Virginia Woolf Bio

Historical Investigation

1.Outline the title/are of your proposed research. You must include a short outline of the controversy(ies) amongst historians that is to be the central focus of this historiographical project.

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the history of a personality, issue or event: Compare the different interpretations of the assessment of Winston Churchill’s decline in mental health in the writings of Lord Moran, Martin Gilbert and Anthony Storr.

Winston Churchill was a multi-faceted man. With the posthumous release of his private physician’s memoir, subsequent psychoanalytical profiles and historiography; there has been significant controversy and debate as to whether or not Churchill suffered from depression or any form of mood disorder.

For some historians, Churchill’s descriptions of the times he was depressed have not been an influential factor in their studies of him. They relegated his obvious depressive nature to insignificance in their overall assessment of his personality, character and life as a whole. Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer and a fellow historian concluded that it “seemed clear Churchill did not suffer from clinical depression.” Gilbert argued that “from a careful study of the archives and from long talks with Churchill’s colleagues, drink and depression seemed much exaggerated.” In addition to his study of Churchill’s archives, Gilbert contends that during a conversation between Churchill’s wife, Clementine and Jack Colville, Churchill’s Private Secretary, she stated that “although her husband was occasionally depressed- as indeed most normal people are- he was not abnormally subject to long fits of depression.”

Gilbert does not deny the ‘black dog’ existed in Churchill’s life. In fact, Churchill’s naming of his depressive episodes as ‘black dog’ proves the familiarity of his depression. Gilbert, however, downplays Churchill’s reference to his depression as a ‘black dog’,...