Wait, it gets more convoluted.
On reading it, I immediately thought, “This is about Civil War history.”
There was the boring similarity of technique; the grain of truth carefully reconstructed culled from newspaper reports and bazaar gossip; the follow-up, less carefully done, betraying the deceiver’s contempt for the deceived; and finally, the flight of fancy, the stroke of artistic impertinence which wantonly terminated a relationship already under sentence.In the original context, le Carré (right) was talking about stories spread by the enemy in war. If we break it down, the tiny engine of pop history appears in all its parts.
There was the boring similarity of technique
… lineal storytelling on a strict timeline in a flat narrative style dolled up with a few old fashioned literary tricks from Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs.
the grain of truth carefully reconstructed, culled from newspaper reports and bazaar gossip
… some bit from the odd OR report and an anecdote or two that can advance the book's high concept.
the follow-up, less carefully done, betraying the deceiver’s contempt for the deceived
… the next instance of a trend, development, or characterization presented with even less evidence than the previous one.
and finally, the flight of fancy, the stroke of artistic impertinence which wantonly terminated a relationship already under sentence
… the resort to hyperbole in stretching an incompetent generalization beyond error to make it an outrage. Not even Napoleon himself … Never in military history … unprecedented error … unique opportunity ….
The “deceiver’s contempt for the deceived” shuts me down early in most readings. I have to want to suffer to get to that flight of fancy that must terminate my relationship with a book.
What is comical is encountering so many people mouthing flights of fancy as though they were precious insights harvested from some “scholar’s” deepest wisdom.
I have felt the sting of the author's contempt for me, as a reader, so harshly as to want to start three websites in retaliation. And I have. But the sting remains.