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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191


abled him to popularize his subject, but for his Satanic contempt for all academic
dignitaries and persons in general who thought more of Greek than of phonetics.
Once, in the days when the Imperial Institute rose in South Kensington, and
Joseph Chamberlain was booming the Empire, I induced the editor of a leading
monthly review to commission an article from Sweet on the imperial importance
of his subject. When it arrived, it contained nothing but a savagely derisive attack
on a professor of language and literature whose chair Sweet regarded as proper to
a phonetic expert only. The article, being libellous, had to be returned as impossi-
ble; and I had to renounce my dream of dragging its author into the limelight.
When I met him afterwards, for the first time for many years, I found to my
astonishment that he, who had been a quite tolerably presentable young man, had
actually managed by sheer scorn to alter his personal appearance until he had be-
come a sort of walking repudiation of Oxford and all its traditions. It must have
been largely in his own despite that he was squeezed into something called a
Readership of phonetics there. The future of phonetics rests probably with his pu-
pils, who all swore by him; but nothing could bring the man himself into any sort
of compliance with the university to which he nevertheless clung by divine right
in an intensely Oxonian way. I daresay his papers, if he has left any, include some
satires that may be published without too destructive results fifty years hence. He
was, I believe, not in the least an illnatured man: very much the opposite, I should
say; but he would not suffer fools gladly.

Those who knew him will recognize in my third act the allusion to the patent
shorthand in which he used to write postcards, and which may be acquired from a
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191



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