1066 and All That

1066 and All That: A classic humorous survey of British history (1930) by W.C. Sellar (1898-1951) and R. J. Yeatman (1898-1968), comprising ‘a subtle mixture of schoolboy howlers, witty distortions, and artful puns.’ The book was designed to satirize the smugness of the English and the teaching of history by rote, but ironically itself became a cultural icon. A typical definition is ‘The Cavaliers (Wrong but Wromantic) and the Roundheads (Right but Repulsive).’ 1066, as the date of the Norman Conquest, probably still remains the best known date in British history, ‘all that’ being the blur of dates and events that occurred before and after it.

Ten for 66 and All That is the title of the autobiography of the Australian leg-spin bowler Arthur Mailey (1886=1967), punning on the title of Sellar and Yeatman’s books and celebrating his feat of taking ten wickets  for 66 runs for the Australians against Gloucestershire in 1921. In 2001 England’s World Cup hat-trick hero, Sir Geoff Hurst, published an autobiography with the punning title 1966 and All That.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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