Sellar and Yeatman

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This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.


Sellar, W.C. and Yeatman, R.J. (1930) 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, illustrated by John Reynolds, London, Methuen.
This is a comic version of the history of England (with side glances at the other nations of the British Isles), originally serialized in the comic magazine Punch. It was very successful, reaching its 9th printing by the following year. A 75th anniversary edition was published in 2005.
The humour of this farcical look at British history arises from the authors' knowledge of the simple stories and clichés that formed much of elementary history teaching in the first quarter of the twentieth century, particularly as mis-remembered by less diligent school students. (Sellar (1898-1951) was a schoolteacher, at the public schools Fettes, Canford and Charterhouse; Yeatman (1897-1968) (who pronounced his name 'YET-man', IPA: /ˈjɛt mən/) had graduated from Oxford with a degree in History.) The two authors enjoy puns, hyperbole and various forms of comic misapprehension, and have immortalized (or invented) some vivid howlers.
The book is worth reading for some very perceptive insights into popular knowledge of history; because it gives a wide acquaintance of the sorts of garbling that non-historians make of their past; and because it is funny. It should NOT be taken seriously.