Talk:Winston Churchill as a writer

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June 12, 2016Featured list candidatePromoted

American NovelistEdit

A very minor point perhaps - but the depiction of the two Winston Churchills as close friends seems to be contrafactual - they corresponded (briefly, over the then lesser known British writer's adopting a pen name) and met once - at a dinner party in Boston. Several sources (sadly, none of them individually that reliable) indicate they "drifted apart", and mention that their political philosophies were diametrically opposed. If this is an exaggeration, the fact remains that neither made any attempt to foster a closer friendship. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:06, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Many sources, and they all say the opposite. No need for us to labour it at all - but as it is apparently just not so it does need to be deleted. -Soundofmusicals (talk) 05:42, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
Please don't edit war just because you can: I am sure you are aware of WP:BRD and WP:STATUSQUO, so leave it alone until the discussion has run its course.  
So far the information we have in the article is correct per at least two sources I have seen (only one of which has been cited). You are claiming the opposite based on something even you acknowledge is unreliable. Even your statement suggests they were friends (but didn't "attempt to foster a closer friendship" - closer meaning they were already friends). We are not claming that they were bosom buddies always visiting each other, but we are reflecting that they were cordial. If you have a reliable source that says they were not friendly toward one another, please show it. - SchroCat (talk) 06:56, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
NOT "claiming the opposite" at all, as you can see if you read the article and note the bit I want to excise. They were, apparently, both intrigued and amused by the coincidence of their names. The only known correspondence between them was in fact on this very subject, and the possible confusion it might cause (Until the American Winston withdrew from public life in the early nineteen twenties they were both public figures, quite apart from being writers). We possess records of ONE actual meeting (the famous "dinner party in Boston"). This seems to have been happy and congenial - they even joked about how droll it would be if the American Winston became President of the United States(at the time an unlikely but far from ridiculous idea) at the same time as the British Winston became Prime Minister (also plausible, but not much more likely!). On the other hand some writers have pointed out that they were not very close in their politics - The American Winston was a "progressive" (he actually belonged to the "Progressive Party") and was very left wing for such a wealthy person - while we all know what a died-in-the-wool old reactionary the British Winston was. They were also opposite in temperament - the American Winston, even before he largely became a recluse, was painfully shy and withdrawn, while the British Winston was (at least by comparison) forthright and hearty. While they were both very intelligent men - the American Winston was much more artistically inclined and much more of an "intellectual". All in all - and I have already had a look at a number of sources so I am in the process of building an informed opinion, I think it was never likely they would ever have become "fast friends" - which to me means something a bit more than "oh yes, met him back before the first war - wonder what became of him". Evidence of continuing correspondence, no matter how desultory, or another meeting or two (British Winston visited America more than once) would be useful, without I think "acquaintance" seems much more likely than "friend". Not worth edit warring over, since you are apparently determined to do so - but on the other hand interesting enough that I am continuing to look at the American Winston's life - in particular to find one or two sources better than blogs and newspaper articles. (Might even buy a few books, I do that sort of thing). Lets leave it there for the time being, anyway. -Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
"Not worth edit warring over, since you are apparently determined to do so" That's just contemptable. I've told you that we have sources supporting what the text says. You have provided no sources in refutation. Now you accuse me of wanting to edit war?
"fast friends" If you're going to quote from the text, please try and do it properly: we make no such claim.
"blogs and newspaper articles": The Historian is an academic journal that has been in publication for 72 years. It's quite reliable – at least a little more so than your unsupported claims.
  • I suggest you step away and get some perspective; if you have taken to lying so openly in your false accusations, you probably know you don't have a leg to stand on. – SchroCat (talk) 08:04, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

American Novelist (revisited)Edit

When sources contradict each other one is constrained to either choose one as more authoritative, or if both seem equally reliable, to present a balanced treatment of both (see WP:RS). Available on-line sources spin various versions (at least in some senses contradictory) of the relationships between the two “Winston Churchills”. In any case at least one of these “scholarly” blogs has disappeared since we started to argue this one. The idea that the Churchills “became fast friends” apparently arose from a cheery Boston newspaper report of the first meeting of the two men at the time. That somewhat doubtful provenance is not in itself decisive but there is at the very least a total absence of any evidence of any kind of friendship at all, whether “firm”, “fast”, or very intermittent indeed, one really does require some confirmation that does not spring from the original Boston newspaper report.

