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George Bernard Shaw demanded truth and despised convention. He punctured hollow pretensions and smug prudishness--coating his criticism with ingenious and irreverent wit. In Mrs. Warren's Profession, Arms and the Man, Candida, and Man and Superman, the great playwright satirizes society, military heroism, marriage, and the pursuit of man by woman. From a social, literary, and theatrical standpoint, these four plays are among the foremost dramas of the age--as intellectually stimulating as they are thoroughly enjoyable. "My way of joking is to tell the truth: It is the funniest joke in the world."--G. B. Shaw With an Introduction by Eric Bentley and an Afterword by Norman Lloyd
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. A staple of college drama courses, it is still widely performed.
Pygamalion tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics, who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. In the process, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill-- a young, poor gentleman.
Speech professor Henry Higgins successfully teaches Eliza Doolittle to speak and act like a duchess, but she adamantly refuses to be his creation.
George Bernard Shaw was the greatest British dramatist after Shakespeare, a satirist equal to Jonathan Swift, and a playwright whose most profound gift was his ability to make audiences think by provoking them to laughter. In one of his best-loved plays,Pygmalion,which later became the basis for the musicalMy Fair Lady,Shaw compels the audience to see the utter absurdity and hypocrisy of class distinction when Professor Henry Higgins wagers that he can transform a common flower girl into a lady--and then pass her off as a duchess--simply by changing her speech and manners. InMajor BarbaraShaw spins out the drama of an eccentric millionaire, a romantic poet, and a misguided savior of souls, Major Barbara herself, in a topsy-turvy masterpiece of sophisticated banter and urbane humor. His brilliant dialogue, combined with his use of paradox and socialist theory, never fails to tickle, entertain--and challenge. From the Paperback edition.
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