Tom Heffernan - The Liza Letters - Greening & Co., 1904, First Edition.


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Code: 9599

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London, Greening & Co., 1904. First edition, first impression. Paperback. A near fine copy. Tantalisingly, there's a note by a previous bookseller noting simply "pre-Pygmalion" suggesting that the present title has a connection to that ancient (and GBS) trope of falling in love with one's creation. The novelette presents as a series of letters, and the Pygmalion aspect appears to be along the lines of refining the 'coarse' woman. The letters start with a sort of Cockney dialect, dropping h's and th's, signing the letters Liza (fortunately, she's had the foresight to include an apostrophe where she's dropping letters - but let's just ignore that). Toward the end of the book (though the final gathering is still unopened) Liza becomes Elizabeth, and 'Ria to whom the letters are addressed become 'Maria' and finally, 'My Dear Maria Cheeseman'. Obviously, given the vast influence of Ovid's Pygmalion, it would be impossible to suggest the Pygmalion of Shaw could have been influenced by this title, but it doesn't stretch too far to suggest that there may have been influence on the particular manifestation of the Pygmalion trope. We have a character Liza/Elizabeth, much like Shaw's Eliza, and the whole Cockney aspect. It lacks the charm of Shaw's play (and the Hepburn film) and the aspect of transformation/sculpting is less a directed effort and more hints here and there. For example, one character implore's Liza to ensure she pronounces her H's, and Lord Arthur (the Higgins parallel) describes Liza as his protege. Of course, social mobility was a trope in itself, so this could be nothing more than coincidence. There are a number of pages unopened, so I can't read it properly. Anyway, an interesting book for someone to read properly and make their own deductions. Some scuffing and tearing to the wraps, but overall in excellent shape. A little foxed. An uncommon book - no copies located in commerce, three in insitutions. [9599, Hyraxia Books].

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