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Derek McGovern

Doctor of Philosophy, (English)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Eliza undermined: The romanticisation of Shaw's pygmalion

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Mr McGovern’s research examined the metamorphosis of Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion from anti-romantic satire to conventional love story through a series of screen and musical adaptations that successively undermined the playwright’s feminist conception of his work, culminating in the 1964 film My Fair Lady. Mr McGovern focused on Shaw’s numerous attempts to counter the romanticisation of Pygmalion, most notably in a 1938 screenplay adaptation, and then in the final revision of his play in 1941. However, Mr McGovern found that, ironically enough, Shaw’s interventions not only laid the foundation for the romanticized adaptations that followed, but obscured the superiority of his original play.

Professor Dick Corballis
Dr Ian Huffer