The Jews of Britain, to Literary Giants, Literary Catholics. Eugenics and Other Evils. Cassell and Company, Ltd. Old and New Masters. The Man, His People, and the Empire. University of California Press. A Centenary Appraisal , Harper and Row. Voice of a New Age Revolution , Axios, p.
The Medium and the Messenger: Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p. Geological Survey, 17 September An English-speaking Hymnal Guide. Music in American Life: Faith And Music Ahlquist, Dale , The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.
The Remarkable Life and Impact of G. The Rhetoric of Redemption: Chesterton, Ethical Criticism, and the Common Man. The Seven Virtues And G. Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis. Chesterton as Controversialist, Essayist, Novelist, and Critic.
Mellen Press Conlon, D. A Half Century of Views. Cooney, A , G. Chesterton, One Sword at Least , London: Coren, Michael , Gilbert: The Man who was G. The Battle Against Modernity. Some Impressions of my Elders. The Macmillan Company, pp. Ffinch, Michael , G. Defender of the Discarded. The Mind of Chesterton.
A Seer of Science. University of Illinois Press. Chance or Reality and Other Essays. University Press of America. Ker, Ian , G. A Biography , Oxford: The Historical Imagination of G. Locality, Patriotism, and Nationalism. A Practical Mystic", Dalhousie Review , 15 4.
Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC, — Chesterton on Rome and Germany. Readers and Writers — The Return of Christian Humanism: Chesterton, Eliot, Tolkien, and the Romance of History.
University of Missouri Press. Paine, Randall , The Universe and Mr. Peck, William George Chesterton and the Return to Sanity.
From Chaos to Catholicism. Timely Essays on Timeless Paradoxes. Catholic University of America Press. Chesterton and Other Essays. Chesterton's Literary Influence on George Orwell: Knight Errant of Orthodoxy. Little, Brown and Company, pp. Smith, Marion Couthouy Chesterton," The Catholic World, Vol. Christianity, Patriotism, and Nationhood: The England of G. Sullivan, John , G. A Centenary Appraisal , London: Return to Chesterton, London: Williams, Donald T , Mere Humanity: Find more about G.
Catholic literary revival . Part of a series on. Though his most common tone was mildly satirical, his essays were seldom sustained satires. While he showed that pure reason has severe limitations and imposes certain penalties, it was clear thinking that enabled him to recognize the importance of nonsense. He makes us aware of certain devices only to capture us with others that operate simultaneously. For instance, he appears to end a thought in his characteristically epigrammatic way, but a few sentences later he startles us with a brilliant paradox or thrust of wit that he planted, parenthetically, in the epigram.
His paradoxes are often inverted truisms. Each essay is a necklace of such paradoxes, used to choke or adorn the reader, depending on his doctrinal affinities. If his paradoxes are sometimes shallow, one must remember that deep ones are not so easy to dredge up that one can fill hundreds of essays, line by line, with them.
That it is also a very difficult and demanding form, in which many clever writers have failed, is not regarded as relevant. Nor is there much respect for the innovators in this genre, or much comment on their remarkable rarity. If there were, Chesterton's reputation would stand very high; for his detective stories, while they may not be the best ever written, are without doubt the most ingenious.
But to show ingenuity and originality in the detective story is for the superior critic merely to have a knack for a particular sort of commercial fiction. It is not the sort of thing he takes seriously. And Chesterton himself, it seems, would have agreed with him. My contention will be that these stories, together with Chesterton's novel The Man who was Thursday, are the best of his writings, and I will try to give reasons why they should be taken seriously. But I must admit at the start that there are two sometimes overlapping classes of reader whom I cannot hope to convert.
The first consists of those who loathe detective stories; the second, of those who are so prejudiced against the Roman Catholic Church that they cannot read stories in which a priest is presented sympathetically. All I can say to these readers is that the Father Brown stories are much more than detective stories, and if they can overcome their repugnance to the genre they will find a good deal that might interest them in another context; and secondly, that the element of strictly Roman Catholic propaganda in the stories is small.
Furthermore, Father Brown is neither a realistic nor even an idealized portrait of a priest. At the moment, I merely ask readers to forget their anticlericalism. But no doubt the main problem that a sympathetic critic must confront is that Chesterton's work generally is out of favor. To some extent this is merely for period reasons. He is far away enough from us for his work to have become dated, but not far enough for it to have become historical.
Like some other writers of his time, he is in a sort of critical limbo. But there are also special reasons for his unpopularity. He campaigned for causes which, except in old-fashioned Roman Catholic circles, attract little sympathy. His distributism is dismissed as impracticable. Above all, Chesterton's association of Christianity with romanticism is disliked.
