Auden often said that metre and rhyme led him down unexpected paths to thoughts he wouldn't otherwise have had, and in this respect versification and fornication are not so different. Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by amongst others their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. You are a rent boy. I am a poet. Over the wall lives the Dean of Christ Church. We all have our parts to play. Alan Bennett's new play is as much about the theatre as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent: ultimately, on the habit of art. 'In the end,' said Auden, 'art is small beer. The really serious things in life are earning one's living and loving one's neighbour.'
A sale? Why not? Release all your wonderful treasures onto the open market and they are there for everyone to enjoy. It's a kind of emancipation, a setting them free to range the world ... a saleroom here, an exhibition there; art, Lady Stacpoole, is a rover. People spoil things; there are so many of them and the last thing one wants is them traipsing through one's house. But with the park a jungle and a bath on the billiard table, what is one to do? Dorothy wonders if an attic sale could be a solution. People premieres at the National Theatre, London, in October 2012. As with Alan Bennett's previous two plays, The History Boys and The Habit of Art, People will open in the Lyttelton Theatre in a production directed by the National's artistic director Nicholas Hytner. - How're you doing? - Not sure. - Well why don't you get on the mobile to your dick and find out.
It's a dwindling band; old-fashioned and of a certain age, you can pick us out at funerals and memorial services because we can sing the hymns without the book. Alan Bennett writes: In 2001 the Medici Quartet commissioned the composer George Fenton to write them a piece commemorating their thirtieth anniversary. George Fenton appeared in my play Forty Years On and has written music for many of my plays since, and he asked me to collaborate on the commission. Hymn was the result. First performed at the Harrogate Festival in August 2001, it's a series of memoirs with music. Besides purely instrumental passages for the quartet, many of the speeches are under-scored, incorporating some of the hymns and music I remember from my childhood and youth. The text includes both words and music. Hymn is coupled with Cocktail Sticks, an oratorio without music that revisits some of the themes and conversations of Alan Bennett's memoir A Life Like Other People's. A son talks to his dead father as his mother yearns for a different life. It's funny, tender and sad. The pinnacle of my social life is a scrutty bit of lettuce and tomato and some tinned salmon. Mind you, I read in Ideal Home that if you mix tinned salmon with this soft cheese you can make it into one of those moussy things. Shove a bit of lemon on it and it looks really classy.
Autobiography has been an essential element of the London Review of Books since its founding in 1979. This volume collects many outstanding pieces of memoir that first appeared in the LRB's pages.
Here, Lorna Sage remembers growing up with her grandfather during the Second World War, Jenny Diski imagines her own burial, and Hilary Mantel tackles a strongman on her hospital bed. Julian Barnes writes about not getting the Booker Prize. Andrew O'Hagan confesses to his past as a schoolboy bully. A. J. P. Taylor hallucinates. Alan Bennett reports on the lady who lives in his drive. Tariq Ali relates his misadventures in Pyongyang. Anne Enright describes her obsession with Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells grow in petri dishes around the world. Frank Kermode tells his wartime stories. Terry Castle recounts her complicated friendship with Susan Sontag. There are reports from poker tables and coal mines, and stories of double agents, online romance and stigmata.
With a preface by Alan Bennett, Meeting the Devil displays the range of power and delight possible in the study of self-portrait.
Writers like to elude their public, lead them a bit of a dance. They take them down untrodden paths, land them in unknown country where they have to ask for directions.In this personal anthology, Alan Bennett has chosen over seventy poems by six well-loved poets, discussing the writers and their verse in his customary conversational style through anecdote, shrewd appraisal and spare but telling biographical detail. Ranging from hidden treasures to famous poems, this is a collection for the beginner and the expert alike. Speaking with candour about his own reactions to the work, Alan Bennett creates profound and witty portraits of Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Philip Larkin, all the more enjoyable for being in his own particular voice.Anybody writing poetry in the thirties had somehow to come to terms with Auden. Auden, you see, had got a head start on the other poets. He'd got into the thirties first, like someone taking over the digs.
