1066 and All That

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1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England. Written by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman and illustrated by John Reynolds, it first appeared serially in Punch magazine, and was published in book form by Methuen & Co. Ltd. in 1930.



The book is a parody of the Whiggish style of history teaching in English schools at the time, in particular of Our Island Story. It purports to contain "all the history you can remember", and, in fifty-two chapters, covers the history of England from Roman times through 1066 "and all that", up to the end of World War I, at which time "America was thus clearly Top Nation, and history came to a ." (This last chapter is titled "A Bad Thing"; the final pun even requires the English term "full stop", rather than the American "period", to work.) It is based on the idea that history is what you can remember and is full of examples of half-remembered facts.

Although the subtitle states that the book comprises "103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates", the book's preface mentions that originally four dates were planned, but last-minute research revealed that two of them were not memorable. The two dates that are referenced in the book are 1066, the date of the Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of Britain (Chapter XI) and 55 BC, the date of the first Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar (Chapter I). However, when the date of the Roman invasion is given, it is immediately followed by mention of the fact that Caesar was "compelled to invade Britain again the following year (54 BC, not 56, owing to the peculiar Roman method of counting)". Despite the confusion of dates the Roman Conquest is the first of 103 historical events in the book characterised as a Good Thing, "since the Britons were only natives at that time".

Chapter II begins "that long succession of Waves of which History is chiefly composed", the first of which, here, is composed of Ostrogoths, Visigoths, mere Goths, Vandals and Huns. Later examples are the 'Wave of Saints', who include the Venomous Bead (Chapter III); 'Waves of Pretenders', usually divided into smaller waves of two: an Old Pretender and a Young Pretender (Chapter XXX); plus the 'Wave of Beards' in the Elizabethan era (Chapter XXXIII).

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