Bennett, Alan 1934–
BENNETT, Alan 1934–
Born May 9, 1934, in Leeds, England; son of Walter (a butcher) and Lilian Mary Bennett; partner's name, Rupert Thomas. Education: Exeter College, Oxford, B.A. (with honors), 1957. Religion: Church of England.
Home—London, England. Agent—Charles Walker, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
Playwright, screenwriter, and actor on stage and television, 1959—. Oxford University, Magdalen College, Oxford, England, temporary junior lecturer in history, 1960-62. President, North Craven Heritage Trust, 1968-93. Military service: Intelligence Corps, 1952-54
British Actors' Equity Association, Actors' Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
London Evening Standard Drama Award, 1961, for Beyond the Fringe, 1968, for Forty Years on, and 1971, for Getting On; Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, both 1963, both for Beyond the Fringe; Guild of Television Producers Award, 1967, for On the Margin; Plays & Players Award for best new play, 1977, for The Old Country, and 1986, for Kafka's Dick; Broadcasters Press Guild TV Award, 1983, British Academy of Film and Television ArtsWriters Award, 1983, and Royal Television Society Award, 1984, all for An Englishman Abroad; honorary fellow, Exeter College, 1987; Hawthornden Prize, 1989, for Talking Heads; Olivier Award for best comedy, 1989, for Single Spies, and for best new play, 2005, for The History Boys; D.Litt., Leeds University, 1990; British Book Award, 2001, for best audiobook of the year for The Laying on of Hands, 2003, for lifetime achievement, and 2006, for author of the year; New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play, Evening Standard award for best play, and Tony Award for best play, all 2006, all for The History Boys.
(With Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Dudley Moore) Beyond the Fringe (comedy revue; first produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1960; produced in the West End, 1961; produced in New York, NY, 1962), Random House (New York, NY), 1963.
(Coauthor) Fortune, produced in London, England, 1961.
(Coauthor) Golden, produced in New York, NY, 1962.
Forty Years On (two-act; first produced in Manchester, England, 1968; produced in the West End, 1968; also see below), Faber (London, England), 1969.
(With Caryl Brahms and Ned Sherrin) Sing a Rude Song (two-act), first produced in London, England, 1969.
Getting On (two-act; first produced in Brighton, England, 1971; produced in the West End, 1971; also see below), Faber (London, England), 1972.
Habeas Corpus (two-act; first produced in Oxford, England, 1973; produced in the West End, 1973; produced on Broadway, 1975; also see below), Faber (London, England), 1973, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1976.
The Old Country (first produced in Oxford, 1977; produced in the West End, 1977), Faber (London, England), 1978.
Enjoy (first produced at Richmond Theatre, 1980; produced in the West End, 1980), Faber (London, England), 1980.
Office Suite (adaptations of television plays A Visit from Miss Prothero and Doris and Doreen, produced in London, 1987; also see below), Faber (London, England), 1981.
Forty Years On, Getting On, Habeas Corpus, Faber (London, England), 1985.
Kafka's Dick (also see below), first produced at Royal Court Theatre, London, England, 1986.
Two Kafka Plays: Kafka's Dick [and] The Insurance Man, Faber (London, England), 1987.
(And director) Single Spies (two one-act plays; contains A Question of Attribution and An Englishman Abroad; also see below), first produced in London, England, 1988.
The Wind in the Willows (based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame; first produced in London, England, 1990), Faber (London, England), 1991.
The Madness of George III (also see below; first produced in London, England, 1991; produced in New York, NY, 1993), Faber (London, England), 1992.
Talking Heads (also see below; adapted from the teleplay by Bennett; first produced in London, 1992; adaptation produced in New York at the Minetta Lane Theater and directed by Michael Engler, 2003), Parkwest Publications (New York, NY), 1992.
Bed among the Lentils: A Monologue from 'Talking Heads,' Samuel French (New York, NY), 1998.
