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Pygmalion

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  87,375 ratings  ·  2,367 reviews
One of George Bernard Shaw's best-known plays, Pygmalion was a rousing success on the London and New York stages, an entertaining motion picture and a great hit with its musical version, My Fair Lady. An updated and considerably revised version of the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea, the 20th-century story pokes fun at the antiquated British class system.

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Paperback, 82 pages
Published October 20th 1994 by Dover Publications (first published October 16th 1913)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  87,375 ratings  ·  2,367 reviews


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Brina
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, plays
Reposting in honor of George Bernard Shaw's birthday, July 26.

I am writing this review to honor my grandmother who recently passed away. I lost track of the number of times we listened to the soundtrack of My Fair Lady either in her car, her apartment, or my house growing up. To me Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, and Colonel Pickering are as much the actors who played them as they are are the memories I created with my grandmother and great aunt while watching the movie or listening to its time
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Nataliya


"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
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Dave Hill
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw
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
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Candi
3.5 stars

"… you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul."

Even if you are not already familiar with George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, I’m sure you are likely acquainted with either the on-stage musical version or movie adaptation titled My Fair Lady. I have fond memories of my high school’s producti
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Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nobels
A lot of my reading at the moment seems to revolve around the relationship between art and artist, creator and creation.

Reading other reviews on "Pygmalion", I realise how strange my approach to it was, and how disappointed I was at first because my expectations were not met. I chose it as part of a reading challenge I set myself a couple of years ago - to read all Nobel Laureates in literature. The title appealed to me, and I was thrilled to explore a modernist's take on the ancient myth of Pyg
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mwana
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, play
Pygmalion: def. n. A sculptor in Greek mythology who created a sculpture so beautiful that he fell in love with her.

In this rendition of an age old story, professor of linguistics Henry Higgins plucks a flower girl off the streets so as to teach her proper diction and middle class manners. After befriending Colonel Pickerson, they wager that by the end of the lessons, the flower girl Eliza Doolittle, will be just as well-mannered as a duchess.

Higgins: I’m an eccentric professor of linguistics. A
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Praveen
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pygmalion was an ancient Greek legend, who was a sculptor and a king. He fell in love with his ivory statue of his own ideal woman. He prayed. In response to his prayer, the Goddess gave life to the statue and then the king married it.

This much of information was sufficient for me to know why the title of this book was chosen by G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion. I very much liked the character of Mr. Higgins in the play. He is a professor and scientist of phonetics and very confident about his knowled
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Fergus
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a buddy read with my marvellous new friend Elinor, and we both had a whale of a time reading it!

And if you go into it thinking you’re in for just a pleasant rerun of My Fair Lady - for the musical is based on this play - THINK AGAIN.

You know, a wonderful author who’s a little younger than I, and who shares my constant cross of Asperger’s Syndrome - her name is Anita Lesko - has written a self-study called When Life Hands you Lemons, Make Lemonade...

Well, that’s what Shaw does.

He imagin
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Carol
I was surprised.......this is not a love story. I only vaguely remember the musical, and the outcome I envisioned is not what happens in the play.

I remember Eliza Dolittle as a poor flower girl, and the bet between two upper class gentlemen to turn a street "guttersnipe" into a proper lady, but not the horribly chauvinistic treatment she receives or the choices she makes in the end.

Totally enjoyed it!

Fabian
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
SPOILER!

A fountainhead of inspiration for countless projects, Pygmalion is actually not about love, and, this being a Shaw play, is all about social classes, manners and, what? phonetics. Also about humanity—about the power-play inherent in all types of relationships. Higgins, undeniably a gay man completely up to give the Betty a total overhaul, is not loveable, not even likeable. He's a tyrant—but he is written o-so-well, with British wit to spare. He is the prototypical academic—a sociopath,
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Calista
My Fair Lady, which is based on this story, is a delightful musical I have seen many times over the years. I love the music and the story. It seems very one of a kind. I have never read the play by George and finally got around to doing so.

Henry Higgins simply jumps off the page completely realized and his own full character. He is so boorish and a big bully, he's easy to hate and also to see that somehow in that thick skull of his, he did mean well. Eliza is just a realized and we see a very s
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Manny
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
Piyangie
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, irish-lit
I watched My fair Lady about twenty years ago and all I remember is that a linguistic professor taking in a common flower girl to teach her proper language and speech and to improve her behaviour so that she'll become a lady. I didn't know then that the musical was based on the play Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. I acquired that knowledge very recently. I cannot remember many details of the musical so the reading of the play was quite fresh.

