any-and-all bid

1066 and All That

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"). 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 Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of Britain (Chapter XI) and 55 BC, 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 and later examples of which 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).

In English history Kings are either 'Good' or 'Bad'. The first 'Good King' is the confusingly differentiated King Arthur/Alfred (Chapter V). Bad Kings include King John who when he came to the throne showed how much he deserved this epithet when he "lost his temper and flung himself on the floor, foaming at the mouth and biting the rushes" (Chapter XVIII). Other memorable monarchs include the Split King Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 and Broody Mary.

Memorable events in English history include the Disillusion of the Monasteries (Chapter XXXI) and The Industrial Revelation (Chapter XLIX).

The book also contains five joke 'Test Papers' interspersed among the chapters, which contain nonsense instructions including the famous "Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once" (Test Paper V) and "Do not attempt to answer more than one question at a time" (Test Paper I) and such unanswerable questions as "How far did the Lords Repellent drive Henry III into the arms of Pedro the Cruel? (Protractors may not be used.)" (Test Paper II).

Musical comedy

In 1938 a musical comedy, entitled 1066—and all that: A Musical Comedy based on that Memorable History by Sellar and Yeatman, was produced. The book and lyrics were by Reginald Arkell; the music was composed by Alfred Reynolds.

Similar works

1066 and All That inspired Paul Manning's 1984 and All That, dealing with the subsequent history of Britain and the rest of the world up to 1984, and written in the same style, with similar prose, illustrations and tests. ("What caused the Wall Street Crash? Speculate wildly.") The title also refers to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Scoular Anderson has written a humorous history of Scotland in two volumes: 1314 and All That and 1745 and All That. Although the titles reflect Sellar and Yeatman's work, the style of writing and illustration is very different.

In 2005 Craig Brown released 1966 and All That which copied the book's style (including elements like the end of chapter tests), recounting the remainder of the twentieth century.

Richard Armour's book It All Started With Columbus (1953, revised 1961) treats the history of the United States, from 1492 to the JFK presidency, in a manner that owes a great deal to Sellar and Yeatman ("Ferdinand and Isabella refused to believe the world was round, even when Columbus showed them an egg"). Acknowledging the deep debt, Armour dedicated his book to Sellar and Yeatman.

Dave Barry's 1989 book Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States is another treatment of American history reminiscent of 1066 and All That, though Sellar and Yeatman are nowhere acknowledged. ("The first major president to be elected after the War of 1812 was President Monroe Doctrine, who became famous by developing the policy for which he is named.")

Works with titles inspired by 1066

The title was adapted by Raymond F. Streater and Arthur S. Wightman for their (serious) textbook on axiomatic quantum field theory, PCT, Spin and Statistics, and All That. This in turn influenced the titles of several other books, monographs, and papers on mathematical physics . There is also an introductory vector calculus text by H.M. Schey called Div, Grad, Curl, and all that.

Australian cricketer and cartoonist Arthur Mailey had taken all 10 wickets for 66 in a first class match during the 1921 tour of England, and thus entitled his 1958 autobiography 10 for 66 And All That.

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