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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  52,945 ratings  ·  1,017 reviews

Ever since Pygmalion opened in London in April 1914 it has proved a very controversial play, from the (then) shocking language, to arguments about its correct ending. Critical interpretations have been similarly disputatious, encompassing views of the transformation of the impoverished Eliza Doolittle by phonetics expert Henry Higgins as either a story of economic and soci

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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1912)
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"Eliza has no use for the foolish romantic tradition that all women love to be mastered, if not actually bullied and beaten,"¹ says G.B.Shaw in the afterword to his famous play.
¹By the way, I think this quote should be memorized and repeated on the daily basis by the contemporary authors, especially in the YA genre, who attempt to create female characters. Really. Maybe I can start a campaign encouraging authors' awareness of this quote. Hmmmm...
This was one of the first plays I've ever read, an...more
Dave Hill
This is fun to read out loud in crazy English accents while stomping around your apartment. The neighbors might not like it but screw 'em.
Dec 31, 2012 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonathan by: The musical - My Fair Lady - sort of

This is the last book I will finish in 2012 as there are only 6 hours remaining in my day. It is certainly a fitting book (or rather play inside a book) to end the year on. For Pygmalion is a story about new beginnings and about transformation. What better book to symbolise the changing of the year, I say!

The classic musical My Fair Lady is perhaps my favourite musical film that I have seen. The acting is superb, the plotting excellent and all the music serves to add to the humorous feel of the...more
If you happen to be the Wayans Brothers and are stuck for ideas about where your next racist, sexist, gratuituously offensive comedy is going to come from, have you considered doing a gender- and color-reversed version of Pygmalion? I feel it has real potential. My first thought is to reunite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher from Guess Who. Mac, in drag, plays Henrietta, a black linguist who bets her friend Picky (Oprah) that she can turn preppy white-boy Kutcher into a bro' within six weeks. Here'...more
One of George Bernard Shaw’s most beloved plays, Pygmalion is the work on which the subsequent musical comedy, My Fair Lady, is based. But the two works have important differences. Shaw’s work is far less sentimental and is throughout more ambiguous, especially in its ending. Furthermore, in order that it might be readable, the accents of the various characters are not attempted in the text, except at the very beginning (primarily to show that it would be unreadable if attempted). Those readers...more
Apr 05, 2008 Sera rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: RGBC
Shelves: classics, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa N
“My Fair Lady” is one of my very favorite musicals. I have avoided reading anything by GBS because I don’t care for his political views and because he was critical of Shakespeare. I actually enjoyed reading this play. It was very close to the “My Fair Lady” script, probably because Shaw also wrote the screenplay. (He was the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award.) The ending of “My Fair Lady” has always been a little unsettling for me. The mythical Pygmalion was a sculptor...more
Pygmalion is a story that’s been adapted time and time again in various forms. Of course we have My Fair Lady, both the stage and screen versions. There’s Pretty Woman and She’s All That and a few other obscure film and television installments. I’ve always loved Pretty Woman and My Fair Lady is such a classic that when I saw the original play at a local used book sale, I knew I had to have it. This story has some sentimental meaning to me as well: my best friend played Henry Higgins in our high...more
Having never read a play before except as a part of a curriculum and having heard so much about Shaw, I ordered this book with great expectations. I was not disappointed.

Despite being only a bit shy of a hundred pages this play is wonderfully written. The plot itself intrigued me very much. To turn a flower girl from the street to a duchess by changing the way she speaks and dresses. I wonder if Shaw was trying to tell us that social status is not achieved by who you really are but by how you d...more
David Sarkies
Apr 04, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English Teachers
Recommended to David by: Indirectly my English Teacher
Shelves: modernist
Shaw's Masterpiece
16 April 2010

Pygmalion, in my opinion, is Shaw's piece de resistance (if that is how you spell it). It is a masterpiece. While I can simply leave it at that I am compelled to say a lot more about this play, but first, the plot.
Two English gentlemen (and when I read this book I wondered if it was implied that they were homosexual) bet as to whether they can take a street urchin and turn her into a lady by teaching her how to speak proper English. They do and the experiment is...more
Pygmalion was satirical and a quick read could not put it down once I started. I must say I despise Mr. Henry Higgins‘s character, he was the most unkind, unemotional, disgusting man who thinks women as his puppet! Eliza served him right choosing Freddy as her life partner and being indifferent towards Henry in the end. But her secret desire of getting him alone in a desert made me laugh so much! I am so curios to watch the movie now!
Azra Šabovic
This is absolutely one of my favorite plays.
In the Pygmalion, Shaw uses symbols of slippers with the shifts in characterization to show how Eliza grows from being in different class than Higgins to being in the same class as him.
In the beginning of the play, Higgins finds Eliza on street treating her like dirt. She comes to him for phonetic lessons, in order to become a middle class women. Throughout the play, Higgins is always asking his maid and Eliza to bring him his slippers, where it indica...more
George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion is a story based on two completely different people and their primary wants. Eliza Doolittle is a flower girl, who has always wanted to be accepted in society and be loved. Henry Higgins is a linguistics professor, who has no respect for women and his main goal is to prove his knowledge to others and make them aware of his existence. Henry Higgins takes Eliza off the streets in order to give her what it is she wants; teaching her the English language and ways...more
That is a beautifully written play. I have watched this play recently in the theater, and I thought it was magnificent. Eliza was simply adorable and Henry Higgins made me laugh so hard. I will not spoil the book by blabbering about its content and the flow of events, but I just wanted to comment and give my opinion about the ending. I love endings like the one in this story. It is like the author is giving you the chance to create your own ending, thus letting you develop your imagination. I us...more
'Read it!!!' is all I can say.
You may think that you know what it's about because you've seen My Fair Lady or read an adaptation or just heard the story somehow, but trust me, you don't.
This is a timeless piece of writing and all other adaptations and interpretations - charming as they may be - fade in comparison because Pygmalion is about bigger things.