A Cream Cracker under the Settee: A Monologue from "Talking Heads," Samuel French (New York, NY), 1998.
Her Big Chance: A Monologue from "Talking Heads," Samuel French (New York, NY), 1998.
The Complete Talking Heads, Picador (New York, NY), 2003.
The History Boys (first produced on Broadway, 2006), Faber & Faber (New York, NY), 2006.
On the Margin (television series), British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC-TV), 1966.
A Day Out (also see below), BBC-TV, 1972.
Sunset across the Bay, BBC-TV, 1975.
A Little Outing, BBC-TV, 1978.
A Visit from Miss Prothero, BBC-TV, 1978.
Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf (also see below), London Weekend Television, 1978.
Doris and Doreen, London Weekend Television, 1978.
The Old Crowd (also see below), London Weekend Television, 1979.
One Fine Day (also see below), London Weekend Television, 1979.
Afternoon Off (also see below), London Weekend Television, 1979.
All Day on the Sands (also see below), London Weekend Television, 1979.
Objects of Affection (contains Our Winnie, A Woman of No Importance, Rolling Home, Marks, and Say Something Happened; also see below), BBC-TV, 1982.
Intensive Care (also see below), BBC-TV, 1982.
An Englishman Abroad (also see below), BBC-TV, 1982.
Objects of Affection and Other Plays (includes Intensive Care, A Day Out, and An Englishman Abroad), BBC Publications (London, England), 1982.
The Writer in Disguise (includes Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Old Crowd, One Fine Day, Afternoon Off, and All Day on the Sands), Faber (London, England), 1985.
The Insurance Man (also see below), BBC-TV, 1986.
Talking Heads (series), BBC-TV, 1987, BBC Publications (London, England), 1988.
Dinner at Noon (documentary), BBC-TV, 1988.
(And director) Bed among the Lentils, Public Broadcasting Service, 1989.
Poetry in Motion, Channel 4, 1990.
102 Boulevard Haussmann, BBC-TV, 1991.
A Question of Attribution, BBC-TV, 1991.
Poetry in Motion 2, Channel 4, 1992.
Portrait or Bust (documentary), BBC-TV, 1993.
The Abbey (documentary), BBC-TV, 1995.
Talking Heads 2, BBC-TV, 1998.
Telling Tales (autobiography), BBC-TV, 2000.
Also author of An Evening with Alan Bennett, Famous Gossips, Ashenden, In My Defense, and A Chip in the Sugar.
A Private Function (screenplay), Handmade Films, 1984, Faber (London, England), 1985.
Uncle Clarence (radio talk), 1986.
Prick up Your Ears (screenplay; adapted from the biography by John Lahr; produced by Samuel Goldwyn, 1987), Faber (London, England), 1988.
The Lady in the Van (produced, 1990), Faber (London, England), 2001.
Writing Home (memoir and essays), Faber (London, England), 1994, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.
The Laying on of Hands (novel), Profile (London, England), 2000.
The Clothes They Stood up In (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2001.
Three Stories (contains "Father! Father! Burning Bright," "The Clothes They Stood up in," and "Laying on of Hands,"), Profile (London, England), 2003.
Me, I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Faber (London, England), 2003.
Untold Stories (memoir), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Listener and the London Review of Books.
Alan Bennett is a playwright, screenwriter, and entertainer best known for his work on stage and on television in Great Britain. His contributions to Beyond the Fringe and Talking Heads have established him as one of the premiere satirists in the United Kingdom. "Whatever their ostensible subjects, Alan Bennett's plays consistently dramatize man's desire to define himself and his world through teasingly inadequate language, whether conventional adages, women's magazine prose, government jargon, or quotations from the 'Greats,'" noted an essayist for Contemporary Dramatists. "The resulting parodies simultaneously mock and honor this impulse to erect linguistic safeguards in a frightening world."
