G. K. Chesterton

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G. K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton LCCN2014686602.tif
BornGilbert Keith Chesterton
(1874-05-29)29 May 1874
Kensington, London, England
Died14 June 1936(1936-06-14) (aged 62)
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Resting placeRoman Catholic Cemetery, Beaconsfield
OccupationJournalist, novelist, essayist, poet
CitizenshipBritish
Education St Paul's School
Alma mater Slade School of Art
Period1900–1936
GenreEssays, Fantasy, Christian apologetics, Catholic apologetics, Mystery, poetry
Literary movement Catholic literary revival [1]
Notable works The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)
Charles Dickens: A Critical Study
(1906)
The Man Who Was Thursday
(1908)
Orthodoxy
(1908)
Father Brown stories
(1910–1935)
The Everlasting Man
(1925)
Spouse Frances Blogg
Relatives Cecil Chesterton (brother)

Signature GK Chesterson signature.svg

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936), was an English writer, [2] poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox". [3] Time magazine has observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out." [4]

Order of St. Gregory the Great Honorary Order of Knighthood of the Holy See

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established on 1 September 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI, seven months after his election to that seat by the College of Cardinals.

A lay theologian is a theologian who has not received formal theological training. Many who are regarded as lay theologians have advanced degrees in other academic disciplines.

Paradox statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true

A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently-self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. A paradox involves contradictory-yet-interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.

Contents

Chesterton is well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, [5] and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man . [4] [6] Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, his "friendly enemy", said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius." [4] Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin. [7]

Father Brown character created by G. K. Chesterton

Father Brown is a fictional Roman Catholic priest and amateur detective who is featured in 53 short stories published between 1910 and 1936 written by English novelist G. K. Chesterton. Father Brown solves mysteries and crimes using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature. Chesterton loosely based him on the Rt Rev. Msgr. John O'Connor (1870–1952), a parish priest in Bradford, who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922.

Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.

<i>Orthodoxy</i> (book) book

Orthodoxy (1908) is a book by G. K. Chesterton that has become a classic of Christian apologetics. Chesterton considered this book a companion to his other work, Heretics, writing it expressly in response to G.S. Street's criticism of the earlier work, "that he was not going to bother about his theology until I had really stated mine". In the book's preface Chesterton states the purpose is to "attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it." In it, Chesterton presents an original view of Christian religion. He sees it as the answer to natural human needs, the "answer to a riddle" in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience.

Early life

G. K. Chesterton at the age of 17 G.K. Chesterton at the age of 17.jpg
G. K. Chesterton at the age of 17

Chesterton was born in Campden Hill in Kensington, London, the son of Marie Louise, née Grosjean, and Edward Chesterton. [8] [9] He was baptised at the age of one month into the Church of England, [10] though his family themselves were irregularly practising Unitarians. [11] According to his autobiography, as a young man Chesterton became fascinated with the occult and, along with his brother Cecil, experimented with Ouija boards. [12]

Campden Hill

Campden Hill is a hill in Kensington, West London, bounded by Holland Park Avenue on the north, Kensington High Street on the south, Kensington Palace Gardens on the east and Abbotsbury Road on the west. The name derives from the former Campden House, built by Baptist Hicks, 1st Viscount Campden whose country seat was Campden House in the Gloucestershire town of Chipping Campden.

Kensington district within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of central London.

Church of England Anglican church in England, by law established

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Chesterton was educated at St Paul's School, then attended the Slade School of Art to become an illustrator. The Slade is a department of University College London, where Chesterton also took classes in literature, but did not complete a degree in either subject.

University College London, which has operated under the official name of UCL since 2005, is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. It is a member institution of the federal University of London, and is the third largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment, and the largest by postgraduate enrolment.

Family life

Chesterton married Frances Blogg in 1901; the marriage lasted the rest of his life. Chesterton credited Frances with leading him back to Anglicanism, though he later considered Anglicanism to be a "pale imitation". He entered full communion with the Catholic Church in 1922. [13]

Frances Chesterton, born Frances Alice Blogg (1869–1938) was an English author of verse, songs and school drama. She was the wife of G. K. Chesterton and had a large role in his career as amanuensis and personal manager.

