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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit didactic but full of fun, gaiety, humor & Shavian wit
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,...
Published on June 29 2004 by Sushil Markandeya

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware: awful edition!!
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!
Published on March 2 2004 by Diana Arbiser


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit didactic but full of fun, gaiety, humor & Shavian wit, June 29 2004
By 
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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
is!
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. Professor Higgins is an eccentric phonetician,
expert on London accents and can place a person by their accent
to the street they originate from. One other shelter seeker is
an ex-military man, Colonel Pickering (also middle aged) with a
deep interest in phonetics. As professor Higgins Colonel
Pickering get talking, Higgins bemoans the terrible accent of
Liza (most depressing and disgusting sounds) and boasts that if
given a chance to teach and train her to speak for three months,
he could pass her off as a duchess on the basis of her fine way
of speaking! It comes about that Colonel Pickering is willing to
bear the expense of teaching Liza to speak by Higgins. The rest
of the play is about Liza 'the live doll' learning to speak like
a Duchess from two confirmed bachelors Higgins and Pickering and
whether they are able to pass her off as a duchess.
The woman protagonist character of the play Liza like all Shaw's
woman protagonist character is strong willed and assertive.
Having to endure during her learning the overbearing ways,
domineering mien, downright bullying from a socially superior
Higgins her teacher, she manages to hold her own. In the latter
stages of the play, she even manages to get the better of him
and Higgins has to tamely acknowledge that he has made a 'woman'
of her after all. (a lame defence) Although there is a romantic
angle, (Liza and Freddy) the relationship between Liza vis-à-vis
Higgins and Pickering are pivotal, focal relationships of the
play. The Liza, Freddy romance is a relegated affair. I feel
only Shaw could do this i.e. make a non-romantic relationship so
interesting over the other. But then Shaw loved debunking
popular notions. All in all a much readable play.
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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
By 
Diana Arbiser - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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 (Ottawa, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Wit and Social Commentary: A Great Play With Importance Today, July 8 2006
This review is from: Pygmalion (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic, Dec 4 2005
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion: Eloquantly Humorous, Dec 4 2005
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' is an intriguing piece accenting the differences between class and gender of the late eighteen hundreds. Shaw exhibits his skill as a playwright from its commencement as characters are immediately developed as in-depth individuals, each bringing very different attributes to the plot. Shaw's eloquent language and expressive writing style exposes readers to the world of Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistic expert, who attempts to transform Eliza Doolittle, a smug and snooty flower girl, into a first-class lady by way of perfecting her mannerisms and dialogue to first rate standards.
Shaw's light and humorous tone is entertaining and brings humour to the plot, especially when dealing directly with the British class system. In this ultimate form of literature, Shaw's job of attaining the drama's purpose of entertaining, informing, persuading, and sharing his personal ideals are all effectively exhibited through the main theme: we are constructed by the language that we speak. As Henry Higgins works with Eliza Doolittle, his character flaw of distributing little or no respect for anyone other than himself is seen in excess as readers may find it hard to relate to the Professor. On the other hand, Eliza's journey for her true identity draws readers into her world of freedom and curiosity. Nevertheless, the Professor eventually grows on the reader through his virtuous wit and classy intelligence as we find him falling in love with his masterpiece-in-progress.
'Pygmalion' holds the attention of the reader from the very beginning as it's off to a quick start with numerous enlightening tidbits of literary brilliance sprinkled throughout the narrative. An easy read, I recommend it to anyone, young our old, looking to explore both eloquent literature and eighteenth century British ideals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion: A Carleton U Review, Dec 4 2005
By 
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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. The arrogant linguistics professor, Henry Higgins, makes a bet with his friend, Colonel Pickering, that he can convert the cockney flower girl of Eliza Doolittle into a duchess in six months time. After being passed off as a duchess at the party, Eliza beings to realize she's gained much more than acceptable speech and a classy look. She has gained the feeling of self-worth and the need for others to respect her.