Bennett began his career as an actor. He was studying medieval history at Oxford University when he and fellow student Dudley Moore were asked, along with Cambridge University students Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller, to come up with a comedy review for the Edinburgh Festival. Using minimal props, they created a series of routines that included a Shakespearean parody, a skit about working as a coal miner, and a farce about a train robbery and the overly-literal police officer who investigates it. In these and many other segments of the review, they featured anarchic, irreverent humor that was a forerunner of many other significant comedy ensembles to come, including Laugh-In, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Saturday Night Live.
Bennett's first solo creation, Forty Years On, first produced in 1968, consists of a play within a play. It follows the changing of the guard at a boys' boarding school, as the headmaster's retirement inspires the performance of a comic revue. It was a "fragmented, ambiguous, oddly interesting assortment of a play," according to Village Voice writer Molly Haskell, and it marked the author's transition from someone who could write clever skits to legitimate playwright. Highlighting the satire in Forty Years On is the author's flair for language; "as we know from [his previous work], Bennett has a mean ear for cliché and the verbal ingenuity to twist it into appealingly absurd shapes," Benedict Nightingale remarked in the New Statesman. In contrast, New York Times critic Clive Barnes felt that the satire is "fundamentally … cheap and nasty," and faulted the play for "pretentiousness and ineptness." Jeremy Kingston, however, praised Forty Years On for hitting its satirical targets, writing in Punch that Bennett "scores bull's-eyes and winners all down the line."
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Bennett wrote more than fifteen television scripts, garnering many awards. Despite critical acclaim for his work for television, however, Bennett wanted to return to writing for the stage, and in 1986 he did so with the work Kafka's Dick. Kafka's Dick was a "kind of leisurely vaudeville about the tormented Kafka of litcrit and biographical legend," as Observer contributor Michael Ratcliffe put it. Investigating the relationships between biographers and their subjects, Kafka's Dick follows the investigations and trials of an insurance salesman who is obsessed with the famous Czech author, and the play includes characters such as Max Brod, Kafka's friend and literary executor, Kafka's father, and the author himself.
In the London Times, Wardle called the play a "head-on challenge to literary myth," and added: "There is a great deal more than that, too much in fact, to the play." Other reviewers likewise criticized the work as perhaps too ambitious; Ratcliffe observed that the work is "a mordant attack on twentieth-century trivialisation and barbarity by a playwright who cannot resist blunting the force and intensity of his attack by a constant stream of gags." "On the one hand, [Bennett] tilts at what Englishness stifles," Jim Hiley wrote in the Listener, and yet the playwright himself "refuses to get 'too' serious. He perches fretfully on the fence." Nevertheless, the critic believed that Kafka's Dick "provides a rewardingly inventive, provoking, often hilarious night out—a nutritious confection with pins in the cream." Wardle likewise maintained that while Bennett "has taken more on board than he can deal with … there remains, of course, the Bennett dialogue, which is as rich as ever in exquisitely turned domestic banalities and literary giveaways."
Bennett's 1991 play, The Madness of George III, is "part court spectacle, part history lesson, part medical thriller," in the words of William A. Henry III of Time. The play is based on the life of the English king who reigned from 1760 to 1820. It focuses on two years during which time the king lost the American colonies and, later, his mind. "The uniqueness of [this] play," according to Robert Brustein in the New Republic, "lies in the way it manages to evoke an entire historical epoch…. Before long we are deep in the intrigues of Georgian politics." As the king descends into madness, those about him—members of parliament, the Prince of Wales—scheme and vie for power. According to some critics, however, this portrayal of England's political intrigue is the play's chief weakness. Donald Lyons commented in the New Criterion: "Bennett writes these pols and docs on one note; once put on stage, they wrangle all too predictably. He has no Shavian knack for dramatizing ideas, or, better to describe what Shaw does, to play and toy articulately with ideas." Jonathan Yardley's Washington Post review offered a similar view. He suggested that "the [grand] production of the play cannot quite disguise the flimsiness of its superstructure." Yardley conceded that The Madness of George III "may possess in any single scene more wit and energy than most American playwrights or screenwriters can summon up in an entire evening, but in other respects it bears a striking similarity to the intermittent attempts that are made over here—mostly on television—to reinterpret history through dramatization." Bennett adapted his play about King George into a screenplay for the 1994 film, The Madness of King George, directed by Nicholas Hytner and produced by the Samuel Goldwyn Company. The film brought Bennett's talents to a much wider audience in the United States.
