“Randolph Churchill: Present at the Creation,” is from a lecture aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer on the 2019 Hillsdale College Cruise around Britain, 8 June 2019. Concluded from Part 2.
“The Great Work” —Randolph S.C.
After the war, Churchill willed his archive to Randolph. In 1959, impressed by his son’s biography of Lord Derby, he invited Randolph to be his biographer. Randolph devoted himself to the job, knowing by then that he had wrecked his body, that the process of disintegration was advanced. Could he finish in time? Randolph wondered.
“Randolph Churchill: Present at the Creation,” is taken from a lecture aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer on the 2019 Hillsdale College Cruise around Britain, 8 June 2019.
Most everybody has an inkling of who Winston Churchill was. But how many know of his son Randolph? How many British schoolchildren do you think have heard of him? Do they know that Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, who some think was a real person? They should, Sir Arthur was a great writer. Like Randolph Churchill, who founded the longest biography ever written. In the words of Dean Acheson, he was “present at the creation.”…
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.”…