Que se passerait-il outre-Manche si Sa Majesté la Reine se découvrait une passion pour la lecture ? Si, d'un coup, rien n'arrêtait son insatiable soif de livres, au point qu'elle en vienne à négliger ses engagements royaux ?
C'est à cette drôle de fiction que nous invite Alan Bennett, le plus grinçant des comiques anglais. Henry James, les soeurs Brontë, Jean Genet et bien d'autres défilent sous l'oeil implacable d'Elizabeth, cependant que le monde so British de Buckingham Palace s'inquiète. Du valet de chambre au prince Philip, tous grincent des dents tandis que la royale passion littéraire met sens dessus dessous l'implacable protocole de la maison Windsor.
Un succès mondial a récompensé cette joyeuse farce qui, par-delà la drôlerie, est aussi une belle réflexion sur le pouvoir subversif de la lecture.
Miss Shepherd, vieille dame excentrique, vit dans une camionnette aux abords de la résidence londonienne d´Alan Bennett. Victime de l´embourgeoisement du quartier et de quelques vauriens, elle finit par installer son véhicule dans la propriété de l´auteur.
Commence alors une incroyable cohabitation entre la marginale et la célébrité, qui durera près de vingt ans.
Entre disputes, extravagances et situations drolatiques, la dame à la camionnette n´épargne rien à son hôte ni au lecteur. Bennett, en excellent conteur, saisit leur duo et livre, au-delà des anecdotes, un tableau très juste du Londres des années 1970 et 1980, de sa bourgeoisie progressiste et de ses exclus.
Un récit d´une grande humanité qui croque avec humour les travers de la société britannique contemporaine.
Alan Bennett est un écrivain, dramaturge, homme de radio britannique internationalement connu. En France il a rencontré un franc succès avec La Reine des lectrices puis La Mise à nu des époux Ransome ou encore So shocking !
The Uncommon Reader is none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. She reads widely ( JR Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton Burnett and the classics) and intelligently. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. She comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with much that she has to do. In short, her reading is subversive. The consequence is, of course, surprising, mildly shocking and very funny
This second volume of plays by Alan Bennett includes his two Kafka plays, one an hilarious comedy, the other a profound and searching drama. Also included is An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution. The fascination of these two plays lies in the way they question our accepted notions of treachery and, in different ways, make a sympathetic case for Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt.
This book brings together Alan Bennett's diaries for 1980-1995, with reminiscences and reviews, the diary he kept during the production of his very first play, Forty Years On, which starred John Gielgud, together with hilarious accounts of his many television plays, notably An Englishman Abroad and A Private Function.
At the heart of the book is The Lady in the Van, the true account of Miss Mary Shepherd, a homeless tramp who took up residence in Bennett's garden and stayed for fifteen years. From his now-legendary address at Russell Harty's memorial service to recollections of growing up in Leeds, Writing Home gives us a unique and unforgettable portrait of one of England's leading playwrights
An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool.
In Alan Bennett's new play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.
The History Boys premièred at the National in May 2004.
'Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education .. In short, a superb, life-enhancing play.' Guardia
This collection of Alan Bennett's work includes his first play and West End hit, Forty Years On, as well as Getting On, Habeus Corpus, and Enjoy.Forty Years On'Alan Bennett's most gloriously funny play ... a brilliant, youthful perception of a nation in decline, as seen through the eyes of a home-grown school play ... a classic.' Daily MailGetting OnWinner of the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award in 1971, Getting on is an account of a middle-aged Labour MP, so self-absorbed that he remains blind to the fact that his wife is having an affair with the handyman, his mother-in-law in dying, his son is getting ready to leave home, his best friend thinks him a fool and that to everyone who comes into contact with him he is a self-esteeming joke.Habeus Corpus'After two elegiac comedies about the decline of old England, Mr Bennett has now written a gorgeously vulgar but densely plotted facre that is a downright celebration of sex and the human body ... a combination of hurtling action with verbal brilliance.' GuardianEnjoyEnjoy uncannily foresaw the attitudes to English working-class life now enshrined in themeparks. 'The classic tug in Bennett between childhod Yorkshire and intellectual sophistication has never been better, or more daringly expressed.' Observer
Adapted by the author from his autobiographical memoir, The Lady in the Van tells the story of Miss Mary Shepherd, whom Alan Bennett first came across when she was living in the street near his home in Camden Town. Taking refuge with her van in his garden originally for three months, she ended up staying fifteen years. Funny, touching and unexpectedly spectacular, The Lady in the Van marked the return to the stage of one of our leading playwrights.
The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith opened at the Queen's Theatre, London, in December 1999
George III's behaviour has often been odd, but now he is deranged, with rumours circulating that he has even addressed an oak tree as the King of Prussia. Doctors are brought in, the government wavers and the Prince Regent manoeuvres himself into power.
Alan Bennett's play explores the court of a mad king, and the fearful treatments he was forced to undergo. It is about the nature of kingship itself, showing how by subtle degrees the ruler's delirium erodes his authority and status
Alan Bennett's first collection of prose since Writing Home takes in all his major writings over the last ten years. The title piece is a poignant family memoir with an account of the marriage of his parents, the lives and deaths of his aunts and the uncovering of a long-held family secret. Also included are his much celebrated diaries for the years 1996 to 2004. At times heartrending and at others extremely funny, Untold Stories is a matchless and unforgettable anthology.
'Funny, moving and true.' Blake Morrison, Guardian 'I have never read a book of this length where I have turned the last page with such regret. It is intelligent, educated, engaging, humane, self-aware, cantankerous and irresistibly funny. You want it to go on forever.' John Carey, Sunday Times 'I can only join the mighty chorus of praise.' Nicholas Hytner, Sunday Telegraph 'Alan Bennett, with his combination of pitiless observation and gentle understatement, is perhaps the best loved of English writers alive today.' Sunday Telegraph Untold Stories is published jointly with Profile Books
A memoir that offers a portrait of the author's parents' marriage and recalling his Leeds childhood, Christmases with Grandma Peel, and the lives, loves and deaths of his unforgettable aunties Kathleen and Myra.
The Shielding of Mrs ForbesGraham Forbes is a disappointment to his mother who thinks that if he must have a wife, he should have done better. And her own husband would be better if she were mourning him than living with him. But this is Alan Bennett, so no matter the importance of keeping up appearances, what is happening in the bedroom (and in lots of other places too) is altogether more startling, perhaps shocking, and ultimately much more honest to people's predilections.The Greening of Mrs Donaldson Mrs Donaldson is a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been much like many others: happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull. But when she decides to take in two lodgers (a young, broke couple) passions that she never knew existed are aroused, and her mundane life becomes much more stimulating ...
Alan Bennett is the author of Writing Home, The Madness of George III, Talking Heads, The Clothes They Stood Up In and much else besides. Miss Shepherd lived in a Robin Reliant opposite Bennett's house in Camden Town. After a series of attacks on her van, he suggested she move, with her van, to his front drive. Initially reluctant, she agreed - and Bennett landed himself a tenancy that went on for fifteen years. The Lady in the Van is probably Alan Bennett's best-known work of non-fiction, and follows his other little blockbuster The Clothes They Stood Up In.
Adapted for the screen by the author from his celebrated memoir, Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van, is directed by long-standing collaborator Nicholas Hytner.The film tells the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who 'temporarily' parked her van in Bennett's London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years. Their unique story is funny, poignant and life-affirming.The Complete Lady in the Van contains a Foreword by Nicholas Hytner, a substantial Introduction with diary entries by Alan Bennett, the original memoir and the screenplay. The book includes numerous illustrations by David Gentleman, who sketched on set throughout filming, and a colour plate-section including behind-the-scenes photographs and stills from the film
'I seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked 'no threat' and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.' Alan Bennett's third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. This latest collection contains Bennett's peerless diaries 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade that saw four premieres at the National Theatre (The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks), a West End double-bill transfer, and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van. There's a provocative sermon on private education given before the University at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, and 'Baffled at a Bookcase' offers a passionate defence of the public library. The book includes Denmark Hill, a darkly comic radio play set in suburban south London, as well as Bennett's reflections on a quarter of a century's collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. This is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.
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