I did, sort of, keep picturing Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison as Eliza and Higgins throughout because I adore My Fair Lady (except for the end...more
Here is the plot as explained by Henry Higgins, who is such a satisfying and hilarious brute.

"There! Thats all you get out of Eliza. Ah-ah-ow-oo! No use explaining. As a military man you ought to know that. Give her her orders: thats what she wants. Eliza: you are to live here for the next six months, learning how to speak beautifully, like a lady in a florist's shop. If you're good and do whatever you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, and have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolat...more
Jan 09, 2013 Dawayr marked it as كتاب_مفتوح  ·  review of another edition

تعتبر من أشهر مسرحيات جورج برنارد شو و تعتبر أيضا السبب الأساسى فى أنه الوحيد الحاصل على جائزة نوبل فى الأدب و أوسكار فى نفس الوقت . تدور أحداث القصة فى بريطانيا حيث يعيش أحد أشهر أساتذة الفونتيكس فى العالم ، الأستاذ هنرى هيجينز . و تبدأ أحداث القصة بوقوفه صامتا وسط مجموعة من الناس فى محاولة أن بدون ملاحظات عن طريقة نطقهم للكلام حينما تأاى اليزا بائعة الورود فى محاولة منها أ تبيع له و للواقفين بعض الورود . و كان ضمن الواقفين الكولونيل بيكرنح أستاذ الفونتيكس الذى أتى من الهند الى بريطانيا فقط ليق...more
I'll summarize the plot by saying that this is the play upon which "My Fair Lady" was based. It's funny, although Henry Higgins comes off as quite a jerk. You can also read this subtext into it: Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering are a gay couple who have just moved in together and they keep Eliza around so that the public's suspicions will be piqued by the idea that Higgins is taking advantage of a poor young woman and ignore the fact that he has a male live-in lover. If there is any love stor...more
The Goon
A professor of phonetics named Henry Higgins is so confident of his abilities to teach proper English, that he offers to turn a "draggle-tailed guttersnipe" into a duchess.

What I mean is, he makes a bet that he can train a flower selling, low class, dirty street urchin by the name of Eliza Doolittle to speak so well that she can be passed off as a duchess.

Because I’m an American, I feel as though this story is not at all outlandish. I was raised to believe that anyone can receive an education...more
This is a lovely play. For anyone who has watched "My Fair Lady" and reading this book, it would be impossible not picturize Aurdrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison throughout! The movie is a great adaptation of the book. I missed couple of things in the book - the musicals (but obviously!) and details on Eliza's teaching seasions (there is a great scene with the bunsen burner in the movie!). Where the book scored slightly over the movie is with the ending.. this seemed more realistic and nicely portra...more
Harry Boyd
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Прекраснейшее произведение Джорджа Бернарда Шоу в форме пьесы меня очаровало и привело в восхищение!

Столько актуальных тем, столько эмоций - просто взрыв какой-то!

Читать, читать, читать и конечно же ещё и желательно для полного счастья просмотреть эту пьесу!
As witty plays go, this is one of the funniest. As well-written plays go, this is one of the strongest. In fact, this is so damn entertaining that I urge you to read it. It won't take you much more than a day, but you'll remember it for much longer.

If you don't already know the play (or the musical My Fair Lady), then this is a story of Cockney girl Eliza who goes to professional phonetician Henry Higgins to get him to teach her to speak proper English so she can get work in a flower shop instea...more

I loved the movie adaption of Pygmalion (not My Fair Lady) also called Pygmalion. Mr. Shaw worked on that adaption and it shows. The movie is almost word for word the play, but for some interesting additions.

There weren't any big surprises reading the play for me. It was the introduction by Shaw on the man Henry Higgins was loosely based on and the epilogue that I was really interested in.


The introduction was interesting and I would like to find out what happened to the hopelessl...more
When you read a classic, you have a lot of expectations, because you have heard so much about it, movies or musical plays made on it. You also feel it would be long & would use ‘the perfect’ British English with heavy words thrown around, forcing you to use dictionary. I also started reading Pygmalion with high expectations, and it turned out to be far better than my expectations. It was short & quick, funny & sarcastic, light & classy, intellectual & romantic, drama & co...more
This is My Fair Lady with a British accent. And accent is everything; this is THE play about accent, and about teaching, the value of English courses, or perhaps "Speech," especially pronunciation. Professor Henry Higgins claims he can raise a Cockney flower girl to the status of lady simply by teaching her different pronunciation.
May I say, as an American visitor to London for at least two decades, that Cockney (born within the sound of the bells of St Mary le Bow) speech is still incomprehen...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garrett Cash
As I suspect the case is with most readers, my first exposure to Pygmalion was the 1964 film My Fair Lady. I was filling in the blanks of the play with such great songs such as "On the Street Where You Live" and "I Could Have Danced All Night."
Concerning the play, I found it immensely enjoyable. It was certainly a fun read, and fiercely witty. It is a play that is quite entertaining without delving too much into the deeper meaning of it. What it really means is the point of the play that I pers...more
A few weeks ago, I showed a friend a DVD of the "My Fair Lady." My friend, who is trying to improve her English as a second language, hadn’t seen the movie before. Watching the acclaimed 1964 film, I wondered how the 1956 Lerner and Lowe musical, upon which the movie was based, differed from the 1912 play "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw upon which the musical was based.
I picked up a $1 Dover edition of the play from the Oakland Public Library and quickly read it. The play and Shaw’s afterwa...more
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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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