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)

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"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.




Saturday, April 21, 2018

[...] Price is a crazy and incalculable thing, while Value is an intrinsic and indestructible thing [...]
-The Well and the Shallows (1935)

Friday, April 20, 2018

There has arisen in our time an extraordinary notion that there is something humane, open-hearted or generous about refusing to define one’s creed.  Obviously the very opposite is the truth.  Refusing to define a creed is not only not generous, it is distinctly mean.  It fails in frankness and fraternity towards the enemy.  It is fighting without a flag or a declaration of war.  It denies to the enemy the decent concessions of battle; the right to know the policy and to treat with the headquarters.  Modern “broad-mindedness” has a quality that can only be called sneakish; it endeavours to win without giving itself away, even after it has won.  It desires to be victorious without betraying even the name of the victor.  For all sane men have intellectual doctrines and fighting theories; and if they will not put them on the table, it can only be because they wish to have the advantage of a fighting theory which cannot be fought.

In the things of conviction there is only one other thing besides a dogma, and that is a prejudice.  If there is something in your life for which you will hold meetings and agitate and write letters to the newspaper, but for which you will not find the plain terms of a creed, then that thing is properly to be described as a prejudice, however new or noble or advanced it may seem to be.
-The Common Man (1950)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

This is the immortal justification of the Fable: that we could not teach the plainest truths so simply without turning men into chessmen. We cannot talk of such simple things without using animals that do not talk at all. Suppose, for a moment, that you turn the wolf into a wolfish baron, or the fox into a foxy diplomatist. You will at once remember that even barons are human, you will be unable to forget that even diplomatists are men. You will always be looking for that accidental good-humour that should go with the brutality of a brutal man; for that allowance for all delicate things, including virtue, that should exist in any good diplomatist. Once put a thing on two legs instead of four and pluck it of feathers and you cannot help asking for a human being, either heroic, as in the fairy tales, or unheroic, as in the modern novels.

But by using animals in this austere and arbitrary style as they are used on the shields of heraldry or the hieroglyphics of the ancients, men have really succeeded in handing down those tremendous truths that are called truisms. If the chivalric lion be red and rampant, it is rigidly red and rampant; if the sacred ibis stands anywhere on one leg, it stands on one leg for ever. In this language, like a large animal alphabet, are written some of the first philosophic certainties of men.
-G.K.C as M.C. (1929)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"The art of tearing out the heart of a thing in ten minutes is their national virtue and their national disease. "

The Short Story flourishes in America, probably, for a variety of reasons. One reason, of course, can be found in the singular hurry and variety of American existence, their taste for 'samples' in life, their wasting and tyrannical excitement, which makes their stories as short as their tempers. A Short Story is a short cut to a story: it is the denouement [sic] of a novel without the rest. Just as the Americans require special trains and motor-cars to carry them quickly to their destination, so they require special stories to carry them to the explanation of a dilemma, to enable them, as on some lightning vehicle, to be in at the death of the villain. The art of tearing out the heart of a thing in ten minutes is their national virtue and their national disease. We owe them much gratitude for fostering and ennobling the Short Story, but there is a great deal of danger to literature in the Short Story. It encourages the notion that because we have seen a man hit off in one transfiguring sentence, or one telling and typical act, we know him as we know Tom Jones or Barnes Newcome, whom we know so well that we could tell how they would wipe their boots on a mat.
-April 9, 1901, Daily News

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

If we are to look for lessons, here at least is the last and deepest lesson of Dickens. It is in our own daily life that we are to look for the portents and the prodigies. This is the truth, not merely of the fixed figures of our life; the wife, the husband, the fool that fills the sky. It is true of the whole stream and substance of our daily experience; every instant we reject a great fool merely because he is foolish. Every day we neglect Tootses and Swivellers, Guppys and Joblings, Simmerys and Flashers. Every day we lose the last sight of Jobling and Chuckster, the Analytical Chemist, or the Marchioness. Every day we are missing a monster whom we might easily love, and an imbecile whom we should certainly admire.