The Pygmalion, the play, is centered on Henry Higgins, a p
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Kenny
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#9 of my 2018 Shaw Project

Many people consider this to be Shaw's best play. I'm not among them (nor is Major Barbara for that matter). With that being said, I adore this script. I do feel it is among Shaw's most accessible works.

The basis for the much beloved, happily-ever-after Lerner & Lowe musical, George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion takes a much firmer tack on questions of class distinctions and female independence. Those themes, so dear to Shaw’s progressive heart, end up rather hear
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Jonathan Terrington
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Duane
My vision of Eliza Doolittle will always be Audrey Hepburn from the 1964 movie My Fair Lady. But eight years earlier (1956) Julie Andrews nailed her portrayal of Eliza in the Broadway production of the musical. Of course both of these award winning productions were based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In the first London stage production Eliza was performed by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Shaw having written it with her in mind because of their unrequited love affair. I enjoyed reading the p ...more
Kaila
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

“I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else.”


Oh, I loved this play! It is hilarious, wildly entertaining and is also profound in its criticisms of class structure and traditional gender roles. If you have no idea what Pygmalion is, it is based of a Greek myth of the same name. Now, I'm lazy, and can't be bothered paraphrasing the myth to you or even researching it in detail for myself. Pygmalion is more commonly associate
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Adina
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short, theatre, ireland
Probably the favorite play read until now, which I have to admit are not many. A linguist makes a bet that he can turn a flower girl into a lady in 6 months. Both the girls and the linguist are strong characters and from there conflicts arise. By the end of the play they get attached to each other in a strange way. What I found special about the play was the afterword written by the author himself that explains in details how the life of the character will unfold.
Bruce
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Steve
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A pleasant tale, well-suited to distract theater-goers from the devastation soon to unfold through World War I. Maybe it's time now to watch My Fair Lady?
It's Mini
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know why Pygmalion is still called a romance. I mean, Shaw himself was very dissapointed at the fact that his socialistic drama became a success as a romance. Shaw wanted to liberate his play from the traditional conventions of a romance, that's why he reversed the romantic story by giving a different end, marking Eliza's emancipation and independence. If this was a typical love story, the two protagonists would have been married at the end. But Shaw implies that Mr. Higgings wil ...more
Jana
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading the play out loud made me laugh a lot!!! It is smartly funny!!!
It is a good piece for the one who is planning to change his or her life radically.
David Sarkies
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Arybo ✨
🇬🇧 My Fair Lady was the first film I saw with Audrey Hepburn, after attending the musical that was going around in Italy some time ago. I was a bit disturbed by the vision at the theater, not because I did not like the plot, but because of the attitude of the actors and the choice of the translation into Italian. Back home, I decided to watch the movie. And I fell in love with it. Literally. Now I know almost all the songs (in Italian, shame on me), and I still sing them as I clean my house.
It
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david
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-drama
Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,
Hear a Cornishman converse,
I'd rather hear a choir singing flat.
Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one!
Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that?
It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place.
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.
If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowe
...more
W
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Professor Henry Higgins tries to transform a poor Cockney flower girl,Eliza Doolittle,into a lady by improving her speech and manners.

By doing so,he creates a fresh dilemma for her.She is now not fit either for her orginal social class,or for a higher one.And in the process,Henry Higgins falls in love with his own creation.

It pokes fun at the English class system.On stage,Shaw's producers wanted a different ending.It's good fun,but not one I'd call a compelling read.
Sera
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: RGBC
Shelves: own, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen
“You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.”

I have seen “My Fair Lady” more times than I can count. I never get tired of it. Whether it’s school and community productions, Audrey Hepburn or Julia Roberts, it’s just a wonderful show.

But until now, I’d never read it. And of course, this trumps them all. Pygmalion is only my second book of his, but I can say with confidence that I just love reading George Bernard Shaw. This is a captivating play about relationships and
...more
Anne
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: britain, 2020, drama, audio
George Bernard Shaw has much to say in a comedic fashion about class and gender distinctions in his famous play, Pygmalion. As much as I enjoyed listening to the audio version of Pygmalion I kept hearing the musical My Fair Lady in my head. I know the play/musical so well that I saw and heard Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn talking and singing the whole time. Listening to the original text shows me what an excellent job was done in adapting this text to create My Fair Lady. I have to admit that ...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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