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The History Boys: A Play by Alan Bennett
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The History Boys: A Play (2004)

by Alan Bennett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6862320,686 (4.12)57
  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 57 mentions

English (22)  Italian (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I have tried and I failed..
I have stumbled on a French language right in the beginning of the play..
I will give it another try, but some time later..
  Shadow_Sandy | Jan 12, 2019 |
So I'd seen the film a dozen times but already knew the chief differences between play and film (the downer ending of the play, in particular), so I was spared some degree of devastation at the two being different. The ending confuses me, really, because till this point I'd sort of conflated Bennett and Posner which might've been wrong of me to do, but Posner's fate, while it has a very British pessimistic realism to it, is not what I should hope Bennett feels his own fate is. It is a bit Hollywood to want to see the success of the underdog and to act as if a person who suffered deserves the happiest ending, but really, Bennett? I'd just like Posner to feel satisfied with his own life, that's all really! ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
A wonderful, witty play. A group of eight teenage boys are in their final year of school, preparing to take scholarship examinations for university. Oxford or Cambridge admission is the big prize. Their teachers have different ideas about the role of education which seem competitive but are complementary.

The boys and teachers verbally joust and show off throughout the play as they struggle to find what they think will be the best way to succeed at the exams. Should they learn to be showmen of history, hiding their shallow knowledge with a glib and deft ability to turn a question on its side, learning how to hide their deflection by cloaking it in humour, outrageous comments and witty asides? Or should they foster an understanding and appreciation of a wider range of inquiry?

Being boys of late teenage years, they also are wrestling with their sexuality and its expression, and are further burdened by society's oppression of gays, which was only beginning to weaken in the 1980s when this is set.

Alan Bennett's style is as usual gentle, witty and incisively understanding of the human condition. Highly recommended.

Also highly recommended is Manny's funny "Digested Read" style review on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/39431060 ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Not my cup of tea but even so, fairly witty and humorous at times. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
2
  kutheatre | Jun 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Bennettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffiths, RichardReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hytner, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merrison, CliveReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:53 -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 3 descriptions

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