And Now All This.

By W G Sellar & R J Yeatman

Printed: 1932

Publisher: Methuen & Co. London

Dimensions 13 × 20 × 2 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 13 x 20 x 2

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Item information


Maroon cloth binding with gilt title on the spine. Embossed gilt rabbit and kneeling figure on the front board.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

A good copy of a classic satire.

Sellar and Yeatman’s spoof of British history `1066 and All That’ is a minor classic. It is funny in a number of different ways, and what I remember (or think I remember) best is the confusion over names and the supposed exam papers. If I recall, there was a king who died when he heard that his sons were revolting; but the funniest kings were the Anglo-Saxons like the Wave of Egg-Kings (Egfroth, Egfilth etc) and some with very funny authentic-sounding names such as Thruthelthrolth. I also still laugh at the confusion between Florence Nightingale and Flora Macdonald, ending up as a composite persona called Flora McNightingown, the Lady with the Deadly Lampshade. The test-papers were a bit childish I suppose, but probably so am I. I still like the thought of, say, `Fill in the following blanks – A)_______ B)_______ C) Simon de Montfort’. There was a good quota of that sort of thing plus sundry instructions like `Do not write on more than two sides of the paper.’

They tried again, but for me the magic is not there except very occasionally. In `1066′ they were on their home ground, at least in a sense. They had achieved very undistinguished results in History Schools at Oxford, but at least that gave them a focus. This time round they seem to be casting about for a theme or themes. The humour seems to me rather laboured and contrived by comparison. Interestingly, the bit that I found funniest was once again something that reflected what was regarded as the better kind of English education at the time, the standard grounding in Greek and Latin. When Jason is reported to have married Alopetia daughter of Perispomenon and half-cousin of Periscope I sensed a momentary flash of the old brilliance. Perhaps there is nostalgia in my reaction here: I wonder how many people these days have been told what a perispomenon is.

I still like satire, and it doesn’t have to be modern satire because I adore Juvenal and Swift. I don’t want to cast too much of a downer on this little book, and some will certainly react more enthusiastically to it than I do. It’s short, so by all means try it for yourself. If you can, enjoy.

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