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Career

In September 1895 Chesterton began working for the London publisher Redway, where he remained for just over a year. [14] In October 1896 he moved to the publishing house T. Fisher Unwin, [14] where he remained until 1902. During this period he also undertook his first journalistic work, as a freelance art and literary critic. In 1902 the Daily News gave him a weekly opinion column, followed in 1905 by a weekly column in The Illustrated London News , for which he continued to write for the next thirty years.

T. Fisher Unwin British publishing company

T. Fisher Unwin was the London publishing house founded by Thomas Fisher Unwin, husband of British Liberal politician Jane Cobden in 1882.

<i>The Illustrated London News</i> newspaper

The Illustrated London News appeared first on Saturday 14 May 1842, as the world's first illustrated weekly news magazine. Founded by Herbert Ingram, it appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently thereafter, and ceased publication in 2003. The company continues today as Illustrated London News Ltd, a publishing, content and digital agency in London, which holds the publication and business archives of the magazine.

Early on Chesterton showed a great interest in and talent for art. He had planned to become an artist, and his writing shows a vision that clothed abstract ideas in concrete and memorable images. Even his fiction contained carefully concealed parables. Father Brown is perpetually correcting the incorrect vision of the bewildered folks at the scene of the crime and wandering off at the end with the criminal to exercise his priestly role of recognition and repentance. For example, in the story "The Flying Stars", Father Brown entreats the character Flambeau to give up his life of crime: "There is still youth and honour and humour in you; don't fancy they will last in that trade. Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down. The kind man drinks and turns cruel; the frank man kills and lies about it. Many a man I've known started like you to be an honest outlaw, a merry robber of the rich, and ended stamped into slime." [15]

Caricature of Chesterton, by Max Beerbohm Caricature of Chesterton, by Beerbohm.jpg
Caricature of Chesterton, by Max Beerbohm

Chesterton loved to debate, often engaging in friendly public disputes with such men as George Bernard Shaw, [16] H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow. [17] [18] According to his autobiography, he and Shaw played cowboys in a silent film that was never released. [19]

Visual wit

Chesterton was a large man, standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and weighing around 20 stone 6 pounds (130 kg; 286 lb). His girth gave rise to a famous anecdote. During the First World War a lady in London asked why he was not "out at the Front"; he replied, "If you go round to the side, you will see that I am." [20] On another occasion he remarked to his friend George Bernard Shaw, "To look at you, anyone would think a famine had struck England." Shaw retorted, "To look at you, anyone would think you had caused it." [21] P. G. Wodehouse once described a very loud crash as "a sound like G. K. Chesterton falling onto a sheet of tin". [22]

Chesterton usually wore a cape and a crumpled hat, with a swordstick in hand, and a cigar hanging out of his mouth. He had a tendency to forget where he was supposed to be going and miss the train that was supposed to take him there. It is reported that on several occasions he sent a telegram to his wife Frances from some distant (and incorrect) location, writing such things as "Am in Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?" to which she would reply, "Home". [23] (Chesterton himself tells the story, omitting, however, his wife's alleged reply, in ch. XVI of his autobiography.)

Radio

In 1931, the BBC invited Chesterton to give a series of radio talks. He accepted, tentatively at first. However, from 1932 until his death, Chesterton delivered over 40 talks per year. He was allowed (and encouraged) to improvise on the scripts. This allowed his talks to maintain an intimate character, as did the decision to allow his wife and secretary to sit with him during his broadcasts. [24]

The talks were very popular. A BBC official remarked, after Chesterton's death, that "in another year or so, he would have become the dominating voice from Broadcasting House." [25]

Death and veneration

Telegram sent by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII) on behalf of Pope Pius XI to the people of England following the death of Chesterton PPXI.jpeg
Telegram sent by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII) on behalf of Pope Pius XI to the people of England following the death of Chesterton

Chesterton died of congestive heart failure on the morning of 14 June 1936, at his home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. His last known words were a greeting spoken to his wife. The sermon at Chesterton's Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral, London, was delivered by Ronald Knox on 27 June 1936. Knox said, "All of this generation has grown up under Chesterton's influence so completely that we do not even know when we are thinking Chesterton." [26] He is buried in Beaconsfield in the Catholic Cemetery. Chesterton's estate was probated at £28,389, approximately equivalent in 2012 terms to £1.3 million. [27]