Fortunately, the American Winston Churchill has had a scholarly, well referenced account of his life – Novelist to a Generation: The life and Times of Winston Churchill – written by one Robert W. Schneider and published in 1976 by the Bowling Green State University press. This references many sources – including, particularly importantly in this case – such of his personal correspondence as has survived. The work in question is in fact already given as a source in the article on the American Winston Churchill, although it is not specifically cited in the text for the article. I would suggest that, as a 333p. biography, published by a University Press, it is certainly more “reliable” both by common sense and by Wikipedia policy, than an online blog – so that I have gone to the bother and expense of acquiring my own copy.

There are three index references to “Winston Spenser Churchill” in this work. The first (pp. 33-37) describes their initial correspondence in which it was apparently decided that the British Churchill would use his full surname (“Spenser-Churchill”) as a pen name, and the American Churchill (lacking any “middle name”) would add “The American” to the title page of his own works. Their publishers, unfortunately, did not share the two authors’ desire to have their works clearly distinguished (the confusion did not harm at all to sales) so that The British Churchill’s pen name was reduced to Winston S. Churchill, and the American Churchill’s name stayed on the title page of his works with no clarifying addition at all.

The two men met first in 1900, when the British Churchill was on a lecture tour of America – organised by an American impresario called Major J. B. Pond – who wanted the American writer to share the platform with his British counterpart. The American’s publisher was quite keen on the idea but it was vetoed emphatically by his author – who called public lecturing (in those days a common way for authors to turn some extra income and generate sales for their books) “a form of suicide”. They finally, under considerable pressure from Pond and Brett (the American’s publisher), met for dinner. Their meeting was apparently less happy than it is often described – the American, in particular, was resentful about his recently published and already best-selling novel Richard Carvell being attributed to the Englishman in the British press – while the British Churchill, as might have been expected, “dined well” and made several “witty” remarks, not all of them very tactful.

Schneider sums up the situation – “a relationship of quiet hostility was established – a relationship that never changed”.

On page 62, Schneider reproduces a diary entry from the American Churchill when on a visit to Europe in 1902. He was still very resentful of the confusion, especially in the British press, over his latest novel, a sequel to Richard Carvell called The Crisis, and felt that “his British namesake” had “behaved like a cad”, in postponing their one brief meeting for his own convenience.

I have continued this note at perhaps much greater length than it really warrants – especially as I do NOT propose that any of this in notable enough to go into this article (or indeed either of the other two articles that mention the subject) – but I DO think it warrants the deletion of the words “and became firm friends” since it is so very far from the our “best” source. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:43, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Life really is too short to read such long and boring posts on minor and tedious matters. Do you not have anything constructive to do with your time? I've removed the text, but without bothering to read the excessively long post, just to get rid of the irksome whining on the subject. – SchroCat (talk) 11:18, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Column headings and accessibilityEdit

@SchroCat: Thank you for pointing out the accessibility problems with my edit, it gave me an excuse to read WP:ACCESS and MOS:DTT in detail. I am in the process of digesting that information and plan to propose an alternative that will comply with accessibility issues while allowing the headers to consume only two lines instead of the three lines that they currently do at many screen widths. I will make this change and then immediately self-revert, providing a permalink here so that you can easily view my proposal and comment on it. Again, thank you for your input. Cheers! YBG (talk) 22:36, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

