Churchill quotes in the realm of fiction are a well-known feature of the popular culture. So good an aphorist was Churchill that even posthumously, he continues to “manufacture” quote fiction. Sometimes it’s the work of an obscure figure, pinned on Churchill to make it more interesting.
The scholar Manfred Weidhorn has an explanation for what we call Churchillian (or Yogi Berra) Drift: “You do not find yourself the target of Churchillian Drift unless, like Churchill, you are already a fine aphorist. Part of the reason it’s so easy to misattribute brilliant sayings to great aphorists is that they have already coined so many brilliant sayings themselves.”…
A reader asks: “Who published the first compilation of Winston Churchill’s wit and wisdom, and when?” It was Colin Coote, in 1947—a dear man devoted to the heroic memory. My quotations book Churchill by Himself is dedicated in part to him.
Colin Reith Coote
Sir Colin (1893-1979) was a British journalist and Liberal politician. For fourteen years he was editor of the Daily Telegraph. There he came to know and admire Churchill. Shortly after World War II, he thought to compile a book of Churchillisms, annotated to validate each entry. He wrote for permission, and received a kind and revelatory reply, which provided Churchill’s view of his literary assigns: