G. KChesterton

The "Colossal Genius"


 


Photograph courtesy of Marion E. Wade Collection, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

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So far as a man may be proud of a religion rooted in humility, I am very proud of my religion; I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition. I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity), for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead, and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated.

-- From Autobiography (1936) --

Chesterton Quotes

Selected Chesterton Utterances (edited by Dave Armstrong)

OTHER CHESTERTON QUOTATION RESOURCES

Chesterton Photograph and Portrait Page (selected and scanned by Dave Armstrong - includes many examples of peoples' personal impressions and recollections of Chesterton)

Chesterton Biographical Brief

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the leading literary and apologetic figures in England during the first third of this century. George Bernard Shaw, an atheist, but very good friend of Chesterton's, called him a "colossal genius," no doubt wittily intending a double meaning (Chesterton was quite rotund in later years!). In an anthology by a Protestant publisher, he was described as "the ablest and most exuberant proponent of orthodox Christianity of his time" (1). The great Anglican poet, T.S. Eliot said of him: "He did more, I think, than any man of his time . . . to maintain the existence of the important minority in the modern world" (2). C.S. Lewis, arguably the greatest Christian apologist in the era following Chesterton, and also an Anglican, described reading Chesterton as an atheist in 1925:

When asked what Christian writers had helped him, Lewis remarked in 1963, six months before he died, "The contemporary book that has helped me the most is Chesterton's The Everlasting Man." (4)

Chesterton produced nearly a hundred books, including the classics Orthodoxy and The Man Who Was Thursday, and biographies of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi. He wrote articles for about 125 periodicals, and was also a talented literary critic, mystery writer, economic and political analyst, social commentator, orator, humorist and poet. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1922.

1. Knille, Robert, ed., As I Was Saying: A Chesterton Reader, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985, p.3.
2. In Marlin, George J., ed., The Quotable Chesterton, NY: Doubleday, 1987, p.xv. "Minority" = Christianity.
3. Surprised by Joy, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955, p.223.
4. God in the Dock (ed. Walter Hooper), Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970, p.260.
Chesterton Links

WEBSITES / LINK PAGES / SOCIETIES

INTRODUCTIONS AND BIOGRAPHIES
Introduction to G.K. Chesterton (Edward Peters)
First Steps Toward Chesterton (Edward Peters)
G.K. Chesterton: Champion of Orthodoxy  (Joseph Pearce)
The Road to Rome: Chesterton's Spiritual Journey  (Adam Schwartz)
G.K. Chesterton (Wikipedia)
Innocence and Humility (Donald DeMarco)
G.K. Chesterton, Writer (James E. Kiefer)
G.K. Chesterton, the Eccentric Prince of Paradox (J.D. Douglas)
G.K. Chesterton's Conversion Story (ed. Dave Armstrong)
Biographical Brief (American Chesterton Society)
Short Biography (emphasizing GKC's science fiction)
The Great Apologists: G.K. Chesterton (Carl Olson)
Brief Biography and Links (Esther Lombardi; About.com)
Interview from 1912  (Hugh Lunn)
The Essential Chesterton (David W. Fagerberg)


With his wife Frances in 1922, the year he was received into the Catholic Church.

ARTICLES / ESSAYS / MISC.

On Chesterton (James V. Schall, S.J.; compilation of 22 essays - 278K)
On the Place of Gilbert Chesterton in English Letters (Hilaire Belloc)
The 'Ample' Man Who Saved My Faith (Philip Yancey)
A Defense of Amateur Apologetics a la C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton (Dave Armstrong)
The Essential Chesterton (David W. Fagerberg)
The Woman Question  (Bonnie C. Harvey)
The Wonder of the World: Hannah Arendt, G. K. Chesterton and Ecological Populism (Richard J. Gill)
Issues & G.K.'s Answers  (Dale Ahlquist)
G.K. Chesterton, the Eccentric Prince of Paradox (J.D. Douglas)
Chesterton's Wit Gives Catholics a Rule of Action (Paul Likoudis)
Chesterton Exposes the Imbecile Habit (Center for the Advancement of Paleo-Orthodoxy)
CHESTERBELLOC (Ralph McInerny)
THE RELEVANCE OF BELLOC AND CHESTERTON  (Joseph Sobran)
CHESTERTON, BELLOC AND THE ACADEMY  (Ellen Rice)
Legends and the Chester-Belloc (William C. Van Breda)
ORTHODOXY: CHESTERTON ON THE "DELIGHT" OF TRUTH  (James V. Schall)
HOT WATER AND FRESH AIR  (Janet E. Smith)
DIVINE MIRTH  (Gerard V. Bradley)
Chesterton-Shaw Debate Speaks to the Present Crisis (Ian Boyd)
Chesterton on Robert Burns (Joseph Schwartz)
Chesterton on Caricature and Dickens (Joseph Schwartz)
Chestertonian Elements in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (Dale Ahlquist)
Amid Roars of Happy Christmas Laughter (GKC on Christmas) (James V. Schall, S.J.)
Chesterton on War (James V. Schall, S.J.)
Chesterton: A Spirit of Vatican II Bibliography  (Mark P. Shea; satirical)
A Sauer Treatment of Chesterton (Tom Jensen)
The Need to Read: G. K. Chesterton (Todd Kappelman)
The Truly Risible Man (by ?)
G.K. Chesterton Picture Archive
Gilbert! the Magazine of G.K. Chesterton
GKC Events (The American Chesterton Society)
Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review (devoted to GKC, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald, Williams, Barfield, Sayers)
ChesterBelloc (mailing list for discussion of modern Catholic authors)
Filmography  (Internet Movie Database)
BOOKS: REVIEWS, SUMMARIES, ANALYSIS, BOOKSELLERS
Who Is Father Brown? (John Peterson)
Father Brown's Hidden Methods (John Peterson)
The Case of the Forgotten Detectives: The Unknown Crime Fiction of G.K. Chesterton (John C. Tibbetts)
Review of The Everlasting Man (Fr. Phil Bloom)
Review of The Man Who Knew Too Much (Mystery Guide)
Review of The Man Who Was Thursday (Mystery Guide)
The Man Who Was Thursday: Revisiting Chesterton's Masterpiece(Martin Gardner)
Interview with Joseph Pearce (author of GKC Biography Wisdom and Innocence; by Ronald McCloskey)
FATHER BROWN AND COMPANY  (James Hitchcock)
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CONVERSION  (Robert Miner)
Platitudes Undone (Robert Royal)
CHESTERTON: A BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS  (Dale Ahlquist)
Concordances of Chesterton (incl. Heretics, Orthodoxy)
Review of Daylight and Nightmare; edited by Marie Smith: The Weird Fables and Fancies of G. K. Chesterton (Adam Walter)
Chesterton's Long-Lost Novel Found (Basil Howe)  (Paul Burnell)
Great Science Fiction & Fantasy Works: Books by G. K. Chesterton

Visiting America in 1921 (courtesy of Dorothy Collins) / Frontispiece for Autobiography of 1936

GKC WRITINGS ONLINE

Selective Chesterton Bibliography

{titles in red indicate availability online - see above listing}

{ Link: Exhaustive Bibliography of Materials By and About G.K. Chesterton }

"The Great Debate": Chesterton (in his famous profile), with George Bernard Shaw and Hilaire Belloc, 1927. Belloc was the sardonic but gentlemanly moderator for the amiable sparring partners (courtesy of UPI).
 

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Compiled by Dave Armstrong. Thorough URL Revision: 3 March 2004. Updated 1 July 2005.