First Edition of George Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion, Overruled, Pygmalion; Inscribed by Him
Androcles and the Lion, Overruled, Pygmalion.
Shaw, George Bernard.$7,800.00
Item Number: 86436
London: Constable and Company, 1916.
First edition of this collection of plays, which includes Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion; the basis for the George Cukor directed film My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “To Charles Ricketts from George Bernard Shaw. 14th July 1916.” The recipient, Charles Ricketts was an English artist best known for his book illustrations for George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. This copy belonged to William Randolph Hearst and was sold in his sale, Parke Bernet, 22 November 1939. In near fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise case. Signed and inscribed first editions are rare.
n ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth 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 that was first presented in 1871. Shaw would also 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 its film version. 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. My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady. The original Broadway and London shows starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. The musical's 1956 Broadway production was a notable critical and popular success. It set a record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time. It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version, and numerous revivals. My Fair Lady has frequently been called "the perfect musical". It was the basis for the 1964 Geoge Cukor directed film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison as Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins respectively, with Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper and Wilfrid Hyde-White in supporting roles. A critical and commercial success, it won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. In 1998, the American Film Institute named it the 91st greatest American film of all time.