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Pygmalion: 1913 London

A guide to support the Pygmalion unit in Year 10 English.

When was Pygmalion written?

Pygmalion was first performed in 1913, and was a realistic play set in that time. The play depicted scenes from working class London, specifically Covent Gardens and highlighted the difference between the working class and the upper class.

Eliza Dolittle spoke with a "cockney" accent and one of the characteristics played upon was her ability to refine her accent, and of course her dress and mannerisms.

Pygmalion is set just before the commencement of World War 1, which started in 1914. So Britain hasn't really been hit by the hardships of war, the suffragette movement is in full swing and George V is King of the United Kingdom.

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1910s

"On or about December 1910, human character changed. I am not saying that one went out, as one might into a garden, and there saw that a rose had flowered, or that a hen had laid an egg. The change was not sudden and definite like that. But a change there was, nevertheless; and, since one must be arbitrary, let us date it about the year 1910."
Virginia Woolf 1924

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