The general taste of this age is counter-romantic; and many of those who, like Chesterton, are seriously concerned with religion share this taste. The most influential of religious thinkers in our times is probably Kierkegaard, and he is also one of the most counter-romantic. It is true that Kierkegaard, unlike many moderns, felt the attraction of romanticism.
In The Concept of Irony, for example, he speaks of the breath of fresh air which romanticism brings to the spiritless, matter-of-fact monotony of bourgeois existence. But to him it is an insidious temptation. Romanticism brings neither a true vision of reality, nor a firm footing in the temporal world. It is the enemy of the moral life. Nothing could be further from Chesterton's view. It is true that he thought romanticism could go wrong and be perverted. And even at its best it is not enough to bring the soul to God.
Here Chesterton would have agreed with Kierkegaard. But unlike Kierkegaard he wanted to baptize it, not dismiss it to hell. Counter-romanticism is the deep reason why Chesterton's work is rejected.
But there are other reasons, some of which are more purely literary. Most of Chesterton's work is on the borderline between literature and journalism; much of it, indeed, is frankly, nothing but journalism.
True, the same could be said of Swift or Samuel Johnson, who are in high repute with critics. But they have passed into history; whereas Chesterton, like Wells, still has the flavor of old newspapers. And, like most writers who have to write copiously and under pressure, Chesterton often became the slave of his own mannerisms. Even his warmest admirer will admit that he frequently repeats himself and that his wit degenerates into stock verbal formulas.
The spice of his style conceals poor meat. This is especially true of his work written after the Great War. The War itself, and the serious illness which Chesterton suffered during the War, took away much of his real gaiety and spontaneity.
The sparkle had gone. Chesterton was essentially a prewar writer; and the War, which killed or wounded so many in the flesh, killed and wounded many others in the spirit. Chesterton was one of them. For many modern readers, then, Chesterton is a dead writer.
His name recalls only noisy showmanship, out-of-date class attitudes, Edwardian jolliness, foaming tankards. He is at best a period piece.
A defender of Chesterton might retort that at one time Dickens was dismissed as a vulgar purveyor of melodrama and sentiment: However, Dickens was a creative writer; and it is not altogether clear that Chesterton was. His forte was really the essay, and the essay is not nowadays highly regarded. His affinities with Lamb, Hazlitt, and Stevenson are today black marks against him. His generally cheerful temper, his love of Romance, his old-fashioned and chivalrous attitude to women and sex, are antipathetic.
And even though writers whom he admired, and who influenced him, like Browning and Dickens, are coming back into favor, they are not seen as Chesterton saw them. It is said that he presented them as too exuberant and jolly. Chesterton himself is thought, especially by those who have not read him, to have preached an optimism which to the sensitive, in a world like this, sounds brainless and heartless.
Father Brown says of an exponent of the Religion of Cheerfulness: But, as my quotation indicates, I think this is a confusion. And the picture of Chesterton I have been giving is, deliberately, a travesty. However, it is a recognizable travesty. Chesterton did indeed have many faults as a writer. He was the first to admit them. He was a genuinely humble man.
When he was at the height of his fame he was asked by a journalist in New York which of his works he considered the greatest. He replied that he did not consider any of his works at all great. He may have been right. But it seems to me that he was at least a writer important enough to be one of the very few who survive their time. My article is thus a plea for a reconsideration of Chesterton's place in English literature.
First of all, I think, his work needs weeding out. My own belief is that the case for him as an important writer depends on comparatively few things:
G. K. Chesterton Home Page. Provides information and resources about Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Includes some pictures and etext copies of many of his books, essays .
G. K. Chesterton – (Full name Gilbert Keith Chesterton) English novelist, short story writer, playwright, critic, essayist, journalist, autobiographer, biographer, and poet. For additional coverage of Chesterton's short fiction, see SSC, Vol. 1. Chesterton holds an enduring place in English literature.
The journal is published by the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture based in Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, US Dale Ahlquist founded the American Chesterton Society in to explore and promote his writings. This new reading plan will take you through key categories, including an introduction to Chesterton, apologetics, fiction, essays, literary criticism & biographies, social Criticism, poetry, and other topics.
G.K. Chesterton was a master essayist. But reading his essays is not just an exercise in studying a literary form at its finest, it is an encounter with timeless truths that jump off the page as fresh and powerful as the day they were written/5(57). The Essays of G. K. Chesterton Homework Help Questions. Provide a literary analysis of the essay by G. K. Chesterton, "The Riddle of the Ivy." In this essay, the speaker says that he is going to.