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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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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Look at the 20th Century British Class System, Nov. 27 2005
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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. Shaw's production includes the rich and famous Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor, and Colonel Pickering, a man who is as distinguished in the study of Indian dialect as Higgins is in English. It follows the two men as they attempt to change a common flower girl of the lowest of worlds, Eliza Doolittle, into a proper lady. Pickering places a wager with Higgins, convinced that with his skills, Higgins will be able to pass Eliza off as a duchess at the upcoming ambassador's garden party. Treating her no better than the garbage on the streets from which she came and showing no disregard for her feelings, Higgins spends day and night in an attempt to change Eliza's painful cockney accent into one of a lady of high social status. Shaw's production is a fantastically funny, frustrating and inspiring look at the struggles Eliza faces as she is taken from a world to which she can never return, and taught to conform to a world to which she will never belong. Pygmalion is a social commentary on London's class system in the 20th century, with a focus on employment opportunities, and gender and social discrimination. It is a romantic, but devastating story of the sacrifices one will make in order to be accepted by society, even if the ultimate cost is one's identity. I recommend this play to everyone. Pygmalion is an absolutely outstanding production; one which you will be sorry that you did not read sooner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GBS: The King of Social Commentary, Nov. 23 2005
By 
Amanda (Ottawa, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
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 flower girl and her arduous climb to middle class stature with the help of the incorrigible Henry Higgins. As well as offering an intriguing perspective on lower class versus upper-middle class lifestyles and attitudes, Shaw introduces the concept that the class system itself is really just a matter of phonetics. By a simple alteration of her mannerisms and speech patterns, Eliza Doolittle is able to pass as a virtual princess among her middle class betters. Shaw presents an off-kilter romance between Eliza and Higgins, parodying the idea that the only way for a woman to make anything of herself in the middle class is to marry up. Eliza's acsent on the social totem pole is also paralleled with her father's similar, less willing transformation in which Shaw displays his impeccable grasp of comedic irony. It is only once Eliza realizes the implications of becoming a 'proper lady' that she considers the appeal of her previous life in the gutter.
The writing itself is witty, succinct and to the point. With references to politics, socialism, feminism, Freud, and Milton, Shaw captivates his audience from beginning to end, leaving virtually no stone unturned. Despite the fact that Shaw penned Pygmalion nearly 100 years ago, its value resonates well into the twenty-first century having been adapted into such presentations as My Fair Lady and Educating Rita. Shaw will no doubt remain one of the defining names in literary drama combining the socialism of Marx and the semantic prowess of Ibsen - he will be forever remembered for constantly attacking the status quo. Pygmalion is a masterpiece!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A bit didactic but full of fun, gaiety, humor & Shavian wit, June 7 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The sweetest thing, Feb. 3 2004
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
It is not very likely that George Bernard Shaw knew he was writing the play that would become one of the seminal romantic comedies of the 20th when he penned 'Pygmalion'. The play is delightful, with borrowed elements from many genres. There is comedy and romance, above all, but there is also a very clear social critic -- and even a Marxist idea of class struggle. What only enhances the reading of this masterpiece.
Professor Henry Higgins is a linguistic expert who is much more interested in how people say the words rather than what they say. He ends up taking a bet that he is able to transform a simple cockney flower seller, Eliza, into a sophisticated and refined young lady, who would be able to fool the Queen herself. To succeed in such a move he claims he will change only the way she speaks.
To work on Eliza he puts her up in his house and starts polishing her speech. This is not an easy job, because what the girl speaks is not English, but a language she has developed herself. After some time, the Professor decides to introduce her to a group of friends, without mentioning her backgrounds. At first the meeting is blast. Although Eliza can use a fine language it is clear she has not backgrounds to develop and keep up a conversation. And her behavior ends up being the laughing stock. But one of the guests notices how beautiful the girl is. Higgins feels sort of jealous and this could lead their relationship to another level.
Shaw's prose is funny and touching at the same time. He uses devices, like everybody speaking at the same time, which only enhances the fun of the play and brings more truth to the action. His characters are lively and well developed. His social critic is evident. Eliza doesn't want to be rich or sound as such, she only wants to get a better job in a flower store, in other words, she only wants to be what she is. But the Professor insists on making her another person, very different from what she really is. Eliza's presence is the sweetest thing in the play. She is a nice and good-hearted girl, who suffers the consequence of her surroundings.
The play is based on the Greek tragedy 'Pygmalion and Galatea', and was the base for one of the most famous musicals of the cinema, 'My Fair Lady'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The guttersnipe who becomes a lady, July 18 2004
By 
I ain't no porn writer (author, "Crippled Dreams") - See all my reviews
Even if all of George Bernard Shaw's other works are some day forgotten, this play will live on down the ages as an imperishable classic of drama. This is the story of a man who takes a poor simple flower-girl and turns her into a sophisticated darling of high society. I think this story has been so popular with theatre audiences because of how its sharp wit cuts right through the artificiality of class distinctions. Shaw compels us to see beyond surfaces to recognize the human potential and worth that lies underneath.
David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pygmalion, Aug. 26 2003
By 
Jack Pierce (Fort Pierce, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
Another treasure. I received this book in excellent condition and just as it was promised/advertised. I would definately purchase other books and merchandise through this seller and through Amazon. The combination makes buying books a real pleasure. I would and will do it again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight, July 24 2003
By A Customer
I purchased this book through a popoular book store. It was hysterical and a great remake of the original mythological story, Pygmalion. It was a great story with great choices of vocabulary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!, Sept. 8 2014
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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
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Sept. 24 2014
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This review is from: Pygmalion (Mass Market Paperback)
Liked the story and bought it for my kids for leisure reading and school book report
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5.0 out of 5 stars companion read to compare musical "My fair Lady" to G.B.Shaws "Pygmalion", Dec 31 2010
This review is from: Pygmalion (Paperback)
Pygmalion

G.B.Shaw had a biting sense of humor with regard of Britains social class system.

The musical "My Fair Lady" was a bit more chauvinistic in term's of male behviour.
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