Social Commentary
Through clever innuendo and masterful storytelling, George Bernard Shaw satirizes and scrutinizes the social norms of his time in this 'comedy of manners' about a young cockney... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2005 by Amanda
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