INTRODUCTION The interior of this edition is designed for a streamlined reading by differentiating the dialogues form the description of the scenes and actions which are put in a lower font and different/lighter color. This makes the reading of story easy without going through the details. In addition to this, the summary of the play, a complete biography of the author (GB Shaw) and some illustrations have been added to this book. Pygmalion, the most appealing of all plays written by George Bernard Shaw, is named after the Greek mythological character Pygmalion who was a sculptor and carved a beautiful ivory image of a woman and named it Galatea. Pygmalion fell in love with his creation and prayed to the goddesses of love and sex, Aphrodite, to animate that ivory image before he married it. But Mr. Shaw's Pygmalion, Mr. Higgins does not marry his creation and always shows dejection and disrespect though he has a soft corner in his heart where he hides his love for her. This play has five Acts and it was first presented on stage in the year 1912. Henry Higgins, who is a professor of phonetics and a confirmed bachelor, has an old mother who lives in a separate house. Higgins lives alone before he meets colonel Pickering and has a matured housemaid Mrs. Pearce. He meets Colonel Pickering who is an expert of languages including Sanskrit and Indian dialects. After the coincidental meeting with Pickering and the flower girl, Eliza at a bus stop on a rainy day, Higgins makes a bet that he can train her to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence. The general idea of the myth of Pygmalion 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 first presented in 1871. Shaw also would have been familiar with the burlesque version, Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed. Shaw's play has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the musical My Fair Lady and the film of that name. Shaw mentioned that the character of Professor Henry Higgins was inspired by several British professors of phonetics: Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, but above all, the cantankerous Henry Sweet. Shaw wrote the play in the spring of 1912 and read it to famed actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell in June. She came on board almost immediately, but her mild nervous breakdown contributed to the delay of a London production. Pygmalion premiered at the Hofburg Theatre in Vienna on October 16, 1913, in a German translation by Shaw's Viennese literary agent and acolyte, Siegfried Trebitsch. Its first New York production opened March 24, 1914 at the German-language Irving Place Theatre. It opened in London April 11, 1914, at Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's His Majesty's Theatre and starred Mrs. Campbell as Eliza and Tree as Higgins, running for 118 performances. Shaw directed the actors through tempestuous rehearsals often punctuated by at least one of the two storming out of the theater in a rage.
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