Pygmalion and Major Barbara
Publication Date: July 1992
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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 musical My 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.
In Major Barbara Shaw 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.
Michael Holroyd has written celebrated biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Augustus John, and Bernard Shaw, as well as the acclaimed Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. He lives in London with his wife.
Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 - 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He was also an essayist, novelist and short story writer. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems with a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Issues which engaged Shaw's attention included education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.