Near the end of Chesterton's life, Pope Pius XI invested him as Knight Commander with Star of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great (KC*SG). [25] The Chesterton Society has proposed that he be beatified. [28] He is remembered liturgically on 13 June by the Episcopal Church, with a provisional feast day as adopted at the 2009 General Convention. [29]

Writing

Chesterton in his study G. K. Chesterton at work.jpg
Chesterton in his study

Chesterton wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic theologian [30] [31] and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist for the Daily News, The Illustrated London News , and his own paper, G. K.'s Weekly ; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica , including the entry on Charles Dickens and part of the entry on Humour in the 14th edition (1929). His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, [5] who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel. He was a convinced Christian long before he was received into the Catholic Church, and Christian themes and symbolism appear in much of his writing. In the United States, his writings on distributism were popularised through The American Review , published by Seward Collins in New York.

Of his nonfiction, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1906) has received some of the broadest-based praise. According to Ian Ker (The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845–1961, 2003), "In Chesterton's eyes Dickens belongs to Merry, not Puritan, England"; Ker treats Chesterton's thought in Chapter 4 of that book as largely growing out of his true appreciation of Dickens, a somewhat shop-soiled property in the view of other literary opinions of the time.

Chesterton's writings consistently displayed wit and a sense of humour. He employed paradox, while making serious comments on the world, government, politics, economics, philosophy, theology and many other topics. [32] [33]

Views and contemporaries

Self-portrait of Chesterton based on the distributist slogan "Three acres and a cow" Three acres and a cow.JPG
Self-portrait of Chesterton based on the distributist slogan "Three acres and a cow"

Chesterton's writing has been seen by some analysts as combining two earlier strands in English literature. Dickens' approach is one of these. Another is represented by Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, whom Chesterton knew well: satirists and social commentators following in the tradition of Samuel Butler, vigorously wielding paradox as a weapon against complacent acceptance of the conventional view of things.

Chesterton's style and thinking were all his own, however, and his conclusions were often opposed to those of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. In his book Heretics , Chesterton has this to say of Wilde: "The same lesson [of the pessimistic pleasure-seeker] was taught by the very powerful and very desolate philosophy of Oscar Wilde. It is the carpe diem religion; but the carpe diem religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people. Great joy does not gather the rosebuds while it may; its eyes are fixed on the immortal rose which Dante saw." [34] More briefly, and with a closer approximation of Wilde's own style, he writes in Orthodoxy concerning the necessity of making symbolic sacrifices for the gift of creation: "Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets. But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets. We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde."

Chesterton and Shaw were famous friends and enjoyed their arguments and discussions. Although rarely in agreement, they both maintained good will toward and respect for each other. However, in his writing, Chesterton expressed himself very plainly on where they differed and why. In Heretics he writes of Shaw:

After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all. Having come to doubt whether humanity can be combined with progress, most people, easily pleased, would have elected to abandon progress and remain with humanity. Mr. Shaw, not being easily pleased, decides to throw over humanity with all its limitations and go in for progress for its own sake. If man, as we know him, is incapable of the philosophy of progress, Mr. Shaw asks, not for a new kind of philosophy, but for a new kind of man. It is rather as if a nurse had tried a rather bitter food for some years on a baby, and on discovering that it was not suitable, should not throw away the food and ask for a new food, but throw the baby out of window, and ask for a new baby. [35]

Shaw represented the new school of thought, modernism, which was rising at the time. Chesterton's views, on the other hand, became increasingly more focused towards the Church. In Orthodoxy he writes: "The worship of will is the negation of will … If Mr. Bernard Shaw comes up to me and says, 'Will something', that is tantamount to saying, 'I do not mind what you will', and that is tantamount to saying, 'I have no will in the matter.' You cannot admire will in general, because the essence of will is that it is particular." [36]

Title page of the 1909 edition of Orthodoxy, first published in the previous year Title Page of Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton.png
Title page of the 1909 edition of Orthodoxy , first published in the previous year

