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ComicMonster
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ComicMonster

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PostSubject: shades of Antwerp    shades of Antwerp  EmptyTue 02 Apr 2019, 08:52

Hello!
I’ve found a new difficulty in Churchill’s biography. It’s partially linguistic, but would never be understood (I think) without a proper historical knowledge.
 
“On the night of 10 May, Churchill had informally discussed replacing Wavell with General Claude Auchinleck, but had received sup- port only from Beaverbrook, while Eden, Attlee and Margesson were all opposed.163 He later told his entourage – shades of Antwerp – that if only he could be put in command in the Middle East he would ‘gladly lay down his present office – yes, and even renounce cigars and alcohol!’”
 
My problem lies with the term “shades”. As you know, in October 1914 Churchill had been sent to Antwerp to “reinforce the Belgians’ resolve to hold the city”, an action that finally turn to disaster. That means that the “shades” might be the “specters” of the past, the champions of wartimes that helped and supported him in past difficulties. It ‘s known that those champions haunted him all his life, so he might be taking counsel from them in his mind. Otherwise I see no other interpretation, except in case the word “shades” refers to actual people, physically present in “his entourage”, as the quote says, but that would imply that those old comrades were still alive or at hand, which is not stated anywhere near in this part of the book. As both possibilities require different translations, I would need to make sure whether the first view, which seems by far the most likely, is the one or not.
 
Thanks a lot for your help, as always.
 
CM



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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: shades of Antwerp    shades of Antwerp  EmptyTue 02 Apr 2019, 09:13

It simply means "reminiscent of" or "redolent of", both expressions in English being almost identical to "shades of" and meaning "very much like - even if not totally so, still enough to draw justifiable comparison". You are correct to associate the use of the expression with the failed Antwerp defence initiative of 1914 in which Churchill had a role. You would be incorrect to read too much into it regarding other uses of "shade" - be it absence of light or ghost.
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ComicMonster
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PostSubject: Re: shades of Antwerp    shades of Antwerp  EmptyTue 02 Apr 2019, 09:51

I see. You are totally right: I tend to read too much in every sentence, out of fear of not reading enough (one of the traits of ignorance, I know), and probably out of perfectionism. Sometimes, the implicit means of sentences are not obvious, or just ambiguous enough, to make me feel oversuspicious.

I find it great to have this kind of help from a native speaker. I really appreciate your help.

Take care.

CM
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