Behind Winston Churchill's Grand Style:
Britain's Prophet of Doom and Defiance
FRANKLY, the cult of Churchill as a writer, with the acclamations and awards as his successive volumes appear, is not likable. Many of his devotees worship him blindly; few really expose themselves to the climate of his writing. They resemble the “mechanicals” in a Shakespearean mob, who throw up their nightcaps when the rest do. And as no one understands and enjoys crowds better than Churchill, he tends to give them, in and out of season, the mannerisms they expect. There are quantities of bad writing in him, and the popular Churchillian sentiment leads to their increase, while we lose sight of the other Churchill, a man capable both of practical achievements and wild fantasy, and, by the same token, of prophetic intuition.
It would be easy to lift passages from Churchill’s books and ridicule their inflated style, or equally easy to point out clear, vigorous chapters like his story of the field of Blenheim. Neither of these procedures recommends itself. But it is a worthwhile task to correlate the weaknesses and strengths of his prose when they appear together, and to interpret, however speculatively, the prophetic and mythical silhouettes which they jointly shadow forth.
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