This style of argumentation is what Chesterton refers to as using 'Uncommon Sense' – that is, that the thinkers and popular philosophers of the day, though very clever, were saying things that were nonsensical. This is illustrated again in Orthodoxy: "Thus when Mr. H. G. Wells says (as he did somewhere), 'All chairs are quite different', he utters not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms. If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them 'all chairs'." [37] Or, again from Orthodoxy:

The wild worship of lawlessness and the materialist worship of law end in the same void. Nietzsche scales staggering mountains, but he turns up ultimately in Tibet. He sits down beside Tolstoy in the land of nothing and Nirvana. They are both helpless – one because he must not grasp anything, and the other because he must not let go of anything. The Tolstoyan's will is frozen by a Buddhist instinct that all special actions are evil. But the Nietzscheite's will is quite equally frozen by his view that all special actions are good; for if all special actions are good, none of them are special. They stand at the crossroads, and one hates all the roads and the other likes all the roads. The result is – well, some things are not hard to calculate. They stand at the cross-roads. [38]

Chesterton, as a political thinker, cast aspersions on both progressivism and conservatism, saying, "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." [39] He was an early member of the Fabian Society, but resigned from it at the time of the Boer War. [40]

Another contemporary and friend from schooldays was Edmund Bentley, inventor of the clerihew. Chesterton himself wrote clerihews and illustrated his friend's first published collection of poetry, Biography for Beginners (1905), which popularised the clerihew form. Chesterton was also godfather to Bentley's son, Nicolas, and opened his novel The Man Who Was Thursday with a poem written to Bentley.

Charges of anti-Semitism

Chesterton faced accusations of anti-Semitism during his lifetime, saying in chapter 13 of The New Jerusalem (1920) that it was something "for which my friends and I were for a long period rebuked and even reviled". Despite his prostestations to the contrary, the accusation continues to be repeated. [41] An early supporter of Captain Dreyfus, by 1906 he had turned into an anti-dreyfusard. [42] From the early 20th century, his fictional work included caricatures of Jews, stereotyping them as greedy, cowardly, disloyal and communists. [43]

The Marconi scandal of 1912–13 brought issues of anti-Semitism into the political mainstream. Senior ministers in the Liberal government had secretly profited from advanced knowledge of deals regarding wireless telegraphy, and critics regarded it as relevant that some of the key players were Jewish. [44] According to historian Todd Endelman, who identified Chesterton as among the most vocal critics, "The Jew baiting at the time of the Boer War and the Marconi scandal was linked to a broader protest, mounted in the main by the Radical wing of the Liberal Party, against the growing visibility of successful businessmen in national life and their challenge to what were seen as traditional English values." [45]

In a work of 1917, titled A Short History of England, Chesterton considers the royal decree of 1290 by which Edward I expelled Jews from England, a policy that remained in place until 1655. Chesterton writes that popular perception of Jewish moneylenders could well have led Edward I's subjects to regard him as a "tender father of his people" for "breaking the rule by which the rulers had hitherto fostered their bankers' wealth". He felt that Jews, "a sensitive and highly civilized people" who "were the capitalists of the age, the men with wealth banked ready for use", might legitimately complain that "Christian kings and nobles, and even Christian popes and bishops, used for Christian purposes (such as the Crusades and the cathedrals) the money that could only be accumulated in such mountains by a usury they inconsistently denounced as unchristian; and then, when worse times came, gave up the Jew to the fury of the poor". [46] [47]

In The New Jerusalem Chesterton dedicated a chapter to his views on the "Jewish Problem": the sense that Jews were a distinct people without a homeland of their own, living as foreigners in countries where they were always a minority. [48] He wrote that in the past, his position:

was always called Anti-Semitism; but it was always much more true to call it Zionism. ... my friends and I had in some general sense a policy in the matter; and it was in substance the desire to give Jews the dignity and status of a separate nation. We desired that in some fashion, and so far as possible, Jews should be represented by Jews, should live in a society of Jews, should be judged by Jews and ruled by Jews. I am an Anti-Semite if that is Anti-Semitism. It would seem more rational to call it Semitism.

