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Pygmalion
Pygmalion
Pygmalion
Audiobook1 hour

Pygmalion

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

3/5

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About this audiobook

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.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateDec 6, 2000
ISBN9781580815048
Author

George Bernard Shaw

Bernard Shaw, acclaimed Irish playwright and Nobel laureate, has left an indelible mark on Western theater, culture, and politics. Over the course of his life, he wrote more than sixty plays that addressed prevailing social problems through comedy. Shaw was also a prolific essayist and lecturer on economics and sociological subjects, and was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work, marked by its use of stunning satire to encapsulate humanity.

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Reviews for Pygmalion

Rating: 3.026079869600652 out of 5 stars
3/5

1,227 ratings36 reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Pygmalionby George Bernard Shaw 1916Washington Square Press 3.9 / 5When Henry Higgins, a linguist, meets cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, he makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can teach her to speak such perfect English that she could pass as a duchess in polite High Society.He forgets that Eliza is an independent woman, and will not be bought and coddled. Classified under the genre of romance by many, to me, it was also a study of class relations and the perceptions and attitudes towards gender that were prevailing at that time, early 1900's. I really enjoyed the book, but gave it only 3.9 stars. Why? Henry Higgins. The characters are so well developed with a depth and diversity, I felt an instant understanding of them. I just did not like Higgins. At all.This was first a stage play, introduced to the public in 1913, and first printed in 1914. This went on to be the musical 'My Fair Lady' and is an unforgettable book.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Leuk en vlot, spitse dialogen. Sociaal document: moeilijkheid van klasse te doorbreken. Verwijzingen naar Frankenstein zeer duidelijk
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Leuk en vlot, spitse dialogen. Sociaal document: moeilijkheid van klasse te doorbreken. Verwijzingen naar Frankenstein zeer duidelijk
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    For those of us who are familiar only with the movie version titled My Fair Lady, the real story of this play might come as something of a surprise. It did to me! I don't want to spoil anything, but it's fascinating to see how the version starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn was changed to please its audience in 1964. Apparently the end of the play has been a tug-of-war between George Bernard Shaw and the public (and some critics) since its first performance in 1912. I have to say I'm with the public... sorry, George.This LA Theatre production is a live play that was recorded to create an audio performance. So along with the excitement and energy of a live recording, you also get the flaws: different volume levels as the actors move toward or away from the microphones, audience applause, etc. But, taking it for what it is, I enjoyed it very much. It is brilliantly acted; Shannon Cochran as Eliza is especially good. I also liked the actor who plays Mr. Doolittle, and really everyone performs well. It was fun to imagine the actors on a stage rather than in front of a microphone in a recording studio. The play is very witty and nonsensical, abounding in comic misunderstandings and hilarious reversals of cultural norms. It is, in a word, George Bernard Shaw. And yet for all its fun, it does address serious issues such as women's independence and the strict social class system that based so much of its value judgments on external accoutrements (like a person's accent). Very little is safe from Shaw's satirical eye, but somehow his characters escape being cardboard cutouts displaying particular vices. They're attractive and fun, even the selfish ones. It's the good humor behind everything that does it.Though this is certainly no studio production, it was very enjoyable. I'm not really one for reading plays; they are designed to be experienced as a performance, not a silent reading. If you can't see a play, the next-best thing is to hear it. I recommend it!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I enjoyed this particular edition as it includes a "sequel". I have read this before but probably never with so much attention. The "learned Bernard" packs so much in 150 pages it would take one months to study the play thoroughly. Was it about class and gender, ignited by the memory of the changes brought about by the Great War? Or was it something more far-reaching, more contemporary, more futuristic?
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Well done ensemble recording of this famous play. I particularly appreciated the fact that Shaw's commentary (both before and after the play) and stage directions (for the most part) were included.I was a little surprised by Shaw's exposition explaining that Eliza does NOT end up marrying Higgins but Freddy!!! His description of what results from this marriage is satirical in tone but he is quite definite in this sequel to the events of the play.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I wasn't crazy about Pygmalion, but I liked it well enough, so it gets a solid three stars from me. I was expecting the story to be more about the process of Liza's transformation from flower girl to lady, but in actually it focused on the way she was treated by others.

    That being said, I think it's fascinating to look at how Liza views herself and her worth, and that she's so conscious of the importance of how others view her. She flat-out says as much to Pickering towards the end of the play. So often women are portrayed as self-deprecating and humble to the point of shaming themselves, but not so with Liza. From the very beginning she holds herself in high esteem, and gives Higgins the what-for when he doesn't see her as worth much.

