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As the twenty-first century began, history remained the primary concern of English literature. Despite the fact that contemporary topics such as global warming and international conflicts (particularly the Second Persian Gulf War and its aftermath) were discussed, writers were more inclined to gaze back. Bennett's play The History Boys (filmed 2006) premiered in 2004 and depicted students in a 1980s school in the north of England. Although David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (2004), a far-reaching novel about future eras wrecked by evil technology and climatic and nuclear disaster, spent greater space to sequences set in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was one of the more ambitious novels to emerge during this period.

It also demonstrated another early-twentieth-century preoccupation: the replication of past literary styles and techniques. Pastiche and revisionary Victorian novels were popular (one notable example being Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White [2002]). Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan was a masterful twist on the 1930s fictional methods of authors like Elizabeth Bowen. In Saturday (2005), McEwan's dramatic image of London on February 15, 2003, a day of mass rallies against the imminent war in Iraq, was inspired by Virginia Woolf's fictional portrayal of a war-shadowed day in London in Mrs. Dalloway (1925). In the poetry volumes Electric Light (2001) and District and Circle (2006), Heaney returned to the rural world of his upbringing while simultaneously reexamining and revising classic texts, one of which was The Burial at Thebes (2004), which filled Sophocles' Antigone with contemporary resonances. Despite the fact that they had entered a new millennium, writers seemed to find more creative inspiration in the past than in the present or the future.

1. The  History Boys

The History Boys is a play written by Alan Bennett, a British dramatist. On May 18, 2004, the drama opened at the Royal National Theatre in London. It made its Broadway debut on April 23, 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it ran for 185 performances before closing on October 1, 2006.

Most of the lads go on to be successful in their chosen fields, while Timms turns to narcotics, and Posner leads a lonely life, despite remembering Hector's lessons. "Pass the parcel," Hector adds at the end of the play, is the lesson he really wanted to teach the lads. That's all you can do at times.

2. Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell's third novel, Cloud Atlas, is his third book. It was first released in 2004. It earned the Richard & Judy "Book of the Year" award as well as the British Book Awards Literary Fiction award.

Cloud Atlas is a dazzling collection of intertwined tales. Mitchell's six separate tales span many decades, from a 19th-century American notary's journal to a post-apocalyptic memoir of a herdsman named Zachry. Every testimonial defies the laws of time and space.

3. Appointment

Ian McEwan's Atonement is a British metafiction novel published in 2001. It covers an upper-class girl's half-innocent mistake that ruins lives, her adulthood in the shadow of that mistake, and a reflection on the nature of writing. It is set in three time periods: 1935 England, Second World War England and France, and present-day England.

The lives of young lovers Cecilia Tall is (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner are followed in this epic English drama based on Ian McEwan's book (James McAvoy). When Cecilia's envious younger sister, Briony (Saoirse Ronan), fabricates a story, the marriage is torn apart, and all three of them must deal with the consequences.

The hardest hit is Robbie, who is imprisoned as a result of Briony's lie, but Cecilia and her beau's chances improve when their paths intersect during World War II.

The central theme of Atonement is how a person's perspective moulds his or her world inexorably. McEwan filters the narrative through the eyes of a certain character at various stages during the work.

4. Saturday

Ian McEwan's novel Saturday was published in 2005. It takes place on Saturday, February 15, 2003, in Fitzrovia, central London, during a major demonstration against the United States' 2003 invasion of Iraq. Henry Perowne, a 48-year-old neurosurgeon, has arranged a series of errands and pleasures for the evening, ending in a family meal. As he goes about his day, he mulls about the protest's meaning and the issues that prompted it; unfortunately, his day is interrupted by an encounter with a violent and unstable guy.

5.  Electric Light

Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, published Electric Light, a book of poetry. Childhood, nature, and poetry are all explored in this anthology. The first section includes translations and adaptations, as well as poems about travel in the Gaeltacht, the Balkans, and Greece.

6. District and Circle

Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, published District and Circle, a book of poems. It was published in 2006 and won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, the UK's most prestigious poetry prize. The Irish Times "Poetry Now Award" was also given to the anthology.

7. The Burial at Thebes

The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone is a drama written by Irish Nobel winner Seamus Heaney and based on Sophocles' fifth-century BC tragedy Antigone. Dominique Le Gendre also wrote an opera about it.

The play depicts Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, giving her traitorous brother Polyneices a type of ritual burial (she scatters his body with dust) against her uncle King Creon's explicit orders and her sister Ismene's advice, despite the fact that she knows the result will be her death.


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