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Pygmalion & My Fair Lady

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  9,330 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The ancient Greeks tell the legend of the sculptor Pygmalion, who created a statue of a woman of such surpassing beauty that he fell in love with his own creation. Then, Aphrodite, taking pity on this man whose love could not reach beyond the barrier of stone, brought the statue to life and gave her to Pygmalion as his bride. Centuries later, George Bernard Shaw captured t ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Signet Classics (first published January 1st 1956)
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Community Reviews

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Emma
I absolutely love my fair lady. It is a wonderful story that depicts social class and their values. Henry higgins is a brilliant character, i love how he is depicted but always hated the way that he treated eliza dolittle.
i thought the story was at some points witty, i especially love the times eliza makes a mockery of henry higgins!
on a musical note, i grew up watching my fair lady with my wonderful grandma who gave me my love of musicals! The lyrics were fitting and catchy... I used to sing al
...more
Rachel
I absolutely love My Fair Lady! I only just realized, after completing the book and reading the back, that Pygmalion is a Greek Myth--the one where Pygmalion falls in love with his sculpture and Aphrodite pities him and makes the statue real. This play is based off of that, where Higgins sculpts Eliza into a creature with beautiful speech, and falls in love with his creation. It's interesting to see the contrasts between the play and the adaption, but I like both endings (they're different). The ...more
Kirsten
SOOOOOOOOO much better than the movie My Fair Lady even though Audrey Hepburn is always stunning and it was directed by Uncle George, and the songs really are fantastic.

I LOVE that she ends up with (spoiler alert)) Freddy instead of that misogynistic knucklehead (i'm being kind and gentle with my words) Rex Harrison, I mean Henry Higgins. and she gets to run a flower-shop - VERY COOL!
Lauryn
Pygmalion - A Play by George Bernard Shaw

Not many people in their teen years have heard of the play Pygmalion. I mean most of us don’t even read plays! I read this for a school assignment but for me it became so much more. As an avid fan of the movie My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, I was extremely excited to hear that this play is what the movie was based off.

Set in the early 1900's under Edwardian rule, this play is about a teacher of phonetics, the science of speech, and Eli
...more
Cindy
I liked this more than I expected. It was a sweet and realistic romance to me, so I wasn't at all disappointed with the ending. In fact, I loved the ending. Maybe it was because Shaw didn't really push the Eliza/Higgins pairing. I couldn't exactly tell if either of them had romantic feelings for the other. It was comical and enjoyable, always a good combination for a book/play. I plan to read My Fair Lady soon afterwards, but right now, other things are occupying my time. :(
Amy
I have seen the movie version of My Fair Lady, so Audrey Hepburn's accent was in my head through the entire first act. I gained a lot more appreciation for the story from reading Pygmalion. I discovered that Shaw makes witty, philosophical remarks on society, reminding me of Oscar Wilde, whom I adore. The stage directions add depth to the character's unseen emotions and watching Eliza's development was truly enjoyable. I need to go read more Shaw.
Josie
I'm not exactly a big fan of reading plays. I would much rather watch it. I guess there have been just a few too many times in English where my teachers have forced me to read these plays and look into depth the underlying themes and whatnot, and I just have never liked them because of that. But Pygmalion and My Fair Lady was different. I actually enjoyed reading the story, and seeing how it differs in each play I found exciting. If you're going to read a play, this is definitely the one to do i ...more
Gabe
a wonderful story. The makes of the musical really did a fantastic job of not messing around too much with the original play. I did kind of cheat and just watched the musical movie instead of reading the script but it's pretty much the same. It's really funny though because I saw Julie Andrews was supposed to play Eliza in the movie as she originated the role on Broadway but passed it up due to Mary Poppins so Audrey Hepburn got the part but Julie beat her out for the Academy Award ;) that being ...more
Nancy
This was a good book, how ever I do wish the author would have done more to make it more interesting.
Sarah (Bellasexeqtner)
Okay I grew up watching and loving My Fair Lady. When I finally read Pygmalion I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved it as well. Not as literal an original text as some plays that are turned into musicals but very true to the core value of My Fair Lady. When you take someone and tell them that what they are is wrong and train them to be something that you say is right, what world do they exist in? She could walk and talk like a lady...but underneath it all she was just the flower girl. ...more
Shannon
It was interesting to read Pygmalion side-by-side with My Fair Lady. What interested me more (and disappointed me that it wasn't included) was the reference to Shaw writing a follow-up to Pygmalion where Eliza ends up with Freddy. I would have like to compare since I never did like Eliza going back to Higgins in My Fair Lady--he never deserved it. I'm not sure Freddy would have either though. It was definitely interesting to compare. I'll have to see if I can find the follow-up that Shaw wrote.
Susanna
My Homeschool drama group is performing My Fair Lady. I play Mrs. Eynsford-Hill and some other minor parts.