In the same place he proposed the thought experiment (describing it as "a parable" and "a flippant fancy") that Jews should be admitted to any role in English public life on condition that they must wear distinctively Middle Eastern garb, explaining that "The point is that we should know where we are; and he would know where he is, which is in a foreign land."

Chesterton, like Belloc, openly expressed his abhorrence of Hitler's rule almost as soon as it started. [49] As Rabbi Stephen Wise wrote in a posthumous tribute to Chesterton in 1937 :

When Hitlerism came, he was one of the first to speak out with all the directness and frankness of a great and unabashed spirit. Blessing to his memory! [50]

In The Truth about the Tribes Chesterton blasted German race theories, writing: "the essence of Nazi Nationalism is to preserve the purity of a race in a continent where all races are impure." [51]

The historian Simon Mayers points out that Chesterton wrote in works such as The Crank, The Heresy of Race, and The Barbarian as Bore against the concept of racial superiority and critiqued pseudo-scientific race theories, saying they were akin to a new religion. [43] In The Truth About the Tribes Chesterton wrote, "the curse of race religion is that it makes each separate man the sacred image which he worships. His own bones are the sacred relics; his own blood is the blood of St. Januarius." [43] Mayers records that despite "his hostility towards Nazi antisemitism … [it is unfortunate that he made] claims that 'Hitlerism' was a form of Judaism, and that the Jews were partly responsible for race theory." [43] In The Judaism of Hitler, as well as in A Queer Choice and The Crank, Chesterton made much of the fact that the very notion of "a Chosen Race" was of Jewish origin, saying in The Crank: "If there is one outstanding quality in Hitlerism it is its Hebraism" and "the new Nordic Man has all the worst faults of the worst Jews: jealousy, greed, the mania of conspiracy, and above all, the belief in a Chosen Race." [43]

Mayers also shows that Chesterton portrayed Jews not only as culturally and religiously distinct, but racially as well. In The Feud of the Foreigner (1920) he said that the Jew "is a foreigner far more remote from us than is a Bavarian from a Frenchman; he is divided by the same type of division as that between us and a Chinaman or a Hindoo. He not only is not, but never was, of the same race." [43]

In The Everlasting Man, while writing about human sacrifice, Chesterton suggested that medieval stories about Jews killing children might have resulted from a distortion of genuine cases of devil-worship. Chesterton wrote:

the Hebrew prophets were perpetually protesting against the Hebrew race relapsing into an idolatry that involved such a war upon children; and it is probable enough that this abominable apostasy from the God of Israel has occasionally appeared in Israel since, in the form of what is called ritual murder; not of course by any representative of the religion of Judaism, but by individual and irresponsible diabolists who did happen to be Jews. [43] [52]

The American Chesterton Society has devoted a whole issue of its magazine, Gilbert, to defending Chesterton against charges of antisemitism. [53]

Opposition to eugenics

In Eugenics and Other Evils Chesterton attacked eugenics as Britain was moving towards passage of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913. Some backing the ideas of eugenics called for the government to sterilise people deemed "mentally defective"; this view did not gain popularity but the idea of segregating them from the rest of society and thereby preventing them from reproducing did gain traction. These ideas disgusted Chesterton who wrote, "It is not only openly said, it is eagerly urged that the aim of the measure is to prevent any person whom these propagandists do not happen to think intelligent from having any wife or children." [54] He blasted the proposed wording for such measures as being so vague as to apply to anyone, including "Every tramp who is sulk, every labourer who is shy, every rustic who is eccentric, can quite easily be brought under such conditions as were designed for homicidal maniacs. That is the situation; and that is the point … we are already under the Eugenist State; and nothing remains to us but rebellion." [54]

He derided such ideas as founded on nonsense, "as if one had a right to dragoon and enslave one's fellow citizens as a kind of chemical experiment". [54]

Chesterton also mocked the idea that poverty was a result of bad breeding: "[it is a] strange new disposition to regard the poor as a race; as if they were a colony of Japs or Chinese coolies … The poor are not a race or even a type. It is senseless to talk about breeding them; for they are not a breed. They are, in cold fact, what Dickens describes: 'a dustbin of individual accidents,' of damaged dignity, and often of damaged gentility." [54]