It was not his first screenplay, however. He had previously written A Private Function, a film that skewers the class system in Great Britain. The film follows a middle-class couple in postwar England as they attempt to ascend the social ladder by serving pork—forbidden by rationing laws—at a society banquet. In 1986, Bennett took a more serious turn with Prick up Your Ears, a film biography of English playwright Joe Orton. At the age of thirty-four, Orton was murdered by his longtime male lover, who then committed suicide. LosAngeles Times film critic Sheila Benson termed Bennett's screenplay "a bracingly outrageous portrait of the playwright, his free-ranging life and remarkably constricted times." Prick up Your Ears follows Orton's life through a series of flashbacks framed by the investigations of the playwright's biographer, John Lahr. Some critics thought that the film focuses too much on the details of Orton's life and not enough on his work. Vincent Canby, for example, commented in the New York Times that it "goes on to record little more than the facts of the Orton life, [and] the mere existence of the plays." Benson expressed a similar criticism, but commended the film for having "the rhythm and even the insolence of an Orton play, without its dialogue."
The man behind the plays and movies, or at least his public persona, emerges in Writing Home, a collection of Bennett's diaries, essays, character sketches, and play prefaces. "Bennett has said," according to Peter Parker in the Times Literary Supplement, "that all writers play (rather than are) themselves in public, and Writing Home … a fragmentary but illuminating and engaging autobiography, is a classic performance." Evident in these occasional pieces are the characteristics that provide the basis for Bennett's work and account for his reception in the world of letters. Events from his unremarkable childhood in the north of England lie behind much of the writing in his television plays. Many of his insights into the supporting characters seem to be drawn from his own awkward experiences. "Mr. Bennett talks a fair amount about himself," observed Ben Brantley in the New York Times Book Review, "but it is self as defined almost exclusively by self-consciousness, a free-floating, pained awareness of everything he isn't and of life as a minefield of potential embarrassments."
Also evident is the humor that permeates Bennett's work. At times, this humor comes from his command of language and timing. Philip Hensher wrote in the Spectator: "What makes Bennett remarkable … is a linguistic spark, an unerring sense for the surprising, right word; the word which is going to slide like a banana skin, at the point where the reader expects to place his foot." Humor also comes, noted Hensher, from Bennett's keen powers of observation. "Bennett's comedy never seems to try; it is addicted to the bathetic shrug after the laugh; it modestly tells us that its best lines are not invented but overheard; the pinpoint accuracy of its vocabulary is passed off as that of an object trouvé."
In the opinion of Richard Eder in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, not all of the pieces in Writing Home are of equal value. He maintained that the book "calls for prospecting, not straight reading; a vein of iron and more dazzling stuff are to be found under the topsoil." New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani admitted that "there are a few noticeable gaps in Mr. Bennett's book….The reader notices these gaps, however, only because Mr. Bennett is such a delightful raconteur: this is a book you don't want to end." Fiona MacCarthy offered this evaluation in the Observer: "You finish this book liking Alan Bennett less than you imagined, but admiring him much more." For Peter Parker, what Bennett displays in Writing Home "is part of the reason why he is one of our most considerable, as well as one of our most popular, playwrights."
