‘Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf . . . you incarnate insult to the English language: I could pass you off as the Queen of Sheba’
Pygmalion both delighted and scandalized its first audiences in 1914. A brilliantly witty reworking of the classical tale of the sculptor who falls in love with his perfect female statue, it is also a barbed attack on the British class system and a statement of Shaw’s feminist views. In Shaw’s hands, the phoneticist Henry Higgins is the Pygmalion figure who believes he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl, into a duchess at ease in polite society. The one thing he overlooks is that his ‘creation’ has a mind of her own.
With an Introduction by NICHOLAS GRENE