The History Boys: A Play

The History Boys: A Play

Alan Bennett

Language: English

Pages: 109

ISBN: 0571224644

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A play of depth as well as dazzle, intensely moving as well as thought-provoking and funny." The Daily Telegraph

An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form (or senior) boys in a British boys' school are, as such boys will be, in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university, generally in that order. In all their efforts, they are helped and hindered, enlightened and bemused, by a maverick English teacher who seeks to broaden their horizons in sometimes undefined ways, and a young history teacher who questions the methods, as well as the aim, of their schooling. In The History Boys, Alan Bennett evokes the special period and place that the sixth form represents in an English boy's life. In doing so, he raises―with gentle wit and pitch-perfect command of character―not only universal questions about the nature of history and how it is taught but also questions about the purpose of education today.

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plain / Will Hodge forever be’ is like Rupert Brooke, sir. ‘There’s some corner of a foreign field …’ ‘In that rich earth a richer dust concealed …’ Hector It is. It is. It’s the same thought … though Hardy’s is better, I think … more … more, well, down to earth. Quite literally, yes, down to earth. Anything about his name? Posner Hodge? Hector Mmm – the important thing is that he has a name. Say Hardy is writing about the Zulu Wars or later the Boer War possibly, and, these were the first

talking to camera. Irwin If you want to learn about Stalin study Henry VIII. If you want to learn about Mrs Thatcher study Henry VIII. If you want to know about Hollywood study Henry VIII. Music and video sequence. This is Rievaulx Abbey and this vertiginous trench is its main latrine. It is a sad fact that whatever the sublimity and splendour of the ruins of our great abbeys to the droves of often apathetic visitors the monastic life only comes alive when contemplating its toilet

Hector Ah. Lockwood Why is that, sir? Hector That? Oh. It’s just a question of timetable, apparently. No. What I was going to tell you … Lockwood What’s the point, sir? Your lessons are so different from his. The whole ethos is different, sir. Timms And we relish the contrast, sir. Crowther Revel in it, sir. Lockwood Yin and yang, sir. Akthar The rapier cut and thrust, sir. Timms It’s all about variety, sir. Hector Hush, boys. Hush. Sometimes … sometimes you defeat me. Dakin Oh no,

he is always threatening to abandon in order, as he puts it, ‘really to write’. Scripps puts up his hand. Irwin Hector said I was a journalist. Mrs Lintott And so you were. Briefly at the school and then on TV. I enjoyed your programmes but they were more journalism than history. What you call yourself now you’re in politics I’m not sure. Irwin I’m not in politics. Who’s in politics? I’m in government. Mrs Lintott Well you’re not in monastic history, that’s for sure. Hector would have been

examinations. These considerations have acquired a more general interest as history has become more popular both on the page and on the screen. The doyen of TV historians, Simon Schama, is in a league of his own, and his political viewpoint is not in the forefront, but the new breed of historians – Niall Ferguson, Andrew Roberts and Norman Stone – all came to prominence under Mrs Thatcher and share some of her characteristics. Having found that taking the contrary view pays dividends, they seem

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