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The History Boys by Alan Bennett
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The History Boys (2004)

by Alan Bennett

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5531918,067 (4.25)52
  1. 00
    Lessons of the Masters (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) by George Steiner (librorumamans)
    librorumamans: Lecture One in Steiner's book is particularly useful to read alongside Bennett's play; a connection that Bennett himself acknowledges in his introduction.
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» See also 52 mentions

English (18)  Italian (1)  All languages (19)
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"The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out and taken yours." - Hector.

When Posner reaches out to grasp Hector's hand... That's everything. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
I read the book after re-watching the film version, and must say that I found the screenplay to be much tighter in terms of narrative flow and continuity. The themes seemed to be more clearly delineated -- Hector is the center of the film version in a way that he appears more muted in the play. Posner in the film is more fully realized, too, and the relationship between Dakin and Irwin is easier to see than to read although I'm not sure how much I liked the actor's work who played Irwin. A thought-provoking read but an even better viewing opportunity for those who choose to see the film. ( )
  marmel.cest.moi | Sep 11, 2014 |
I loved this play when I saw it in NYC so on my way out of the theater, I fished some change out of my pocket and bought it right there. Not my most money-wise moment but I was hungry for some good reading.

Reading the play was even better since I was able to catch things I'd missed when I first saw it on stage. It isn't exactly the most economical play with somewhere around 11 characters on stage, but I think the British have more money for theater. Lucky cats, they are.

This is an excellent play, with every word being weighed and measured. ( )
  Caitdub | Oct 24, 2013 |
The perfect encapsulation of the joy, the value and the importance of education for all. ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
I like reading Tony award-winning plays, and The History Boys won a Tony for best play. I was very excited to read it as a result.

There was a lot of really good stuff to chew on throughout the play. The dialogue was fast-moving, and there were few, if any stage directions. The teacher characters were pretty well-developed, I think, but some of the boys remained very shallow, I felt.

One thing I will say about this play is that it is one that really suffered from just reading rather than being seen. Many times, I can read plays and get a lot out of them without seeing them. Throughout The History Boys I felt like I was missing something important because I was only reading the play. That was disappointing for me, because I felt like it was untold depths that I was missing.

Don't get me wrong; I did enjoy reading it, and it was a very quick read as well. But I definitely want to see a production of it. Oh, and I need to learn French to appreciate the first few pages as well!

The introduction by the author is very thorough and brings out some moments that might otherwise be glazed over in the reading. These moments are ones that came directly from the author's life. At first, I just skimmed the intro, but then after I was a few pages in, I actually read it in depth. It helped frame the play for me.

Like I said, I will definitely be looking for some kind of visual medium to see this play in action, because just the page wasn't enough for me. That's not the author's fault, though - plays were meant to be seen! ( )
  Esquiress | May 7, 2013 |
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Irwin is in a wheelchair, in his forties, addressing three or four unidentified MPs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571224644, Paperback)

"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.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Publisher description: 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 not only universal questions about the nature of history and how it is taught but also questions about the purpose of education today.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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