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Alan Bennett's The History Boys

Alan Bennett's The History Boys

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The History Boys has been hugely popular both on stage and as a film. “Wonderfully it blends wit and wisdom, now with knockabout humour, now with pain,” wrote Alistair Macaulay in the FT in December 2005. There have been plenty of English plays about schools – what makes Bennett’s unusual is that it is about the actual process of teaching: we see the play’s two intellectual protagonists, Hector and Irwin, at work in the classroom. The play shows us eight grammar school boys trying to win scholarships to Oxbridge in the 1980s, and along the way gives us a fascinating debate about history, literature and the purpose of education itself. 

All you need to know about Alan Bennett's The History Boys is in this advanced guide to the text. Connell Guides are advanced guide books that offer sophisticated analysis and broad critical perspectives for higher-level GCSE and A Level English Literature students. Written by leading academics, Connell Guides are clear, concise and beautifully designed to help students understand, and enjoy, great works of literature. They are perfect for coursework, revision and exam preparation. Connell Guides are also great reads themselves scholarly, yet approachable and entertaining.
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-911187-99-8


What happens in The History Boys?

What does the play tell us about education?

Does the play come down on Hector's side?

Should we feel sympathy for Irwin?

What view does the play take of history?

How does Bennett treat homosexuality in The History Boys?

How seriously should we take Mrs Lintott?

What role does literature play?

What is our final impression of Hector?

What has the truth got to do with it?


Five Facts about Alan Bennett

eBook Options


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