In 2001 Bennett turned to fiction, publishing the slender novel The Clothes They Stood up In. The darkly comic work examines the marriage of a middle-class British couple through the lens of a burglary and its aftermath. When Mr. and Mrs. Ransome return from a night at the opera to find their flat completely cleaned out by burglars, they each learn lessons about the power of possessions to shape and define their lives. In his Washington Post review of the work, Jonathan Yardley wrote: "To call it a novella borders on exaggeration. Yet there is more to it—more wit, more complexity and ambiguity, more depth, more sheer pleasure and satisfaction—than there is to just about any new novel of whatever length that I have read since Saul Bellow's Ravelstein or Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." Yardley called the book "absolutely delicious, near-perfect," and concluded: "You will read it in a couple of hours at most, but you will think about it for a long, long time."
Bennett showed his skill with the short story form in the collection The Laying on of Hands. The title piece, a novella, is set at the memorial service for a young masseur whose promiscuous lifestyle was well-known by those in attendance. It is widely assumed that he died of AIDS, and so there is great anxiety among many of the mourners that perhaps they, too, have contracted the deadly disease. Even the clergyman presiding over the service has been an intimate of the dead man, and when he opens the floor for people wishing to share their personal memories, the results are somewhat shocking. According to Michele Leber, a Booklist reviewer, the story comments "provocatively on broader issues of morality with wry wit." In another story, "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet," a woman finds release for her sexual predilections through regular appointments with her podiatrist. The final offering in the collection is another novella, "Father! Father! Burning Bright," which depicts a middle-aged man who, while faithfully visiting his ailing father in the hospital, enters into a strange sexual relationship with his father's nurse. A Kirkus Reviews writer recommended the collection as "deft, light, observant, and very funny indeed."
Bennett drew more praise for his prose collection Untold Stories, which contained diary excerpts, political commentary, personal memories, and bits of conversation overheard by Bennett. He writes about art, about writing, and about his own sexual history. He takes an overview of his family's history and describes his fight with cancer. Diagnosed with the disease in 1997, he was told he had only a fifty-fifty chance for survival. He told almost nobody, in part because he did not want to deal with the additional correspondence he knew his news would engender. In telling his story, he is "honest, urbane, humane," commented Stephen Smith in the Toronto Globe & Mail, as well as "funny, mordantly funny," even though his book is "shot through with pain, shadowed by death." Although the author believed that the pieces in this book might be published posthumously, he in fact survived his cancer and was able to see the book in print.
Bennett returned to playwriting with the comedy The History Boys, which was produced on Broadway in 2006. The play, which won many prestigious awards, concerns a group of bright students at a English boys' school during the 1980s. The drama turns on the very different methods used by two of the instructors there. One, Hector, is a free thinker who believes in giving the students a truly well-rounded education. The other, Irwin, is focused on getting good exam results from the boys. Noting that the situation could have lent itself to much use of cliché, Hollywood Reporter reviewer Frank Scheck praised Bennett for avoiding that trap, and called the play as a whole "messy and digressive but ultimately very entertaining." Scheck added that although the play "takes a long time getting to where it wants to go … it provides plenty of theatrical riches along the way." Scheck also praised The History Boys as "a sharp-edged and complex portrait of its milieu, leavened with frequent doses of uproarious humor." Advocate reviewer Don Shewey described The History Boys as "dense and epigrammatic." John Lahr, commenting on the play in the New Yorker, stated that it showed Bennett "in the fullness of his talent….Heisnot only one of Britain's most popular storytellers onstage and on-screen; he is the iconic voice of its comic disenchantment, charting the spiritual attrition of the country's concessions to the marketplace and to modernism."
With each new play, Bennett has furthered his standing in the eyes of many critics. New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley called Bennett the "slyest and—along with Tom Stoppard—most elegant of contemporary British dramatists." David Nokes asserted in the Times Literary Supplement: "Alan Bennett's beguiling modesty has all but deflected recognition that he is probably our greatest living dramatist. His characteristic style is unpretentious, small-scale and domestic. His genius lies in an unerring ear for the idioms of lower-middle-class life, the verbal doilies of self-respect and self-repression."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bennett, Alan, Writing Home, Faber (London, England), 1994, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.
