Alan bennett keep on keepin on
Keeping On Keeping On by Alan BennettI seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked no threat and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.
Alan Bennetts third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. This latest collection contains Bennetts peerless diaries 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade that saw four premieres at the National Theatre (The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks), a West End double-bill transfer, and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van.
Theres a provocative sermon on private education given before the University at Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, and Baffled at a Bookcase offers a passionate defence of the public library. The book includes Denmark Hill, a darkly comic radio play set in suburban south London, as well as Bennetts reflections on a quarter of a centurys collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. This is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.
Alan Bennett Reads an Extract from Keeping On Keeping On
Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett review – marvellously unguarded
Since then, luckily for us, there have been two more, each fatter than its predecessor. After Untold Stories comes this book, with a similar mix of talks, prefaces, programme notes, eulogies for dead friends and other fugitive pieces. The next decade is busy. But there is also a sense of, if not slowing down, then tidying up. While Bennett has been a name since Beyond the Fringe opened in , this pebbledash Alan Bennett is a more recent invention.
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Thwartedness, also: ambitions unfulfilled, passions fumbled. Nothing grandiose or overheated. It would take a braver critic than I to sully his image. His diaries are true to this, though from time to time he insists that he would like to shake things up. He worries that his work — that he — is considered cosy. What to do?