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)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It is very good for a man to talk about what he does not understand; as long as he understands that he does not understand it. Agnosticism (which has, I am sorry to say, almost entirely disappeared from the modern world) is always an admirable thing, so long as it admits that the thing which it does not understand may be much superior to the mind which does not understand it. Thus if you say that the cosmos is incomprehensible, and really mean (as most moderns do) that it is not worth comprehending; then it would be much better for your Greek agnosticism if it were called by its Latin name of ignorance.
-A Handful of Authors (published posthumously in 1953)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The basis of the artistic as of the ethical virtues is courage, and of courage there is only one certain and splendid signal- failure.
-May 12, 1900, The Speaker

Friday, April 24, 2015

Art school

An art school is a place where about three people work with feverish energy and everybody else idles to a degree that I should have conceived unattainable by human nature.
-Autobiography (1936)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"[Utopia] is generally called a Republic, and it always is a Monarchy."

I am not at all fond of regimentation or repression; that is why I have never written a novel about Utopia, as is the case with almost all of the sinful human race who have written anything in our time. Utopia always seems to me to mean regimentation rather than emancipation; repression rather than expansion. It is generally called a Republic, and it always is a Monarchy. It is a Monarchy in the old and exact sense of the term; because it is really ruled by one man, the author of the book. He may tell us that all the characters in the book spontaneously delight in the beautiful social condition, but somehow we never believe him. His ideal world is always the world that he wants, and not the world that the world wants. therefore, however democratic it may be in theory or in the book, it is always pretty despotic when it begins to be approached in practice through the law. The first modern moves towards any utopian condition are generally as coercive as Prohibition. All that we call Utopia is but the rather evasive and vague expression of the natural, boyish, and romantic sentiment: "If I were King."
-May 7, 1927, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated" - Mark Twain

Cyril Clemens (a relation of Mark Twain) wrote a book on Chesterton, called "Chesterton as Seen by His Contemporaries". It is a fascinating book and a source for many great sayings and anecdotes concerning GKC.  (For instance, it is here we learn Chesterton's famous reply concerning the book he would wish to have if he were stranded on a desert island: "Thomas's Guide to Practical Shipbuilding)

That being the case, it is interesting to read this concerning Cyril Clemens' own father, James Ross Clemens, a cousin of Mark Twain:

My father was James Ross Clemens whose illness in London was the innocent cause of Mark Twain's most famous saying, "The report of my death is greatly exaggerated." For the newsmen had confused the two Clemenses and had Mark not merely ill but actually dead!


Or, to give Mark Twain's version of the incident (from which the quote first originated)

"James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London but is well now. the report of my illness grew out of his illness. The report of my death was an exaggeration"


Of course, the saying took on a life of its own (with some tweaking later on by Twain himself, such as adding the word "greatly"), resulting in the more familiar version quoted today. 

Granted, this is only somewhat related to this blog, in that it deals with a famous Mark Twain quote, not a Chesterton quote. But given that the occasion for the Twain quote was when Twain was confused with the father of the author of a book on Chesterton, it was something I wished to share in this place, in that there is a Chesterton connection in that respect
Liberty is the very last idea that seems to occur to anybody, in considering any political or social proposal. It is only necessary for anybody for any reason to allege any evidence of any evil in any human practice, for people instantly to suggest that the practice should be suppressed by the police.
-June 5, 1920, Illustrated London News
[H/T Siris]

Monday, April 20, 2015

...when Conservatives, Liberals, and Socialists all agree, it is time for the larger and more harmless part of mankind to look after its pockets...
-April 5, 1913, Illustrated London News
H/T G.K. Chesterton Facebook page

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What is the matter with internationalism is that it is imperialism. It is the imposition of one ideal of one sect on the vital varieties of men.
-June 17, 1922, Illustrated London News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Property is a more serious matter than marriage- in a plutocracy.
-October 24, 1925, Illustrated London News

Friday, April 17, 2015

...the modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing-cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic.
-May 29, 1926, Illustrated London News

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The religious prophets, the Elijahs and the Baptists, the Savonarolas and the Bunyans, were the only real democrats, the only real disbelievers in the efficacy of fashion and station and wealth. They did conceive that the problem par excellence was not the problem of the poor, but the problem of the rich. They did go into kings' palaces and rebuke them as if they were the scum of the earth. They did speak to princes as the modern philanthropist speaks to costermongers. They did hope that there might be some real possibilities in peers and plutocrats, as we hope that there may be some real possibilities in vagabonds and thieves. They, I repeat, were perhaps the only real democrats that the world has ever seen. For it is no democracy, but only a foolish masquerade of aristocracy, when it is only possible for the aristocrat to be genuinely interested in the welfare of the plebeian. The real democracy is found when the plebeian may be genuinely interested in the welfare of the aristocrat.
-December 7, 1901, The Speaker

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"The modern world is so broad that all its citizens are narrow."

The great curse of our civilisation is that it is so large that whole masses of its inhabitants never see any but one side of life, any but one phase of thought. The modern world is so broad that all its citizens are narrow. There were a great many advantages in living in a small State, one of them was that of living in a larger world. In Athens probably a man could not put his nose outside his door without hearing Mystics and Atheists talking at the top of their voices. Today there are whole tracts of country such as Brixton and Surbiton in which the householder might go out in perfect safety, in which great philosophers do not argue in the street, perhaps from one year's end to another. These vast herds of suburban citizens living perpetually among people like themselves, might, indeed, be rescued to some extent from ignorance of others and of current thought by the daily Press. But here again the party system frustrates us, and a man only reads in his daily paper his own prejudices embellished with other people’s arguments. Something must be done to shift and float these vast clogged and stagnant masses of human life. Unless this is done it will be no idle jest to say that our civilisation is melting away in an apocalypse which it has not even the sense to understand. We require, in short, first and foremost, a quicker circulation of the civic blood.
-November 2, 1901, The Speaker