Wednesday, October 31, 2007

fine appreciation of Churchill as historian--

"Churchill’s place in the great British narrative tradition of the 19th century is clear even from the titles of the volumes and their mottos. The omniscient narrator summarises effectively and allows us to understand how he thinks and interprets, how he views the course of events that is to be presented in all its fascinating detail and twists and turns. The first volume is called The Gathering Storm and has as its motto: “How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.” The second volume is called Their Finest Hour and has the motto “How the British people held the fort alone till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready.” The third volume is called The Grand Alliance and has the motto: “How the British fought on with hardship their garment until Soviet Russia and the United States were drawn into the great conflict.” The fourth volume is called The Hinge of Fate and has the motto: “How the power of the Grand Alliance became preponderant.” The fifth volume is called Closing the Ring and has the motto: “How Nazi Germany was isolated and assailed on all sides.” The sixth volume is called Triumph and Tragedy and has the motto: “How the great democracies triumphed, and so were able to resume the follies which had so nearly cost them their life.”

In Sweden we usually admire Strindberg’s short story, “Half a Sheet of Paper” for its evocative concentration. Can the titles and mottos of the six volumes of Churchill compare with Strindberg? Here too hidden depths open up; of implied meaning, of an implicit view on life and of concepts of reality..."