Bennett, Alan, Untold Stories (memoir), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Wolfe, Peter, Understanding Alan Bennett, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1998.
Advocate, June 6, 2006, Don Shewey, review of The History Boys, p. 56.
America, September 9, 1989, Gary Seibert, review of Single Spies, p. 145.
Biography, winter, 2006, Stephen Smith, review of Untold Stories, p. 200.
Book, March, 2001, Paul Evans, review of The Clothes They Stood up in, p. 82.
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Michele Leber, review of The Laying on of Hands, p. 1677.
Bookseller, June 17, 2005, review of Untold Stories, p. 36.
Economist, February 23, 1991, review of Wind in the Willows, p. 98; October 29, 1994, review of Writing Home, p. 105.
Europe Intelligence Wire, June 12, 2006, "History Boys Celebrates Comprehensive Tony Triumph."
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 7, 2005, Kamal Al-Solaylee, review of Habeas Corpus, p. R27; October 15, 2005, Kamal Al-Solaylee, review of Habeas Corpus, p. R7; October 28, 2005, Warren Clements, review of Beyond theFringe, p. R34; December 10, 2005, Stephen Smith, review of Untold Stories, p. D18; May 3, 2006, Kamal Al-Solaylee, review of The History Boys, p. R4.
GP, March 3, 2006, Fiona Gilroy, review of Untold Stories, p. 62.
Guardian, February 17, 1989, p. 26; May 14, 2004, Aida Edemariam, "Guardian Profile: Alan Bennett"; May 19, 2004, Charles Spencer, review of The History Boys, and Michael Billington, review of The History Boys; October 1, 2005, Nicholas Wroe, "Sketchy Beginnings."
Harper's Bazaar, September, 1989, Christa Worthington, "Bringing down the House," p. 46.
Hollywood Reporter, April 26, 2006, Frank Scheck, review of The History Boys, p. 12.
Hudson Review, winter, 1990, reviews of An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution, p. 636.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of The Laying on of Hands, p. 590; January 15, 2006, review of Untold Stories, p. 68.
Library Journal, January 1, 2001, Judith Kicinski, review of The Clothes They Stood up In, p. 151; January 1, 2006, Pam Kingsbury, review of Untold Stories, p. 114.
Listener, October 2, 1986, Jim Hiley, review of Kafka's Dick.
Los Angeles Times, May 1, 1987, Sheila Benson, review of Prick up Your Ears.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 24, 1995, Richard Eder, review of Writing Home.
New Republic, April 20, 1987, Stanley Kauffman, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 28; February 17, 1992, Robert Brustein, review of The Madness of George III, p. 28.
New Statesman, November 8, 1968, Benedict Nightingale, review of Forty Years On; November 7, 1986, Victoria Radin, review of Kafka's Dick, p. 25; May 22, 1987, Judith Williamson, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 23; May 31, 2004, Rosie Millard, review of The History Boys, p. 43.
New Statesman and Society, December 6, 1991, Andy Lavender, review of The Madness of George III, p. 37.
Newsweek, April 20, 1987, David Ansen, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 89; January 9, 1989, Jack Kroll, review of Single Spies, p. 53; January 21, 1991, Jack Kroll, review of Wind in the Willows, p. 60; September 27, 1993, Jack Kroll, review of The Madness of George III, p. 74.
Newsweek International, August 2, 2004, Tara Pepper, review of The History Boys, p. 53.
New York, April 20, 1987, David Denby, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 76; February 13, 1989, John Leonard, review of Bed among the Lentils: A Monologue from 'Talking Heads,' p. 71; September 27, 1993, John Simon, review of The Madness of George III, p. 72.