This is the real gospel of Dickens; the inexhaustible opportunities offered by the liberty and the variety of man. Compared with this life, all public life, all fame, all wisdom, is by its nature cramped and cold and small. For on that defined and lighted public stage men are of necessity forced to profess one set of accomplishments, to rise to one rigid standard. It is the utterly unknown people who can grow in all directions like an exuberant tree. It is in our interior lives that we find that people are too much themselves. It is in our private life that we find them swelling into the enormous contours, and taking on the colours of caricature. Many of us live publicly with featureless public puppets, images of the small public abstractions. It is when we pass our own private gate, and open our own secret door, that we step into the land of the giants.
-Charles Dickens (1906)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hamlet was only a mild sort of murderer; a more or less accidental and parenthetical murderer; an amateur. But Macbeth was a good, solid, serious, self-respecting murderer; and we must not have any nonsense about him. For the play of Macbeth is, in the supreme and special sense, the Christian Tragedy; to be set against the Pagan Tragedy of Oedipus. It is the whole point about Oedipus that he does not know what he is doing. And it is the whole point about Macbeth that he does know what he is doing. It is not a tragedy of Fate but a tragedy of Freewill. He is tempted of a devil, but he is not driven by a destiny. If the actor pronounces the words properly, the whole audience ought to feel that the story may yet have an entirely new ending, when Macbeth says suddenly, ‘We will proceed no further in this business.’ The incredible confusion of modern thought is always suggesting that any indication that men have been influenced is an indication that they have been forced. All men are always being influenced; for every incident is an influence. The question is, which incident shall we allow to be most influential. Macbeth was influenced; but he consented to be influenced. He was not, like a blind tragic pagan, obeying something he thought he ought to obey. He does not worship the Three Witches like the Three Fates. He is a good enlightened Christian, and sins against the light.
-Chesterton on Shakespeare (1971)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Frank Capra and G.K. Chesterton

An interesting blog post I came across that shows an indirect connection between Frank Capra and G.K. Chesterton via Myles Connolly (emphasis mine):
Now it was the early 30s, and [Frank Capra] met a man named Miles [sic] Connolly (author of Mr. Blue). Capra described him as "violently Catholic" [..] Connolly actually knew of Chesterton and Belloc, and succeeded in getting them to write for his magazine. Connolly was also involved in the film business as a "script doctor". Connolly quoted Hilaire Belloc to Capra on their first meeting.

Connolly determined to bring Capra back into the fold, and he planned to do it with Chesterton and Belloc. Connolly began to goad Capra into using his great talent for a better purpose. Capra was making simple silly films, and Connolly told him is was wasting his talent. Capra described this period of a love/hate friendship time.

The best Connolly scholar, a priest in Boston, says that Connolly's book, Mr. Blue, was a direct response of Connolly's to his reading of Chesterton's biography of St. Francis of Assisi. Another scholar states that Mr. Blue was based on Chesterton himself

The films Capra made after this period of time all are based on the temptation to faith. Capra continuously felt the pull between faith and science, and his films work out this skepticism. He begins the film with a family and a faith as a hypothesis. Then, he experiments with doubt, despair and tragedy, gets the situation to boil and burn, and find out whether the man will break or survive.

His characters then split into two characters, the idealist and the cynic. The idealist is the good guy, and the cynic is the bad guy. What will happen when their two world collide?

Mr. Deeds is the first film Capra made under the influence of Connolly. Mr. Deeds is based on Mr. Blue. [...]

Capra was also influenced by Eric Gill, and claimed he was a major influence in his life, and Gill was the man who designed Gilbert and Frances Chesterton's gravestone.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

For in this world of ours we do not so much go on and discover small things; rather we go on and discover big things. It is the details that we see first; it is the design that we only see very slowly; and some men die never having seen it at all. We all wake up on a battle-field. We see certain squadrons in certain uniforms gallop past; we take an arbitrary fancy to this or that colour, to this or that plume. But it often takes us a long time to realise what the fight is about or even who is fighting whom [...]  So in the modern intellectual world we can see flags of many colours, deeds of manifold interest; the one thing we cannot see is the map. We cannot see the simplified statement which tells us what is the origin of all the trouble.
-William Blake (1910)

Friday, April 13, 2018

[...] the sort of liberty which the modern world emphatically has not got [is] the real liberty of the mind. It is no longer a question of liberty from kings and captains and inquisitors. It is a question of liberty from catchwords and headlines and hypnotic repetitions and all the plutocratic platitudes imposed on us by advertisement and journalism.
-The Thing (1929)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

[...] the soul never speaks until it speaks in poetry; and that in our daily conversation we do not speak; we only talk.
-"English Literature and the Latin Tradition"
Found in The Soul of Wit: G.K. Chesterton on William Shakespeare (2012)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sometimes the best business of an age is to resist some alien invasion; sometimes to preach practical self-control in a world too self-indulgent and diffused; sometimes to prevent the growth in the State of great new private enterprises that would poison or oppress it. Above all it may sometimes happen that the highest task of a thinking citizen may be to do the exact opposite of the work which the Radicals had to do. It may be his highest duty to cling on to every scrap of the past that he can find, if he feels that the ground is giving way beneath him and sinking into mere savagery and forgetfulness of all human culture.
-Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens (1911)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sometimes the hardest thing of all is to give [one's country] truth.
-Chesterton in a 1901 letter to his wife (quoted in Maisie Ward's biography of GKC)