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.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Some critics have vaguely suspected Chaucer of being a Lollard, through a simple ignorance of what is meant by being a Catholic. I am aware that there is a Victorian convention, according to which a literary study should not refer to religion, except when there is an opportunity of a passing sneer at it. But nobody can make head or tail of the fourteenth century without understanding what is meant by being a Catholic; and therefore by being a heretic. A man does not come an inch nearer to being a heretic by being a hundred times a critic. Nor does he do so because his criticisms resemble those of critics who are also heretics. He only becomes a heretic at the precise moment when he prefers his criticism to his Catholicism. That is, at the instant of separation in which he thinks the view peculiar to himself more valuable than the creed that unites him to his fellows. At any given moment the Catholic Church is full of people sympathizing with social movements or moral ideas, which may happen to have representatives outside the Church. For the Church is not a movement or a mood or a direction, but the balance of many movements and moods; and membership of it consists of accepting the ultimate arbitrament which strikes the balance between them, not in refusing to admit any of them into the balance at all. A Catholic does not come any nearer to being a Communist by hating the Capitalist corruptions, any more than he comes any nearer to being a Moslem by hating real idolatry or real excess in wine. He accepts the Church's ruling about the use and abuse of wine and images; and after that it is irrelevant how much he happens to hate the abuse of them. A Catholic did not come any nearer to being a Calvinist by dwelling on the omniscience of God and the power of Grace, any more than he came any nearer to being an atheist by saying that man possessed reason and freewill. What constituted a Calvinist was that he preferred his Calvinism to his Catholicism. And what constituted his Catholicism was that he accepted the ultimate arbitration which reconciled freewill and grace, and did not exclude either. So a Catholic did not come any nearer to being a Lollard because he criticized the ecclesiastical evils of the fourteenth century, as Leo the Thirteenth or Cardinal Manning criticized the economic evils of the nineteenth century. He said many things which Lollards also said, as the Pope and the Cardinal said many things which Socialists also said. But he was no nearer to being a Lollard; and nobody can begin to suggest that Chaucer was a Lollard, unless he can prove either or both of two propositions about him. First, that he held any Lollard doctrine that can be proved to be heretical by exact and authoritative definition: the sort of precise thing not very likely to be found in such poetry. And, second, that if he did hold it as a private opinion, he would in the last resort have preferred that private opinion to membership of the Body of Christ.
-Chaucer (1932)

Friday, February 22, 2019

One of the queer puzzles of modern politics might be stated in this way. That when power was permanent, it was always reminded that it was passing; but when power was really supposed to be passing, it was actually treated as if it were permanent. In the days when kings could really cut off anybody’s head, they were incessantly informed by seers and sages that they themselves would soon be cut off. When they were real despots with the power of life and death, there were real prophets or satirists who told them that death would be the end of their own life. But nobody ever said this, since democratic and liberal ideas were supposed to prevail in the State. Nobody told the really temporary ruler that he was temporary, or even that he was temporal.
-As I Was Saying (1936)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Everyone is asking why they may not have this, why they should not do that. But anyone who knows the alphabet of man knows that happiness does not work like this, that a little goes a long way, that contrast counts for much- that people enjoy most the unexpected pleasure, the edges and the beginnings of things. In two words, we know that joy greatly depends on wonder; and we know that wonder partly depends on rarity. On this truth sane men will soon build up simpler enjoyments.
-March 2, 1907, Daily News

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The practical politician is a man who always takes the notion that lies nearest- not because he is morally prompt, but because he is mentally lazy. One result of this is that they are surrounded by a swarm of quacks, struggling for their wandering attention [...] Thus they are more likely to have the proper prospectuses of preposterous Utopias thrust into their hands than to have leisure to listen to the real talk even of the crowd, far less to think out the elementary logic of the question.
-February 15, 1919, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

