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.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cats and Dogs

Cats are so beautiful that a creature from another star might fall in love with them, and so incalculable that he might kill them. Some of my friends take quite a high moral line about cats. Some, like Mr. Titterton, I think, admire a cat for its moral independence and readiness to scratch anybody "if he does not behave himself." Others, like Mr. Belloc, regard the cat as cruel and secret, a fit friend for witches; one who will devour everything, except, indeed, poisoned food, "so utterly lacking is it in Christian simplicity and humility." For my part, I have neither of these feelings. I admire cats as I admire catkins; those little fluffy things that hang on trees. They are both pretty and both furry, and both declare the glory of God. And this abstract exultation in all living things is truly to be called Love; for it is a higher feeling than mere affectional convenience; it is a vision. It is heroic, and even saintly, in this: that it asks for nothing in return. I love all the cats in the street as St. Francis of Assisi loved all the birds in the wood or all the fishes in the sea; not so much, of course, but then I am not a saint. But he did not wish to bridle a bird and ride on its back, as one bridles and rides on a horse. He did not wish to put a collar round a fish's neck, marked with the name "Francis," and the address "Assisi"—as one does with a dog. He did not wish them to belong to him or himself to belong to them; in fact, it would be a very awkward experience to belong to a lot of fishes. But a man does belong to his dog, in another but an equally real sense with that in which the dog belongs to him. The two bonds of obedience and responsibility vary very much with the dogs and the men; but they are both bonds. In other words, a man does not merely love a dog; as he might (in a mystical moment) love any sparrow that perched on his windowsill or any rabbit that ran across his path. A man likes a dog; and that is a serious matter.
-A Miscellany of Men (1912)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Foolish despotisms try to teach their servants seriousness: our wiser oligarchy teaches its servants levity.
-October 19, 1907, Daily News

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And that sign, which Constantine saw in heaven above his eagles, should be enough in itself to convey that mystery of Christendom which must always be a menace to its enemies [...] There is but one religion which can only decorate even its triumphs with an emblem of defeat. There is only one army which carries the image of its own captain, not enthroned or riding, but captured and impaled.
-June 28, 1916, Daily News

Thursday, September 8, 2016

For continuous and systematic secrecy you need an advanced civilization. For continuous and systematic secrecy you need good taste and gentlemanly feeling and other unpleasant things. Above all, for continuous and systematic secrecy you need journalism.
-January 31, 1905, Daily News

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Winston Churchill with GKC

[...] in 1917 [Chesterton] was accompanying Winston Churchill (along with Churchill's cousin and GKC's secretary, Freda Spencer) to Warsash on the Solent to inspect seaplanes at Supermarine, Saunders-Roe and RNAS Calshot; Churchill had to rescue Freda when she fell into the Solent. It might be wondered what Gilbert's function was; possibly, together with more propaganda and recruiting speeches, he was also there in the capacity of a ghost-speechwriter for Churchill."
-G.K. Chesterton: A Reappraisal , Denis Conlon

Friday, September 2, 2016

"Mr. G.K. Chesterton is one of the great writers here." - Gandhi

I've referred to GKC's influence on Gandhi before, but now I've come across a direct quote from Gandhi mentioning Chesterton. It is quoted in an appendix ("Critical Judgments") in the book G.K. Chesterton: A Reappraisal by Denis Conlon, and he lists as the source Indian Opinion, January 1910 [presumably the article mentioned in the link above]. Here is the quote:
Mr. G.K. Chesterton is one of the great writers here. He is an Englishman of a liberal temper. Such is the perfection of his style that his writings are read by millions with great avidity. To "The Illustrated London News" of September 18, 1909 he has contributed an article on Indian awakening, which is worth studying. I believe that what he has said is reasonable."
 [A quick note: the date of the article in the American edition which came out two weeks later, and which date Ignatius Press uses in its volumes of Chesterton's ILN articles, is October 2, 1909.]

