The notion of handcrafting a flawless spouse was nothing new—the Pygmalion myth dates back to ancient Greece.
On January 29, 1999—exactly 15 years ago—a modern day adaptation of Pygmalion was thrust on an unsuspecting public.
also the Pygmalion word, a British euphemistic substitute for bloody in mid-20c. from its notorious use in Bernard Shaw's play of the same name (1914: "Walk? Not bloody likely!"). The Greek legend of the sculptor/goldsmith and the beautiful statue he made and wished to life, is centered on Cyprus and his name might ultimately be Phoenician.
In classical mythology, a sculptor who at first hated women but then fell in love with a statue he made of a woman. He prayed to Venus that she would find him a woman like the statue. Instead, Venus made the statue come to life.
Note: The play Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, adapts this theme: a professor trains a girl from the gutter to speak and behave like a lady, and then he and his new creation become attached to each other. This play became the basis for the musical comedy My Fair Lady.
A play by George Bernard Shaw, about a professor, Henry Higgins, who trains a poor, uneducated girl, Eliza Doolittle, to act and speak like a lady. Shaw based his story on a tale from Greek mythology about a sculptor who carves a statue of a woman and falls in love with it (see under “Mythology and Folklore”).