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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. Shaw mentioned that the character of Professor Henry Higgins was inspired by several British professors of phonetics: Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, but above all, the cantankerous Henry
This enchanting tale of Eliza Doolittle's transformation from Cockney flower girl into elegant lady under the guidance of cantankerous linguist Henry Higgins has been a hit with audiences since it was first performed in 1913. The play skillfully blends social satire, philosophical wit, a heated battle of the sexes, and what is perhaps the greatest platonic romance ever committed to paper. Pygmalion's musical incarnation, My Fair Lady, remains a Broadway staple. The original play is actually funnier than the musical, and its story and characters are more fully developed. The play is also much easier and less expensive for acting companies to produce. The only reason Pygmalion is not performed more often is its ponderous length: almost three hours, extended by intermissions. This seamless abridgment trims the excess from G. B. Shaw's often-verbose script while retaining all of its wit and charm. The result is a leaner, livelier Pygmalion which is less demanding of performers and more entertaining for their audiences. The cast has been reduced to twelve roles (4M, 6F, 2 either), with some doubling possible. The royalty-free script lends itself to modest-budget productions and is easily adapted as a staged reading. Pygmalion, like fine wine, gets better with age. This artful adaptation by an award-winning playwright makes Shaw's classic accessible to the widest possible audience.
The story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. In the process, Higgins and Eliza grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill - a young, poor, gentleman.
Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. 1st World Library-Literary Society is a non-profit educational organization. Visit us online at www.1stWorldLibrary.ORG - - As will be seen later on, Pygmalion needs, not a preface, but a sequel, which I have supplied in its due place. The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like. It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him. German and Spanish are accessible to foreigners: English is not accessible even to English-men. The reformer England needs today is an energetic phonetic enthusiast: that is why I have made such a one the hero of a popular play. There have been heroes of that kind crying in the wilderness for many years past. When I became interested in the subject towards the end of the eighteen-seventies, Melville Bell was dead; but Alexander J. Ellis was still a living patriarch, with an impressive head always covered by a velvet skull cap, for which he would apologize to public meetings in a very courtly manner. He and Tito Pagliardini, another phonetic veteran, were men whom it was impossible to dislike. Henry Sweet, then a young man, lacked their sweetness of character: he was about as conciliatory to conventional mortals as Ibsen or Samuel Butler. His great ability as a phonetician (he was, I think, the best of them all at his job) would have entitled him to high official recognition, and perhaps enabled him to popularize his subject, but for his Satanic contempt for all academic dignitaries and persons in general who thought more of Greek than of phonetics. Once, in the days when the Imperial Institute rose in South Kensington, and Joseph Chamberlain was booming the Empire, I induced the editor of a leading monthly review to commission an article from Sweet on the imperial importance of his subject. When it arrived, it contained nothing but a savagely derisive attack on a professor of language and literature whose chair Sweet regarded as proper to a phonetic expert only. The article, being libelous, had to be returned as impossible; and I had to renounce my dream of dragging its author into the limelight. When I met him afterwards, for the first time for many years, I found to my astonishment that he, who had been a quite tolerably presentable young man, had actually managed by sheer scorn to alter his personal appearance until he had become a sort of walking repudiation of Oxford and all its traditions. It must have been largely in his own despite that he was squeezed into something called a Readership of phonetics there. The future of phonetics rests probably with his pupils, who all swore by him; but nothing could bring the man himself into any sort of compliance with the university, to which he nevertheless clung by divine right in an intensely Oxonian way. I daresay his papers, if he has left any, include some satires that may be published without too destructive results fifty years hence. He was, I believe, not in the least an ill-natured man: very much the opposite, I should say; but he would not suffer fools gladly.
This collection chronicles the fiction and non fiction classics by the greatest writers the world has ever known. The inclusion of both popular as well as overlooked pieces is pivotal to providing a broad and representative collection of classic works.
In Pygmalion, Shaw presents the classical story of a professor who transforms a girl of the lower class into an elegant creature, who then falls in love with him—unfortunately in love, that is. Set in Bulgaria, Arms and the Man satirizes romantic attitudes about love and war. Raina, the heroine, falls in love with a cowardly, chocolate-loving enemy soldier during an unnamed war. After the war, her fiance challenges her new admirer to a duel, loses heart, and proposes to the maid instead.
"Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby." Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological figure. Shaw wrote the part of Eliza Doolittle - an east-end dona with an apron and three orange and red ostrich feathers - for Mrs Patrick Campbell, with whom he had a passionate but unconsummated affair. From the outset the play was a sensational success, although Shaw, irritated by its popularity at the expense of his artistic intentions, dismissed it as a potboiler. The Pygmalion of legend falls in love with his perfect female statue and persuades Venus to bring her to life so that he can marry her. But Shaw radically reworks Ovid's tale to give it a feminist slant: while Higgins teaches Eliza to speak and act like a duchess, she also asserts her independence, adamantly refusing to be his creation.