New Yorker, May 4, 1987, Pauline Kael, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 128; September 6, 1993, Clive Barnes, review of Forty Years On, p. 92; October 11, 1993, John Lahr, review of The Madness of George III, p. 124; April 14, 2003, John Lahr, review of Talking Heads, p. 88; May 1, 2006, John Lahr, review of The History Boys, p. 92.
New York Review of Books, September 24, 1987, Gabriele Annan, review of Prick up Your Ears, p. 3A; April 13, 1989, Noel Annan, review of Single Spies, p. 24; February 16, 1995, Ian Buruma, review of The Madness of George III, p. 15.
New York Times, November 5, 1968, Clive Barnes, review of Forty Years On; March 1, 1985, Vincent Canby, review of A Private Function; May 17, 1987, John Gross, review of Prick up Your Ears; March 3, 1992, Frank Rich, review of The Madness of George III, p. C13; September 17, 1993, Frank Rich, review of The Madness of George III, p. C1; September 26, 1995, Michiko Kakutani, review of Writing Home, p. B2.
New York Times Book Review, October 15, 1995, Ben Brantley, review of Writing Home, p. 13.
New York Times Magazine, September 30, 1990, J.B. Miller, "Far beyond the Fringe," p. 13.
Observer, September 28, 1986 Michael Ratcliffe, review of Kafka's Dick; October 9, 1994, Fiona McCarthy, review of Writing Home, p. 20.
O, the Oprah Magazine, April, 2006, David Gates, review of Untold Stories, p. 218.
Publishers Weekly, December 4, 2000, review of The Clothes They Stood up In, p. 51; May 27, 2002, review of The Laying on of Hands, p. 35.
Punch, November 6, 1968, Jeremy Kingston, review of Forty Years On.
Spectator, October 8, 1994, Philip Hensher, review of Writing Home, p. 39; December 18, 1999, Sheridan Morley, review of The Lady in the Van, pp. 90-91; December 16, 2000, Paul Routledge, review of Telling Tales, pp. 78-79; October 6, 2001, Hilary Mantel, review of The Laying on of Hands, p. 63; May 29, 2004, Rachel Halliburton, review of The History Boys, p. 44; October 22, 2005, Ferdinand Mount, review of Untold Stories, p. 49; April 1, 2006, review of The Old Country, p. 69.
Time, September 13, 1993, William A. Henry III, review of The Madness of George III, p. 75.
Time International, June 7, 2004, Richard Corliss, review of The History Boys, p. 69.
Times (London, England), September 6, 1986, Irving Wardle, review of Kafka's Dick, p. 10.
Times Literary Supplement, December 16, 1991, David Nokes, review of The Madness of George III, p. 18; October 7, 1994, Peter Parker, review of Writing Home, p. 38; December 24, 1999, Robert Shore, review of Lady in the Van, p. 17.
Variety, February 3, 1992, John Goff, reviews of In My Defense and A Chip in the Sugar, p. 87; November 9, 1992, p. 66; April 7, 2003, review of Talking Heads, p. 4; April 14, 2003, Charles Isherwood, review of Talking Heads, p. 28; May 31, 2004, Matt Wolf, review of The History Boys, p. 32; April 3, 2006, David Benedict, review of The Old Country, p. 77.
Village Voice, January 30, 1969, Molly Haskell, review of Forty Years on.
Vogue, September, 1993, Georgina Howell, interview with Alan Bennett, p. 324.
Wall Street Journal, December 29, 1994, Amy Gamerman, review of The Madness of King George, p. A8.
Washington Post, April 29, 1985, Paul Attanasio, review of A Private Function, p. C2; February 19, 1992, Jonathan Yardley, review of The Madness of George III, p. C1; January 25, 2001, Jonathan Yardley, review of The Clothes They Stood up In, p. C2.
Complete Review,http://www.complete-review.com/ (September 1, 2006), review of The History Boys.
Museum of Broadcast Communications Web site,http://www.museum.tv/ (September 1, 2006), Brendan Kenny, "Alan Bennett."*