Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Boreham and His Literary Models Part 1

In considering the literary models that Boreham admired, one is confronted by two of his statements that initially appear contradictory.

His first assertion was to shun the temptation to be a mimic. When many were seeking to imitate his preaching and writing style, Boreham declared as laughable, those who were “copying their mentor”[1] Such people who developed as ‘a model of another’ were failures and were a denial of creation’s purpose. Boreham urged communicators to become confident in finding and expressing their unique style.[2]

A second strand in the writings of Boreham recognized the wholesome passion for personalities in the statement that, “men must have heroes, and if they cannot get the best, they will readily make shift with the best that they can get”[3] He encouraged preachers to study evangelistic models to “inflame your devotion”,[4] and he devoted an entire chapter of his autobiography to two of his preaching models—Joseph Parker and F B Meyer.[5]

In an essay on Mark Rutherford, he advised young writers that they could not do better than to “model yourself on him”[6] Many of Boreham’s editorials were biographical in form and written to inspire in people good character and conduct.

In an editorial, on this theme, entitled, ‘A troop of apes’, Boreham drew analogies from nature (lyre bird, jays, ostriches and apes) to state that, “life abounds in mimicry”. He argued that if our tendency to imitation is so strong and impossible to eradicate, then human beings must select “worthy models”[7]

The encouragement both to express one’s own style and to emulate great heroes are in reality complementary themes. Boreham adopted many models that inspired different facets of his work at different times.

The following blog postings will look at some of his literary models and the impact they had on Boreham’s style in his preaching, essays and editorials.

Geoff Pound

Image: F W Boreham reading a book, circa 1912, when he was at Hobart. He took this photo.

[1] F W Boreham, When the swans fly high (London: The Epworth Press, 1931), 130.
[2] F W Boreham, I forgot to say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 133.
[3] F W Boreham, A witch’s brewing (London: The Epworth Press, 1932), 209.
[4] Boreham, I forgot to say, 42.
[5] F W Boreham, My pilgrimage (London: The Epworth Press, 1940), 98-103.
[6] F W Boreham, Cliffs of opal (London: The Epworth Press, 1948), 161; Mercury, 12 March 1938.
[7] F W Boreham, Mercury, 8 October 1955.