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1066 And All That

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1066 And All That

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1066 And All That

1066 and All That: A Memorable History Of England is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of school history textbooks. First appearing serially in Punch magazine, the book was published in 1930, its authors WC Sellar and RJ Yeatman having a pop at most English people's confusion about their country's past.

Seen by many at the time as just a mockery of history, 1066 And All That makes the clever point that history is not about what actually happened, but about what we all remember. Sellar and Yeatman set out a textbook-like overview of English history, where they happily muddle facts, characters and myth to help give an authentic idea of "memorable'" history.  To read about the Norman Conquest, click here.

Beginning with the Roman invasion of 55BC (the first of only two actual dates in the book), it embarks on a distorted journey through history's greatest hits. The book became a classic, and has been serialised on radio. It was also turned into a successful stage show, and its title has now passed into common usage in the English language.

Photo: Francois Schnell


Your comments

Because it is "A memorable history of England ... " Laugh-out-loud funny, witty, satirical, ironic, and both nonsensical and learned.

Sue Grant

An utterly wonderful book that shaped the way I think of our country's history (ie without a lot of respect or accuracy. Contains so many wonderful turns of phrase: "that long succession of waves of which history is chiefly composed"..."[the Danes] who, landing correctly in Thanet, over ran the country from right to left, with fire (and, according to certain obstinate historians, the Sword)" ... "How would you have attempted to deal with (a) The Venomous Bead? (b) A Mabinogion or Wapentake? (Be quick.)" ... "NB Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.". A masterpiece, and a crystal of pure Englishness.
Tom Anderson

This is core to my sense of being as an English person. This is unknown to people outside Britain, it has no meaning and little relevance to most of them :-( I love to tell them about how we are really French, or is it German (Saxons), or is it Danish (Anglos), then how we've been invaded so much we're really multinational in a strange way :-)
Wendy House

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer