Of all of Shaw's plays, Pygmalion is without the doubt the most beloved and popularly received, if not the most significant in literary terms. Several film versions have been made of the play, and it has even been adapted into a musical. In fact, writing the screenplay for the film version of 1938 helped Shaw to become the first and only man ever to win the much coveted Double: the Nobel Prize for literature and an Academy Award. Shaw wrote the part of Eliza in Pygmalion for the famous actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, with whom Shaw was having a prominent affair at the time that had set all of London abuzz. The aborted romance between Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle reflects Shaw's own love life, which was always peppered with enamored and beautiful women, with whom he flirted outrageously but with whom he almost never had any further relations. For example, he had a long marriage to Charlotte Payne-Townsend in which it is well known that he never touched her once. The fact that Shaw was quietly a member of the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology, an organization whose core members were young men agitating for homosexual liberation, might or might not inform the way that Higgins would rather focus his passions on literature or science than on women. That Higgins was a representation of Pygmalion, the character from the famous story of Ovid's Metamorphoses who is the very embodiment of male love for the female form, makes Higgins sexual disinterest all the more compelling. Shaw is too consummate a performer and too smooth in his self- presentation for us to neatly dissect his sexual background; these lean biographical facts, however, do support the belief that Shaw would have an interest in exploding the typical structures of standard fairy tales.
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Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.