With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.
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.
Alan Bennett has long been one of the world's most revered humorists. From his acclaimed story collection Smut to his hilarious and sharply observed The Uncommon Reader, Bennett has consistently remained one of literature's most acute observers of Britain and life's many absurdities.
In this new collection, drawn from his wide-ranging career, you'll read some of Bennett's finest work, including the title story, the basis for a new feature film starring Maggie Smith. The book also includes the rollicking comic masterpiece "The Laying on of Hands" and the bittersweet "Father! Father! Burning Bright," Bennett's classic tale of the tense relationship between a man and his dying father.
'A superb thriller, but also a disturbing study in human nature. The narrative pace never slackens, thanks to the spareness and elegance of Horniman's prose... it is a book of its time, quite faithful to it, and (despite its 400 pages) over all too quickly.'
Simon Heffer, in his Preface
Untold Stories brings together some of the finest and funniest writing by one of England's best-known literary figures. Alan Bennett's first major collection since Writing Home contains previously unpublished work—including the title piece, a poignant memoir of his family and of growing up in Leeds—along with his much celebrated diary for the years 1996 to 2004, and numerous other exceptional essays, reviews, and comic pieces. In this highly anticipated compendium, the Today Book Club author of The Clothes They Stood Up In reveals a great many untold secrets and stories with his inimitable humor and wry honesty—his family's unspoken history, his memories of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and his response to the success of his most recent play, The History Boys.
Since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s, Bennett has delighted audiences worldwide with writing that is, in his words, "no less serious because it is funny." The History Boys opened to great acclaim at the Royal National Theatre in 2004, winning numerous awards, and is scheduled to open in New York City in April 2006.