Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quote: Charles Edward Montague


“Among the mind's powers is one that comes of itself to many children and artists. It need not be lost, to the end of his days, by anyone who has ever had it. This is the power of taking delight in a thing, or rather in anything, not as a means to some other end, but just because it is what it is. A child in the full health of his mind will put his hand flat on the summer lawn, feel it, and give a little shiver of private glee at the elastic firmness of the globe.”

Charles Edward Montague

Charles Edward Montague (1867 – 1928)  was an English journalist, novelist and essayist.

Born and raised in London,  the son of an Irish Roman Catholic priest, he became a journalist at the Manchester Guardian and later married the editor’s daughter.

Montague was against the First World War but, once it started, he supported it in the hope of a speedy end.  He was aged 47 wne the war started, well over the enlistment age, so he dyed his hair black to look younger and be accepted into the army.  H W Nevinson later wrote that "Montague is the only man I know whose white hair in a single night turned dark through courage."

Montague rose in the ranks from grenadier-sergeant to lieutenant and then captain of intelligence in 1915. Later in the war, he became an armed escort for VIPs visiting the battlefield, escorting such persons as H G Well and George Bernard Shaw.

His critical writings about the war set the tone for much of the subsequent war literature.

From 1925 he was a full time writer after retiring from journalism.  He died in 1928 aged 61.


Montagu was the father of Evelyn Aubrey Montague, the Christian Olympic athlete and journalist depicted in the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire.

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