    I am bothered by the fact that Higgins never apologizes for the way he objectifies and uses Liza, but I'm bothered even more so by his lack of even really seeing the problem. Liza explains how she feels to Higgins, but he just doesn't get it, saying that he treats everyone the same, so what does it matter? He has a deeply ingrained sense of self-importance and righteousness that got under my skin for the entire story and left me fuming when he never seemed to feel bad about any of it. But, that's life I guess, and it probably would have felt inauthentic if he had changed.

    I would recommend this if you're looking for:
    *a short read
    *something that's referenced a lot
    *a strong female character who steals the spotlight
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Here is the play that "My Fair Lady" was based on. Written by George Bernard Shaw in 1916, this is story of a bet between to bachelor linguists - on if they can make a flower girl sound like Duchess, and pass her off as one at an important party.This book mostly focuses on Professor Henry Higgins. While Liza, the flower girl, is present and finally becomes a much larger character by the end, Mr. Higgins really doesn't get why he is an ass, even his mother thinks so. There are certainly funny bits, especially with Clara spouting very crass slang, thinking its "in style". I especially liked the "sequel", which explains what happens to the main characters- the Bachelor Henry Higgins stays a bachelor in this story, but I found the ending to be very enlightening in what Shaw saw in his characters. This book is rather more satirical and dark than the musical it inspired. Its an easy fun read.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    I'm not sure how I would feel about this book now, but as a high school freshman, this was the last thing I wanted to read.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A lovely, lovely story well-written, amusing, wonderful characters. A modern classic.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Amusing play with some funny dialogue and enjoyable characters, but what really elevates it is the portions that Shaw wrote out demonstrating that he knew what the expectations of the audience were and how foolish such genre cliches often are. Awareness of his material and the average reader's thought process allows Shaw to force you to think more critically about what you've just consumed, which is always a plus in my book.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    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 successful, and the bet is won. However the problem is that the woman, Eliza, is left in a difficult position as despite the fact that she is now educated, she is still a woman and has all the rights of a woman - which is none. So, while Henry Higgins has proven that he can turn a street urchin into a lady, she is still a woman and is left in the situation that she cannot do anything with the education that she now has.This play is an attack upon education and upon the status of women in early 20th Century England. They simply had no rights and while they could learn and they could appear to move among the gentry, the fact that they were women relegated them to a second class status. It is said that the system of education was one of the areas that Shaw attacked in his plays, and in this play we see how despite Liza having an education, she knows that she can do nothing with it, and is not recognised as having an education.This play has spawned a lot of duplicates, one of them being a play by Willy Russell called Educating Rita. I read that book in year 11 when I returned to high school and my English teacher loved it because he believed that it showed us how an education can change us. After reading Pygmalion I believed that that play was left for dead (and still do). However there are differences, namely that the status of women in the mid-twentieth century had changed dramatically. However, the theme is still the same, in that a woman from the working class, through education, was able to lift herself out of the working class.Another spawn would be an Eddie Murphy movie called Trading Places. Here two incredibly wealthy men make a bet that they could turn a bum into a successful Wall Street Trader, and turn the successful Wall Street Trader into a common criminal. Like Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, they succeed, but further, they have no understanding of the power of education, because after turning the bum into a successful trader, they realise that they cannot simply send him back to the streets. He has become educated, and in becoming educated he has the power to fight back, which he does so successfully.It is a shame that Shaw has disappeared into relative obscurity. I do not see any of his plays being performed (though being stuck in the little backwater that is Adelaide means that we see very little in the way of good theatre, or more correctly, what I consider good theatre). Still, beggars can't be choosers, but the educated have the world at their doorstep.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I'm a huge fan of My Fair Lady, so this was an interesting experience. The two are very similar, though MFL added and expanded on scenes and left some out. The ending of Pygmalion was far more ambiguous than MFL, however Eliza appears to have become more independent than in the musical. I still prefer MFL, but this was pleasant.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    The play on which the musical 'My Fair Lady' is based. Two eminent linguists agree to educate a lower-class flower-girl and turn her into a lady. Excellent portrayal of the class-consciousness of the early 20th century, with some humour and great characterisations. Thought-provoking.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I loved this play but I found the ending so very unsatisfying. It is so abrupt and unfinished. It feels like he simply stopped writing in the middle of a thought and just walked away.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I found myself very interested in this play. I knew a lot about it before reading it, but that didn't stop me being interested. It was funny, well written and I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This is the original play version much better known as the musical My Fair Lady. As such, this lacks the variety of scenes of the latter, with the Ambassador's ball taking place off-stage and no Ascot race day. The hilarious scenes of Eliza's elocution lessons ("the rain in Spain is mainly in the plain" etc. are missing here). Aside from that, the dialogue is nearly identical and sparkles and flows like quicksilver though, as when I saw the musical a few days ago, I was irritated by the way Eliza is treated not only by Higgins, but perhaps even more so by the housekeeper Mrs Pearce, as though she is little more than an object with no feelings. In any case, the play/musical are both well worth reading/watching.