Alan Bennett: The History Boys

(1910 words)

Alan Bennett's play The History Boys (2004) proved a great success at London's National Theatre and on Broadway, with a film version released in October 2006. Bennett's lively two-act drama is packed with jokes, wordplay, poetry and music. It combines elements of comedy, tragedy, elegy, satire and farce to dramatize key questions about the purpose of education, the ethics of teaching, and the function of history in ways that are funny, provocative, moving and profound.

The play opens with Irwin, a forty-something government spin-doctor in a wheelchair, advising MPs on how to present to the public a controversial Bill to limit trial by jury. He suggests that such legislation should be portrayed as restricting liberty i…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Tredell, Nicolas. "The History Boys". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2006
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]