Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Boreham on Experiencing Life through Reading

The aim of educating his readers is too limited a summary of what F W Boreham was seeking to achieve in his writing. He encouraged them to expect the full benefit from the reading of a good biography, saying, “It is not merely that we are imbibing information: it is that we are brought into living contact with a brave soul.”[1]

The examination of the major themes of Boreham’s writings reveals that the experience of nature or being brought “in touch with real men and real women and real life” through history and literature or perceiving the radiance that shines from ordinary life were among the outcomes he hoped his editorials might spark.[2]

English scholar Terry Eagleton has highlighted the stress on the experiential nature of literature in Victorian England because, despite the impoverishment of social conditions, people could have “a kind of vicarious self-fulfillment” and experience life “second hand by reading.”[3] Authors who subscribed to this notion and people who gave books to others did so with a sense of the service of enriching people’s lives.

Geoff Pound

Image: The earliest photo we have of F W Boreham.

[1] F W Boreham, Boulevards of paradise (London: The Epworth Press, 1944), 58.
[2] F W Boreham, The crystal pointers (London: The Epworth Press, 1925), 7-8, 15-16.
[3] Terry Eagleton, Literary theory: An introduction, 26-27.