The History Boys
The best moments in reading are when you come across something a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out and taken yours.
Remember boys: festoon your answers with gobbets, and you won’t go far wrong.
I would hate to turn out boys who, in later life, would claim to have a love of literature, or speak of the lure of language, and their love of words. Words, said in a way that’s somehow. Welsh.
Pass the parcel. That’ marc jacobs s sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. Tha marc jacobs t’s the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.
But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don’t see it, and because we don’t see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian’s jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be. even on the Holocaust.
The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn’t want war. Yeah, there’s an arms race, but it’s Britain who’s leading it. So, why does no one admit this?
That’s why. The dead. The body count. We don’t like to admit the war was even partly our fault ’cause so many of our people died. And all the mourning’s veiled the truth. It’s not “lest we forget,” it’s “lest we remember.” That’s what all this is about the memorials, the Cenotaph, the marc jacobs two minutes’ silence. Because there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.
[on the Holocaust] But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained then it can be explained away.
[on his life] I’m a Jew, I’m small; I’m homosexual, and I live in Sheffield. [pause] I’m fed.
He thinks he is in love with Dakin, however, no one believes this and thinks it is just a phase
[on Hector being sacked] No more genital massage as one speed along leafy suburban roads. No more the bike’s melancholy long withdrawing roar as he dropped you at the corner, you honor still intact.
How do I define history? It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another.
History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind. with a bucket.
Durham was very good for history. It’s where I had my first pizza. Other things too, of course, but it’s the pizza that stands out.
The more you read, though, the more you’ll see that literature is actually about losers. It’s consolation. All literature is consolation.
They’re good. but they’re crass. They need polish. edge.
I want to be up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Asks, Leighton Park. or is that an open prison? No matter.
One oddity: Rudge. And Christchurch of all places! Might get into Loughborough. on a bad year. otherwise all brights!
I said it from the start: you can’t polish a turd! (About Rudge)
On enquiry I find his pupils know all the words of “When I’m Cleaning Windows”. And Gracie Fields, Dorothy, Gracie Fields.
I was a geographer. I went to Hull. Houseman] Wasn’t he a nancy, sir?
Hector: Foul, festering, grubby minded little tr marc jacobs ollop! [hitting Timms with a rolling up paper] Do not use that word!
Timms: But you use it, sir.
Hector: I do, sir, I know, but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.
Dakin: You’re not supposed to hit us, sir. We could report you.
Hector: I know, I know.
Crowther: Yeah. You should treat us with more respect. We’re scholarship candidates now, sir. We’re all going in for Oxford and Cambridge.