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)

Friday, May 17, 2024

"....he is really a liberal and reasonable man. But by being perpetually in office he has let that pompous manner get worse and worse, till it seems to grow on him....What is needed in such a case?....A few healthful weeks... meditating on that fine shade of distinction between oneself and God Almighty, which is so easily overlooked."
-Four Faultless Felons (1930)

Sunday, March 31, 2024

[An excerpt from a GKC essay with the paradoxical title (and thesis) "That an Irregular Expenditure Improves the Morals"]

I believe that a very irregular division, a very up and down life, a life lived in extremes of wealth and poverty is far the most moral and improving....For let us consider the two sides of the matter: the first is the necessity of the human spirit for some degree of abnegation, the second the necessity for some degree of excitement. Does the man of regular life learn abnegation? Not in the least. He has never tasted of extravagance and therefore does not miss it. He does not miss it, and therefore does not, properly speaking, give it up at all. If a thing is very remote indeed from a man's whole mode of life, as remote as a different century or continent, it is absurd to say that he renounces it. It is absurd to say that I am so simple in my mode of life that I have lived a year in Battersea without a gondola. It is nonsense to say that I think of my wife and my small income, and resist buying an Indian elephant....And now contrast with this easy and self-indulgent life of the respectable middle classes, the dark heroism, the iron self-sacrifice, the religious austerity of the extravagant man who is hard up. He passes temptations by, but like the saint in the Church Triumphant, he knows what they are, and what is their beauty and their pathos. He abandons the cigar, but not with ignorance, but with a sad and sacred knowledge. He is really an ascetic....And by the effect of his former extravagance on his present resources, he really gains a grip of himself, a knowledge of hard and wholesome human life, as it has been for all men since the beginning of the world.......I believe that a stricter and finer moral character is produced by being extravagant one day and parsimonious the next. For thus we develop both the Pagan and the Puritan virtues. And we keep the one essential of life, wonder; we know when we see it on the darkest night; the low and neglected hedge that lies between earth and elfland.
-March 14, 1903, Black and White

[found in the book Chesterton in Black and White (2021), edited by Geir Hasnes]

Monday, January 15, 2024

"Yes," said Hood, "your expert is very expert, isn't he- in writing books?" 

Sir Samuel Bliss stiffened in all his bristles. "I trust," he said "you are not implying any doubt that our expert is an expert." 

"I have no doubt of your expert," answered Hood gravely, "I do not doubt either that he is expert or that he is yours."

"Really, gentlemen," cried Bliss in a sort of radiance of protest, "I think such an insinuation about a man in Professor Hake's position---" 

 "Not at all, not at all," said Hood soothingly, "I'm sure it's a most comfortable position."
-Tales of the Long Bow (1925)

Friday, October 20, 2023

A little early for Christmas, but I just came across this wonderful narration on Youtube of GKC's Christmas "ghost story" (from his book Tremendous Trifles), called "The Shop of Ghosts". The narration is done by Edward E. French:

Friday, June 9, 2023


The people who trust to derivations are always wrong: for they ignore the life and adventures of a word, and all that it has done since it was born. People of that sort would say that every man who lives in a villa is a villain. They would say that being chivalrous is the same as being horsey.
Alarms and Discursions (1911) 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

But there is not only doubt about mystical things; not even only about moral things. There is most doubt of all about rational things. I do not mean that I feel these doubts, either rational or mystical; but I mean that a sufficient number of modern people feel them to make unanimity an absurd assumption....[T]his scepticism is throwing thousands into a condition of doubt, not about [mystical] but about obvious things. We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which furious party cries will be raised against anybody who says that cows have horns, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.
-August 14, 1926, Illustrated London News

Friday, April 21, 2023

[I]magination is the signal of instinct. Journalism only tells us what men are doing; it is fiction that tells us what they are thinking, and still more what they are feeling...[A]ll fiction is only a diary of day-dreams instead of days. And this profound occupation of men's minds with certain things always eventually has an effect even on the external expression of the age. 

-April 21, 1923, Illustrated London News

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Every kind of bureaucratic busybody has swarmed round the poor man's house until his whole authority in it has been hollowed out and eaten away. Children cannot treat parents as authorities whom authorities treat as slaves. The consequence is that nearly the whole normal business of looking after children has passed from the parent to the policeman.

-March 24 1923, Illustrated London News

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Bob Dylan and GKC

From the latest issue of Gilbert (March/April 2023), on p. 33, there is this interesting tidbit:
So, Fr. O'Conner's guidance and example as a real priest was the spark that became Chesterton's ficitional priest Father Brown, the hero of 53 mystery stories, as well as movies and television shows (the most recent of those was referenced by Bob Dylan as being "binge-worthy").
Unfortunately, while I have not seen the "most recent" of the television shows (other than one episode), which is produced by the BBC, from what I have heard it is not faithful to the spirit of the original stories, whatever other merits it may have. That said, to the extent it encourages people to read the originals, it is to that extent good at least.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Just as it was the mark of old tyranny to stretch the law, so it will be the mark of new tyranny to make a law that can be stretched. To a great extent, at least, what used to be called common law used the language of common-sense. That is, it used words that were a little too popular to be entirely twisted out of their ordinary sense. Stealing could hardly be stretched to mean taking ten minutes of a man's time. Murder could hardly be made to include any sort of material inconvenience, that anybody might say had shortened his life. But if the law begins to deal with new scientific words, that do not as yet correspond to any popular and recognised things, we have no public protection against their being extended to touch anything or anybody.
-March 17, 1923, Illustrated London News

Monday, March 13, 2023

It is always hard to make a rule about the claim of the amateur to contradict the expert. One test, which would by itself cart away a great deal of lumber, is the rule that none is a specialist outside his speciality. In magazines and such modern arenas this truism is often oddly disregarded [...] But there is yet another line along which the conclusions of the expert may lawfully be tested by the amateur. And these are the cases in which the expert actually asserts what the amateur is able from his own knowledge to deny. We are not bound to believe the Astronomer Royal when he disproves the sun in heaven; and though I may respect my doctor when he tells me I am dying, I shall differ from him if he tells me I am dead.
-March 2,1916, New Witness

Friday, November 25, 2022

It is a curious irony that [...] a modern man thinks that people in the Middle Ages believed anything they were told. For in truth he only thinks it because he himself believes anything he is told about the Middle Ages. It is modern credulity that has invented mediaeval credulity.
-November 18, 1922, Illustrated London News