It was interesting to read both plays alongside each other. One thing that became clear while reading Pygmalion is that Higgins is really not a nice guy. In the MFL movie he somehow seems kind of charming; but in the play his abusive and self-centered nature is much more obvious.
The ending is a bit hopeless and depressing.
Rachel
Aug 08, 2011 Rachel added it
Constantly had Audrey Hepburn in my head as I read, but that only made this play all the more enjoyable. Higgins voices in is cold and wonderful manner so much that I would like to! I think I will have my seniors read it. They being Liza and myself Higgins... I may not care what happens to them in the end, but they will leave my tutelage with an increased vocabulary and a grasp on how to use words.
Cassa
I enjoyed Pygmalion quite a bit, though I was confused as to Eliza's father's role at first. I was, however, skimming stage directions, so I might have missed a crucial clue.

My Fair Lady was difficult to read as a musical, since my only reference as to tune was having seen Stewie's occasional satire on Family Guy (the viewing of which made the reading of this absolutely hilarious).
Theresa
Jul 24, 2008 Theresa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Theresa by: Someone who's more interested in a study of language than plot
Shelves: a-cryin-shame
Surprisingly, Pygmalion was no where near as engaging as My Fair Lady. For the first time, my attention was drawn to the story's study of language, which was Shaw's original intent, but I was really distracted by how choppy and empty the story was. I had very little emotional response to the characters, except that Higgins came off as an even bigger jerk than in the movie.
Michelle Lynne Widmann
I found the juxtaposition of the musical and its original play to be quite jarring. There were things that I liked more about one work over the other, and the comparison having read them back-to-back was weird for me. I much preferred the ending of Pygmalion over My Fair Lady, but I liked the dialogue of My Fair Lady more than Pygmalion in some cases.
Brian Burns
An oldie and a goodie. "The rain in spain falls mainly on the plain" I can't get those words outta my head, even though I might have swallowed a marble or two in getting it right. Shaw's impeccable wit and wisdom shines through this work, as does his knowledge of Linguistics. I wish I had Professor Higgins as my teacher.
Maya Nunez
I atcually liked it. It was fun to read even though I don't think it has anything to deal with the roman myth. I hated the ending! I mean seriosly she just leaves and never comes back because she runs off and marrys Freddy. Freddy was only in the play for what? Five Minutes and they get married! Ugh! Overall I liked it.
Nur
Jan 14, 2009 Nur marked it as to-read
Beautiful story !! Very nice ! Its a story of a girl who is poor becoming a lady who is taught by a detective who falls in love with her!!THe speech of ur tounge gives a change to u loungs!!
THe speech is one part to become a lady!!!
Elen
Läste en kortversion av My fair lady och blev positivt överraskad. Den där spanska räven känner jag väl, men hade annars dålig koll på berättelsen. Hade inte tänkt mig att boken skulle få mig att vilja se filmen men det gjorde den.
Angela King

Shaw is a master of his craft, of English, he makes the language sing. He insults us without causing offence, his characters are large, they are real. He writes about class , and he shows us about class, he is a joy.
R
A glaring reflection of early nineteenth century english aristocracy and it's take on a woman from a lower class in the most entertaining and enticing way. Only Shaw can make it look like there isn't any class warfare!
Mary
Pygmalion was great. I like My Fair Lady also, because the movie played in my head the entire time I was reading it. (Who can beat Rex Harrison, honestly? And the guy who played Alfred P. Doolittle--amazing.)
Ryan
May 17, 2007 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys language
Did this version come with the movie included? :) how did that work?

Anyway, i think i liked the book even more than the movie (and havent seen it live) though i enjoyed them both thoroughly.
Ashlynn
Loved the movie all growing up. But listened to this on an audiobook and was disappointed. I don't know if the audiobook cut out some of it or not but I felt like so much was missing.
Dillon
I really enjoyed reading this. It was very enjoyable. The characters were well developed and I would definitely pick this up and enjoy it again at a moment's notice.
Jen Nielsen
I love the movie My Fair Lady so it was fun to read the original play, "Pygmalion" and compare it to the "My Fair Lady" version. A quick light read.
Lizzi Crystal
I found My Fair Lady more enjoyable than Pygmalion, which I didn't care for. They were largely similar but with key differences, such as the ending.
Nika
Played the fair lady on an off off broadway scene study showcase at AMDA NYC. (Sung: Wouldnt It Be Loverly)- in a great cokney accent! Got an A too!
Frank
These were very nice to read together. I was pleasantly surprised to see so much of Shaw's dialogue was kept for the musical.
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George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but ...more
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“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated.” 102 likes
“The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no thirdclass carriages, and one soul is as good as another.” 62 likes
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