By Publio Ovidio Nasone, a cura di Fabio Stok
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The images are stale, the metaphors violent. 2 This view was well received by the young men who were painfully reacting against anything which appeared to go beyond the ibid. 165. 1 ibid. 191–2. 2 4 • Personal Impressions naked skeleton of the truth, at a time when not only rhetoric but even noble eloquence seemed outrageous hypocrisy. Churchill’s critic spoke, and knew that he spoke, for a post-war generation; the psychological symptoms of the vast and rapid social transformation then in progress, from which the government in power so resolutely averted its gaze, were visible to the least discerning critics of literature and the arts; the mood was dissatisfied, hostile and insecure; the sequel to so much magnificence was too bitter, and left behind it a heritage of hatred for the grand style as such.
The period between the wars marks a decline in the develop ment of human culture if it is compared with that sustained and fruitful period which makes the nineteenth century seem a unique human achievement, so powerful that it persisted, even during the war which broke it, to a degree which seems astonishing to us now. The quality of literature, for example, which is surely one of the most reliable criteria of intellectual and moral vitality, was incomparably higher during the war of 1914–18 than it has been after 1939.
12 • Personal Impressions all Lloyd George before 1914 – and he has seen no reason to change them, whatever the world might do; and if these views, progressive in 1910, seem less convincing today, and indeed reveal an obstinate blindness to social and economic – as opposed to political – injustice, of which Haldane or Lloyd George can scarcely be accused, that flows from Churchill’s unalterable faith in the firmly conceived scheme of human relationships which he established within himself long ago, once and for all.