The clever comedy revolving around manners is sure to attract anyone looking for a light comedy with morally appealing importance. Eliza learns that she should not be treated the way she was in the past, and Henry learns that he must give respect to receive it. As though Eliza did not know what respect was before the transformation, she makes sure to receive it from everyone, and if not, chooses to shut them out of her life. This shows the vast amount of self-worth she has gained, and therefore the true meaning behind the play.
The many remakes of this classic story are sure to pass the morals along for generations. From "My Fair Lady" to "Pretty Woman," the characters have changed but the lessons learned have been carried on. With a relatively unexpected ending backed up with many acceptable reasons of Eliza, this play is sure to grasp its audience and provide laughter for all!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Work From Shaw, Dec 1 2005
By 
Mike (Carleton Univeristy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" is one of the most popular and socially relatable out of his works. Pygmalion is a short, yet powerful story with an assortment of themes that are still predominate today. The theme of struggle is quite apparent though out the entirety of the play. The main two struggles emphasized in "Pygmalion" are between the social classes and genders. Shaw is able to show the class and gender struggle though Eliza Doolittle, and her interactions with the different characters during the play. And it is because these struggles are still apparent in the world today, that "Pygmalion" has been able to remain in the public's eye as a literary masterpiece.
Shaw's "Pygmalion" has also been able to stay so popular over time because of its simplicity. Shaw doesn't fill the story with pointless sub-plots to entertain the reader, he instead only tells what is necessary in the story to not only keep the interest of the reader, but to make the theme of struggle the central of the very few themes. These aspects of Shaw's "Pygmalion" allow for a wide variety of readers to enjoy this play. It can be enjoyed by literary scholars who chose to read deeply into the play, and because of its size, and lack of complication, younger readers could enjoy it as well.
This play is a definite masterpiece worthy of recognition
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, Nov. 29 2005
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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 linguistics, Henry Higgins, bets that he can transform a common flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a Duchess simply by improving her extremely poor speech. I particularly enjoy the wit and humor Shaw uses to appropriately portray the time within which he penned 'Pygmalion', depicting how status is nothing but a matter of phonetics, and how a simple improvement in speech and mannerisms could move one up the social ladder, as it were. The play, therefore, is a representation of the transition from lower class society to upper-middle class lifestyle and plays on the theme that social status is dependant on speech.
What is especially interesting of the play is the way in which Eliza Doolittle, after her transition into upper-middle class society, comes to appreciate the common lifestyle she had as a flower girl. She learns quickly enough that as a 'lady' she is not fit to sell anything but herself, indicating that all she can do now to make something of herself is to marry, marriage being equated with a sort of upper class prostitution. She makes it very clear that she would have been happier if Higgins would have left her where he found her. Eliza presents an interesting dichotomy between lower class flower girl and upper-middle class Duchess as she is torn between the life she thought she wanted and the life she cannot go back to.
The fact that Shaw was adamant about writing this play without the Cinderella ending of a typical romance just makes it all the more fascinating to read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic of Warmth and Wit, Nov. 29 2005
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
If a lighthearted, romantic comedy about a young girl's struggle to climb to middle class stature interests you, then read the play Pygmalion. Shaw reveals a connection between phonetics and the concept of class system, using parallels between a poor flower girl named Eliza and her father. The play takes some unexpected turns, making it unpredictable and exciting. With some simple alterations of speech, Eliza finds herself in a position to marry whom she pleases, regardless of her origin, but Shaw surprises the reader with an outcome guaranteed to please. Pygmalion allows us to realize that one is not stuck with their natural born status, and that with a little hard work, respect can be gained. By the end of the play, Eliza dazzles us with her glamour and prestige; impressing even the professor himself. Shaw has the ability to create a humorous atmosphere, while at the same time ties in more serious themes such as chauvinism and prejudice. By including both elements, Shaw captivates his reader on more then one level, and peaks our interest from beginning to end. Shaw's perspective of lifestyles and attitudes at the time the play was written, still remain. So for a glimpse at how our society mirrors the past add this to your library today. Pygmalion is an entertaining and delightful classic.
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