A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)


"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"If truth is relative, to what is it relative?"

One celebrated critic, strongly associated with the popularizing of Ibsen in England, said, I think, the other day that Ibsen was aiming at asserting the relativity of truth. I cannot believe that Ibsen was so silly as all that. If truth is relative, to what is it relative? The same writer, I think, emphasized the matter still further by calling it the mutability of truth.

Philosophically understood, these phrases mean literally nothing at all; the quality of truth cannot be mutable; the element of actuality, if it is present, must always be the same. But symbolically understood, these phrases do mean something; they mean that Ibsen and many others honestly felt an irritation against all existing standards and ideals; spiritualist and materialist, revolutionist and reactionary. They really do mean with a lucidity varying with their mental capacity that there shall be no definable moral codes for the society of the future. In this they must be understood; and in this they must be fought.
-June 2, 1906, Daily News

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"...the soul is only to be opened with the key of reverence."

[The worst fallacy of realism] is the idea that we come nearer to the soul of a human being by climbing over walls and listening at keyholes, whereas the soul is only to be opened with the key of reverence [...] But to imagine that we get nearer to anyone by multiplying those endless personal details which we know in our case to be more misleading than a mask or a cloak, to insist on those kindly frivolities of private life which are more sacred because more fragile than its tragedies, to think that a deep-rooted family joke can be transplanted one whit better than a family curse- this is the deep wrong of realism, realism which is always a kind of snobbery.
-March 21, 1901, Daily News

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

JFK, C.S. Lewis, and Aldoux Huxley

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the deaths of President Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley.

It just occurred to me that there is a Chesterton connection with all three.

I've heard that Kennedy quoted Chesterton before, and certainly at least on one occasion he did when he paraphrased a passage from GKC's book The Thing, in this way: "Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up." You can see the passage JFK was paraphrasing here.

As for C.S. Lewis, the connection there of course is well known. Just to give a sample (from Lewis's spiritual autobiography Surprised By Joy) of GKC's influence in his conversion to Christianity, there are some passages collected here.

As for Aldous Huxley, I'm not that familiar with his works, and don't know if he had ever mentioned GKC, but one interesting fact I did discover mentioned before (for instance, in Joseph Pearce's Literary Converts, p. 189) is that Huxley was one of those who were present at Chesterton's funeral.

OK, not much of a post, but something I found interesting. :-)

"The Happy Man"

The Happy Man

To teach the grey earth like a child,
To bid the heavens repent,
I only ask from Fate the gift
Of one man well content.

Him will I find: though when in vain
I search the feast and mart,
The fading flowers of liberty,
The painted masks of art.

I only find him at the last,
On one old hill where nod
Golgotha’ ghastly trinity—
Three persons and one god.

[H/T Karen Hornsby ]

Friday, November 18, 2016

If you level men with animals you will only in the long run level down. For one man who treats dogs like men there will be twenty who will treat men like dogs.
-April 10, 1906, Daily News

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Flannery O'Connor and GKC

I came across an interesting essay via Google Books:

"Flannery O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find' and G.K. Chesterton's Manalive."

 The entire essay is not available as part of the preview, but most of it is, and what is there is interesting. To give a couple excerpts:
The genesis of "A Good Man is Hard to Find" has been traced to various news items in the Atlanta Journal. The evidence for this origin is circumstantial, but enough particulars of congruence emerge to suggest that O'Connor might indeed have transformed in her story bits and pieces from various news accounts. Nevertheless, the most enigmatic moment in the story, The Misfit's conclusion that the grandmother "would have been a good woman...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life," has no analog in the news accounts O'Connor read in the Atlanta Journal. It's origin appears to be Chesterton's Manalive [...]

[...] the true merit of discovering Chesterton's influence on O'Connor's story lies in a recognition of how "A Good Man is Hard to Find" apparently revises Manalive. O'Connor's short story does not merely derivatively reuse an episode in Chesterton's novel, but (as one would expect of a work by a major author like O'Connor) it thoroughly recasts this episode. O'Connor's world is patently darker than Chesterton's.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

[...] the prigs are now too bored even to go on with their normal routine about the Common Man; the familiar routine of oppressing him in practice and adoring him in theory.
-The Common Man (1950)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I have sometimes thought of keeping a scrap-book of the insults to the people which are uttered in popular journalism. But I soon found the task to be too vast and encyclopaedic [...]
-December 31, 1910, Daily News

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Modesty is too fierce and elemental a thing for the modern pedants to understand."

[...] men are not poets because they tear away the veil from sex. On the contrary it is because all men are poets that they all hang a veil over sex [...] Decorum is not an over-civilised convention. Decorum is not tame; decorum is wild, as wild as the wind at night [...]

Modesty is too fierce and elemental a thing for the modern pedants to understand [...] It has in it the joy of escape and the ancient shyness of freedom.
-William Blake (1910)

Friday, November 4, 2016

"We are putting the official on the throne while he is still in the dock."

[...] at the very time when we are all beginning to doubt these authorities, we are letting laws pass to increase their most capricious powers. All our commissions, petitions, and letters to the papers are asking whether these authorities can give an account of their stewardship. And at the same moment all our laws are decreeing that they shall not give any account of their stewardship, but shall become yet more irresponsible stewards [...] this sort of man is being trusted with more authority, apparently because he is being doubted with more reason [...] We are putting the official on the throne while he is still in the dock.
-A Miscellany of Men (1912)

Monday, October 31, 2016

That is, I fancy, the true doctrine on the subject of Tales of Terror and such things, which unless a man of letters do well and truly believe, without doubt he will end by blowing his brains out or by writing badly. Man, the central pillar of the world must be upright and straight; around him all the trees and beasts and elements and devils may crook and curl like smoke if they choose. All really imaginative literature is only the contrast between the weird curves of Nature and the straightness of the soul. Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.

* * *

Therefore I see no wrong in riding with the Nightmare to-night; she whinnies to me from the rocking tree-tops and the roaring wind; I will catch her and ride her through the awful air. Woods and weeds are alike tugging at the roots in the rising tempest, as if all wished to fly with us over the moon, like that wild amorous cow whose child was the Moon-Calf. We will rise to that mad infinite where there is neither up nor down, the high topsy-turveydom of the heavens. I will answer the call of chaos and old night. I will ride on the Nightmare; but she shall not ride on me.
-Alarms and Discursions (1910)

Friday, October 28, 2016

"Are you the new recruit?" said the invisible chief, who seemed to have heard all about it. "All right. You are engaged."

 Syme, quite swept off his feet, made a feeble fight against this irrevocable phrase.

"I really have no experience," he began.

"No one has any experience," said the other, "of the Battle of Armageddon."

"But I am really unfit—"

"You are willing, that is enough," said the unknown.

"Well, really," said Syme, "I don't know any profession of which mere willingness is the final test."

"I do," said the other—"martyrs. I am condemning you to death. Good day."
-The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908)