There is no need to change the headings at all. They are fine as they are, and the fact that this list has very recently been through the scrutiny of the FLC process ensures that there is sufficient consensus that the approach initially adopted was the right one. It matters not if the titles take two or three lines: they are exact and precise and do not need to be messed around with. – SchroCat (talk) 22:41, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your patience in this, the "D" of WP:BRD. It is much appreciated. I see now that the "First edition" of Savrola was published after the "Year of first publication". Are there other such instances in these lists? YBG (talk) 04:54, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't understand what you've written. Are you saying the date shown is wrong? – SchroCat (talk) 06:02, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Sorry. I should have been more specific. I had noticed that you said that the current titles are "exact and precise" and so I went hunting for the definition of "first edition" and discovered that in some cases the first edition is not the first publication. I then glanced through the lists and discovered that Savrola is in fact an example, because the date of first publication is 1898 when it appeared in serial form in Macmillian's, but the first edition, published by Longman, did not appear until early in the following year 1900.YBG (talk) 07:51, 5 July 2016 (UTC) I assumed that this sort of distinction was the reason why you stated "exact and precise" and that this made combining "first publication" and "first edition" problematic. My quick glance having discovered this one example, I though that you might readily know if there are other such examples in the lists. Hope this explains what I was after. Do you know if there are other examples of this? YBG (talk) 06:25, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
No. - SchroCat (talk) 06:41, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Now that you have changed the date of Savrola, the 2nd column header is no longer accurate, it is now the date of the first edition, not the date of first publication. It appears that in every other instance, the first publication is the first edition. So for consistency, it seems that either Savrola should be changed back or the 2nd column headers should be changed to "Date of first edition". Do you have a preference between these two alternative? Or perhaps you have another alternative? YBG (talk) 07:23, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
No, it is the date of the first publication in book form, not in serial form, as the note makes clear. No change is needed. - SchroCat (talk) 07:25, 5 July 2016 (UTC).
When you said "exact and precise", I assumed that there must be some significant semantic distinction between "first publication" in the column 2 headers and "first edition" in the column 3 headers, but it now appears I was wrong to make that assumption, as the "first publication" is the first one in book form, which I think means the same thing as "first edition". Or have I missed something? YBG (talk) 07:47, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
As above, there is no need to change the column headings. I think it's time to move on to more constructive matters. - SchroCat (talk) 08:01, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

pen nameEdit

I'm not sure that it's right to describe "Winston S. Churchill" or "Winston Spencer Churchill" as a pen name. That's his actual name! john k (talk) 15:52, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Our author is not called "Winston S. Churchill" in any other context - so yes, it is his pen name: although, if you want to be pedantic, it is not a true pseudonym. Actually quite a few pen names (see the article) are in the form of a version or variant of the real name, in this fashion - typically by initialising the given names, or (as in this case) adding what is strictly a spurious initial. The "proper" form of his full name would have been "Spencer-Churchill" (with a hyphen). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:21, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Step by StepEdit

Step by Step: 1936–1939 is listed under "Speeches", yet my copy describes it as a collection of articles, or letters. DuncanHill (talk) 21:23, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Merge Winston Churchill as writer hereEdit

As has already been on the Winston Churchill as a historian page since January now, I propose that the pages should be merged.

The historian page doesn't have any content on it, has one source if memory recalls and is primarily original research. As well as that this page of him as a writer already covers his actions as a historian.

I see no reason why the pages should be kept separate especially when the historian page is incredibly sparse. Dubarr18 (talk) 11:39, 17 March 2021 (UTC)

  • Oppose, the terms 'historian' and 'writer' are two different topics. The page is not that sparse as it includes several important book series that Churchill wrote as a historian. He covered World War I and World War II in definitive works like few others. Keeping both articles is an accurate representation of Churchill's work and does justice to his varied careers. In fact, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for "his mastery of historical and biographical description". Randy Kryn (talk) 12:30, 17 March 2021 (UTC)
    • His Noble Prize in literature and his entire works in historical literature are already covered on the page of him as a writer. On this writer page they are also all properly citated and referenced. The page if him as a Historian has no such citations and all round is a very poor article as noted above. There is no reason to keep it around when another article already covers all of it's content and is much higher quality overall.Dubarr18 (talk)
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