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Pygmalion (Penguin Classics) - Softcover

 
9780141439501: Pygmalion (Penguin Classics)
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Exclusive to Penguin Classics: the definitive text of Shaw’s brilliantly witty exposure of the British class system—part of the official Bernard Shaw Library

A Penguin Classic

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.

This Penguin Classics edition is the definitive text produced under the editorial supervision of Dan H. Laurence, with an illuminating introduction by Nicholas Grene, discussing the language and politics of the play. Included in this volume is Shaw’s preface, as well as his “sequel” written for the first publication in 1916, to rebut public demand for a more conventionally romantic ending.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Back Cover:

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.
In Shaw's clever adaptation, Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistic expert, takes on a bet that he can transform an awkward cockney flower seller into a refined young lady simply by polishing her manners and changing the way she speaks. In the process of convincing society that his creation is a mysterious royal figure, the Professor also falls in love with his elegant handiwork.
The irresistible theme of the emerging butterfly, together with Shaw's brilliant dialogue and splendid skills as a playwright, have made Pygmalion one of the most popular comedies in the English language.

From the Inside Flap:
One of Shaw's most enduring works, Pygmalion is an insightful comedy of class relations and perceptions, as played out between a Cockney flower girl and the irascible speech professor who has taken her on as a pet project. Described by critics as "a play of great vitality and charm," Pygmalion inspired the award-winning stage and film productions of Lerner and Loewe's musical, My Fair Lady.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Roslyn Alexander, Shannon Cochran, Denise du Maurier, Rebecca MacLean, David New, Kenneth J. Northcott, Nicholas Pennell, Nicholas Rudall, Ben Whitehouse and Laura Whyte.

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