Thursday, May 30, 2019

Shakespeare References in Pygmalion

Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion contains a few references to Shakespeare. Henry Higgins, early in the play when he still identified as “The Note Taker,” says to Eliza Doolittle, “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespear and Milton and The Bible” (p. 20). And, yes, that is how Shakespeare’s name is spelled in the text. Later Higgins says to Pickering, about Eliza, “This unfortunate animal has been locked up for nine years in school at our expense to teach her to speak and read the language of Shakespear and Milton” (P. 55). And still later, Higgins says to Pickering, “Lets take her to the Shakespear exhibition at Earls Court” (p. 71). And yes, “Let’s” is spelled without the apostrophe in the text.

Pygmalion was first published in 1916. The edition I read is the Penguin Books edition from 1973, which includes additional material from George Bernard Shaw from 1942.

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