[Jane Austen] is perhaps most typical of her time in being supremely irreligious. Her very virtues glitter with the cold sunlight of the great secular epoch between mediaeval and modern mysticism. In that small masterpiece, Northanger Abbey, her unconsciousness of history is itself a piece of history. For Catherine Morland was right, as young and romantic people often are. A real crime had been committed in Northanger Abbey. It is implied in the very name of Northanger Abbey. It was the crucial crime of the sixteenth century, when all the institutions of the poor were savagely seized to be the private possessions of the rich. It is strange that the name remains; it is stranger still that it remains unrealized. We should think it odd to go to tea at a man’s house and find it was still called a church. We should be surprised if a gentleman’s shooting box at Claybury were referred to as Claybury Cathedral. But the irony of the eighteenth century is that Catherine was healthily interested in crimes and yet never found the real crime; and that she never really thought of it as an abbey, even when she thought of it most as an antiquity.
-The Uses of Diversity (1921)

Monday, February 18, 2019

"...a restatement of religious truth."

He said that we need a new statement of religion; and I remembered the hundreds and thousands of times I have heard the murmur of the emancipated, repeating again and again that we need "a restatement of religious truth." Now "restatement," not in itself, but as they use it, is a catchword. I do not so much complain of what they say; but I do complain that they do not mean what they say- that they do, in fact, mean the very opposite of what they say. To restate a thing is to state it over again; possibly to state the thing in other words, but to state the same thing. It is nonsense to say that the statement, "The dog is mad," is restated in the amended form, "The cow is dead"; and it is equally absurd that the news that the devil is dead should be called a restatement of the tradition that the devil is dangerous. In truth, as I have said, these people really mean the reverse of what they say. They do not mean that we are to take the same idea and restate it in new words. On the contrary, they mean that we are to use the old words and attach to them a new idea.

It would be easy to take a perfectly simple and indisputable example of such a phrase, which is by this time an antiquated phrase. It might make things a little clearer, for children or foreigners, if we did not speak of the Holy Ghost, but only of the Holy Spirit, The word "ghost" is antiquated in that meaning; and, what is worse, it is still alive and kicking in another and more grotesque meaning. There may possibly have been babies for whom the old phrase had some association with spectres in white sheets; and the highly enlightened modern inquirer often has to be treated as tenderly as if he were a baby. Anyhow, to say Spirit instead of Ghost would not be a modification or a modernisation or a compromise or a surrender. It would be strictly and exactly a restatement. That is, it would be stating the same thing over again, only in a living language instead of a dead one. But those who clamour for the restatement of traditional truths commonly mean quite the contrary. They do not mean that we should cease to speak of the Holy Ghost because it only means the Holy Spirit; they mean that we should continue to speak of the Holy Ghost, only that we should make it mean the League of Nations, or the theory of Evolution, or the cause of vegetarianism, or whatever we please. Restatement means putting an old notion in new terms. But they mean that they want to put a new notion in old terms; they cling convulsively to every letter and syllable of the old terms. Even when they talk about restating something they call Religion they are clinging to a very old term.
-June 9, 1928, Illustrated London News

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The real trouble of the Middle Ages lay in their rudimentary and relatively bad communications for the handing on of their good things; not in the least in their not having the good things to communicate. We are in a position to appreciate the distinction at the present moment; when we have very good communications and nothing to communicate.
-Chaucer (1932)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

[D]emocracy tends too much to mean politicians[.]
-April 22.1911, Daily News

Friday, February 15, 2019

As it is, I look on that most glorious of sights: a collision. You may call it, if you like, an overlapping: the spring has begun before the winter has left off [...] The essential is that this entanglement of advancing spring with retreating winter has all the crashing qualities of a battle. I look out on my garden and see time sharpened and shortened, and all things become contemporary. I see the snow shooting downwards with arrows at the flowers; and the flowers fighting upwards with shields and spears against the snow. And I see the double paradox of the seasons: the comfortable colours of snow side by side with all the airiness and eagerness of the early plants. I see all the warmth of the winter and the coldness of the spring.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

[I]f we are to keep any kind of public control on our destiny, we must insist on having violent things called by their own violent names.
-May 18, 1912, Daily News

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

[S]elf-criticism [is] the necessary condition of all criticism.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The worst is always very near the best; there is something much worse than atheism which is Satanism; otherwise known as Being God.
-The Poet and the Lunatics (1929)