Saturday, 8 March 2008


F.W. Boreham suffered some criticism for not engaging his literary brilliance in the war effort of World War 2. The frustration of many of his admirers was compounded due to Boreham's earlier contributions around the time of the Empire's role in the Boer War (early 1900s) when he had written a stirring cover page article for the Otago Times in 1900, which called for Empire's young men to rally together for the cause. During World War 1 while serving in Hobart, Boreham also made some contribution to the War effort by references to the looming dangers in Europe. But by World War 2 he seems to have had a refining of his literary focus so that he was committed to focussing on his three great life themes: immensity, infinity and eternity.

In his 1918 book, THE SILVER SHADOW, he seems to subtly express his frustration at merely applying his literary genius to the events of the moment in an essay titled- 'Please Shut The Gate'. As World War 1 was concluding Boreham seems to examined the philosophy of his writing. This refining of his writing philosophy brought him no less criticism - it perhaps caused more! But admirers of his work are forever grateful his courage to not simply be a journalist and a commentator, but a thoughtful writer who chose to write on timeless themes by drawing on some of the best literary thought from literary giants and literary grasshoppers.

This timeless philosophy of Boreham, was encouraged by his consideration of Wordsworth who wrote during the time of England's darkest hour when the looming threat of Napoleon was on every Englishmen's mind. It was striking to Boreham that one of the most classic books of English literature, THE COMPLEAT ANGLER, was written during the English Civil War and the turbulence of Cromwell and Kings Charles - without any reference to geo-political events!

Boreham understood the need for distraction. He also understood how his three life themes were the perfect distraction for all people of all times.

Andrew Corbett

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