Monday, November 27, 2006

Churchill's Speeches Influenced by H.G. Wells

As Joyce at Bibliophile Bullpen so aptly puts it, "apparently the Google plagiarism detectives are on the case." Dr. Richard Toye, a British historian, has been studying the influences of H.G. Wells on the speeches and writings of Winston Churchill; he's concluded that Wells was "an important intellectual influence on Churchill during the formative period of his career," and that Churchill recycled a few of Wells' lines and themes, including "gathering storm" (from War of the Worlds) and "modern Utopia." The Independent has the full report.

I like this quote from Toye: "It's a bit like Tony Blair borrowing phrases from Star Trek or Doctor Who ... People look at politicians in the 20th century and presume their influences were big theorists and philosophers. What we forget is that Churchill and others were probably not interested in reading that stuff when they got home after a hard day in the House of Commons. They wanted to read a book that was full of ideas but was also going to be fun. H.G. Wells was perfect for that."

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