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An amusing anecdote :-)
After she had married and come to live at Overstrand Mansions, Annie [Firmin] recalled an evening when Chesterton came round to their flat on his way to dinner at the House of Commons with a shoe on one foot and a slipper on the other. Did it matter? Chesterton asked, when it was pointed out to him. 'I told him I was sure Frances would not like him to go out like that- the only argument to affect him'
-G.K. Chesterton: A Biography Ian Ker (2011), p.121

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Of a living thing we have a divine ignorance; and a divine ignorance may be called the definition of romance. "

All this is the origin of the one distinctly human thing- the story. There can be as good science about a turnip as about a man. There can be, properly considered, as good philosophy about a turnip as about a man. There can be, I should strongly, though reverently, suspect, as good theology about a turnip as about a man. There can be, without any question at all, as good higher mathematics about a turnip as about a man. But I do not think, though I speak in a manner somewhat tentative, that there could be as good a novel written about a turnip as about a man. I am not sure; there may be a quiet, silverly school of fiction to which a turnip would lend itself. But I think, on the whole, that even in the most quiet and silvery school there would be needed a certain swell and ebb of events. No; in this matter of the story comes in the real supremacy of man. Of a mechanical thing we have a full knowledge. Of a living thing we have a divine ignorance; and a divine ignorance may be called the definition of romance. The Christian gospel is not a system; a system is fit for turnips. The Christian gospel is literally a story; that is, a thing in which one does not know what is to happen next. This thing, called Fiction, then, is the main fact of our human supremacy. If you want to know what is our human kinship with Nature, with the brutes, and with the stars, you can find cartloads of big philosophical volumes to show it you. You will find our kinship with Nature in books on geology and books on metaphysics. But if you want to find our isolation and divinity, you must pick up a penny novellette.
-March 26, 1904, Daily News [also found in In Defense of Sanity]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"...paganism deals always with a light shining on things, Christianity with a light shining through them."

And I think a broad distinction between the finest pagan and the finest Christian point of view may be found in such an approximate phrase as this, that paganism deals always with a light shining on things, Christianity with a light shining through them. That is why the whole Renaissance colouring is opaque, the whole Pre-Raphaelite colouring transparent. The very sky of Rubens is more solid than the rocks of Giotto: it is like a noble cliff of immemorial blue marble. The artists of the devout age seemed to regret that they could not make the light show through everything, as it shows through the little wood in the wonderful Nativity of Botticelli. And this is why, again, Christianity, which has been attacked so strangely as dull and austere, invented the thing which is more intoxicating than all the wines of the world, stained-glass windows.
-G.F. Watts (1904)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Children live in an almost entirely timeless world (in which they resemble the Deity of Thomas Aquinas), and most of us who can remember our childhood can remember a certain sense of spaciousness in the hours, a sense that might be called a kind of happy emptiness.
-May 5, 1906, Illustrated London News

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"But it was you who said it was a miracle," said Alboin, staring.

"I'm so sorry," said Father Brown; "I'm afraid there's some mistake. I don't think I ever said it was a miracle. All I said was that it might happen. What you said was that it couldn't happen, because it would be a miracle if it did. And then it did. And so you said it was a miracle. But I never said a word about miracles or magic, or anything of the sort from beginning to end."

"But I thought you believed in miracles," broke out the secretary.

"Yes," answered Father Brown, "I believe in miracles. I believe in man-eating tigers, but I don't see them running about everywhere. If I want any miracles, I know where to get them."

"I can't understand your taking this line, Father Brown," said Vandam, earnestly. "It seems so narrow; and you don't look narrow to me, though you are a parson. Don't you see, a miracle like this will knock all materialism endways? It will just tell the whole world in big print that spiritual powers can work and do work. You'll be serving religion as no parson ever served it yet."

The priest had stiffened a little and seemed in some strange way clothed with unconscious and impersonal dignity, for all his stumpy figure. "Well," he said, `you wouldn't suggest I should serve religion by what I know to be a lie? I don't know precisely what you mean by the phrase; and, to be quite candid, I'm not sure you do. Lying may be serving religion; I'm sure it's not serving God. And since you are harping so insistently on what I believe, wouldn't it be as well if you had some sort of notion of what it is?'
The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"But God forbid that men's rights should ever be left to a human discretion."

But God forbid that men's rights should ever be left to a human discretion. We know that human discretion. Its other name is Plutocracy.[...] numberless people will say this: that there is a graduated scale among men as among animals. That black men have not the rights of white men. That ignorant men have not the same rights as wise men. Therefore I lay down my second dogma or axiom. 'Every man owes it to men to keep the rights of men quite distinct and definite. If anyone says the things just said above, let him be suppressed. If there is a church of humanity, let him be anathema. If there is an army of humanity, let him be shot. For he is a traitor to the whole adventure of the house of Adam.
-August 10, 1907, Daily News