"Chesterbelloc"

George Bernard Shaw, Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton Shaw, Belloc e Chesterton.jpg
George Bernard Shaw, Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton

Chesterton is often associated with his close friend, the poet and essayist Hilaire Belloc. [55] [56] George Bernard Shaw coined the name "Chesterbelloc" [57] for their partnership, [58] and this stuck. Though they were very different men, they shared many beliefs; [59] Chesterton eventually joined Belloc in the Catholic faith, and both voiced criticisms of capitalism and socialism. [60] They instead espoused a third way: distributism. [61] G. K.'s Weekly , which occupied much of Chesterton's energy in the last 15 years of his life, was the successor to Belloc's New Witness , taken over from Cecil Chesterton, Gilbert's brother, who died in World War I.

Legacy

Literary

Chesterton's fence

Chesterton's fence is the principle that reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood (compare to the Precautionary principle). The quotation is from Chesterton's 1929 book, The Thing: Why I am a Catholic, in the chapter, "The Drift from Domesticity":

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, 'I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.' To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: 'If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.' [79]

Other

Major works

Articles

Short stories

Miscellany

See also

Notes

  1. Ker, Ian (2003), The Catholic Revival in English Literature (1845–1961): Newman, Hopkins, Belloc, Chesterton, Greene, Waugh, University of Notre Dame Press
  2. "Obituary", Variety , 17 June 1936
  3. Douglas, J. D. (24 May 1974). "G.K. Chesterton, the Eccentric Prince of Paradox". Christianity Today. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 "Orthodoxologist", Time, 11 October 1943, retrieved 24 October 2008
  5. 1 2 O'Connor, John (1937). Father Brown on Chesterton (PDF). Frederick Muller Ltd.
  6. Douglas 1974: "Like his friend Ronald Knox he was both entertainer and Christian apologist. The world never fails to appreciate the combination when it is well done; even evangelicals sometimes give the impression of bestowing a waiver on deviations if a man is enough of a genius."
  7. Ker 2011, p. 485.
  8. Simkin, John. "G. K. Chesterton". Spartacus Educational.
  9. Haushalter, Walter M. (1912), "Gilbert Keith Chesterton", The University Magazine, XI: 236 via Internet Archive
  10. Ker 2011, p. 1.
  11. Ker 2011, p. 13.
  12. Chesterton 1936, Chapter IV.
  13. "GK Chesterton's Conversion Story", Socrates 58 (World Wide Web log), March 2007.
  14. 1 2 Ker 2011, p. 41.
  15. Chesterton, G. K. (1911), "The Flying Stars", The Innocence of Father Brown, London: Cassell & Company, Ltd., p. 118
  16. Do We agree? A Debate between G. K. Chesterton and Bernard Shaw, with Hilaire Belloc in the Chair, London: C. Palmer, 1928
  17. "Clarence Darrow debate". American Chesterton Society. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  18. "G.K. Chesterton January, 1915". Clarence Darrow digital collection. University of Minnesota Law School. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  19. Chesterton, G. K. (1936), Autobiography, London: Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., pp. 231–235
  20. Wilson, A. N. (1984), Hilaire Belloc, London: Hamish Hamilton, p. 219
  21. Cornelius, Judson K. Literary Humour. Mumbai: St Paul's Books. p. 144. ISBN   978-81-7108-374-9.
  22. Wodehouse, P.G. (1972), The World of Mr. Mulliner, Barrie and Jenkins, p. 172.
  23. Ward 1944, chapter XV.
  24. Ker 2011.
  25. 1 2 "Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936)". Catholic Authors.
  26. Lauer, Quentin (1991), G.K. Chesterton: Philosopher Without Portfolio, New York City, NY: Fordham University Press, p. 25
  27. Barker, Dudley (1973), G. K. Chesterton: A Biography, New York: Stein and Day, p. 287
  28. Antonio, Gaspari (14 July 2009). "'Blessed' G. K. Chesterton?: Interview on Possible Beatification of English Author". Zenit: The World Seen from Rome. Rome. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
  29. Kiefer, James. "G. K. Chesterton". The Lectionary. Charles Wohlers.
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