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.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

True humanitarianism is sympathy with all human beings; false humanitarianism is sympathy with those particular human beings whom you choose to regard as oppressed or deserving of sympathy
Daily News, February 4, 1902

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The world of to-day attaches a large importance to mental independence, or thinking for oneself; yet the manner in which these things are cultivated is very partial. In some matters we are, perhaps too independent (for we need to think socially as well as to act socially); but in other matters we are not independent enough; we are hardly independent at all. For we always interpret mental independence as being independence of old things. But if the mind is to stand in a real loneliness and liberty, and judge mere time and mere circumstances, and all the wasting things of this world, if the mind is really a strong and emancipated judge of things unbribed and unbrowbeaten, it must assert its superiority, not merely to old things, but to new things.

It must forsee the old age of things still in a strenuous infancy. It must stand by the tombstone of the babe unborn. It must treat the twentieth century as it treats the twelfth, as something which by its own nature has already had an end. A free man must not only be free from the past; a free man must be free from the future. He must be ready to face the rising and increasing thing, and to judge it by immortal tests. It is a very poor mark of courage, in comparison, that we are ready to strike at ancient wrongs. Our courage shall be tested by whether we are ready to strike at youthful and full-blooded wrongs; wrongs that have all their life before them, wrongs that are as sanguine as the sunrise, and as fresh as the flowers.

We shall be asked whether we are ready to fight the boyish and boisterous tyrannies...That is the real test of our intellectual boldness and detachment; how many of the manifestly 'coming things' or 'coming men' are we criticising without fear or favour?
-September 30, 1905, Daily News

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A tribute to Msgr. Ronald Knox

Mary of Holyrood may smile indeed,
   Knowing what grim historic shade it shocks
To see wit, laughter and the Popish creed,
   Cluster and sparkle in the name of Knox

"Namesake" (1925)

[found in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton. Volume X: Collected Poetry, Part I]

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Yes; it is true that to-day, for the first time, our newspapers and our new politicians have asked us to forget, not what happened a thousand years ago or a hundred years ago, but what happened twenty years ago. When it is a question of shifting a policy or rehabilitating a politician, they will ask us to forget what happened two years ago or two months ago. Here, indeed, we have the great Spengler System, of total separation of one historical episode from another. Here is the true trick of regarding ourselves as divided by aeons and abysses not only from our fathers, but from ourselves. Thus, by reading the daily paper every day, and forgetting everything that it said on the previous day, we can divide human history into self-contained cycles; each consisting, not of five hundred years, but of twenty-four hours. By this means we can consider the slogans and swaggering policies which we ourselves cheered only recently, as if they were hieroglyphics as unintelligible as the Cup and Ring of Stones."
-September 3, 1932, Illustrated London News

 (H/T to the G.K. Chesterton Facebook page )

Friday, August 7, 2015

"I left school at the age of 14, went into engineering drawing and from there by a succession of logical steps into the cinema. I was reading Buchan and Chesterton then (even as a child I never cared much for Sexton Blake and the lower orders), and all the real-life crime stories I could get a hold of, but it never occured to me as a practical possibility that my professional life might take that turn."

-Alfred Hitchcock

(Source: Hitchcock on Hitchcock, Volume 1: Selected Writings and Interviews, p. 60)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

People, in public or private life, who have some reason to suppose that they have wrongs always profess to desire to see their wrongs erased, but in truth to erase their wrongs would be to erase their sun from heaven [...] They cling to the minutest memories of a family quarrel [...] they still think of the quite unjustifiable letter which Aunt Maria wrote to Aunt Jane. To the vindictive man it is vain to offer reparation, for he does not desire reparation; he desires his wrongs [...] It is the truth that the idea of a war of revenge and reparation is at the very inception useless and vain, for these emotions will never be sated even by victory and glory. Vindictiveness is a disease, and when it is once generated it rages, not only until it has killed its enemies, but until it has killed its possessor.
-October 15, 1902, Daily News

Friday, July 24, 2015

"The Speaker" Articles [Book]

Just wanted to state that I have now updated my printed version of the book "The Speaker" Articles (formerly GKC Speaks), so that it includes all 112 of the pieces which GKC wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" early in his career. (At least, I think that is all of them. When doing the Kindle version, I had accidentally forgot 3 pieces. Oops!). Anyway, just in case you are interested, here is the link to the printed version:

"The Speaker" Articles

And here is the description:


"It must be resolutely proclaimed that into the world of wonder there is no gate but the low gate of humility, through the arch of which the earth shines like elfland."

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the most influential and quotable authors of the twentieth century, was first and foremost a journalist. Among his earliest articles were those which he contributed to the paper "The Speaker." This volume contains all 112 pieces which he wrote for that paper (ranging in dates from 1892 to 1905), some of which were reprinted in later books, such as "The Defendant" (1901), but most of which have not been. They contain many valuable nuggets of Chesterton's wit and wisdom, and will prove of great interest to devoted Chestertonians as well as newcomers to the "Prince of Paradox."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We read in the greatest of texts that God is Love, but we do not read anywhere that God is Sentimentalism [...] What the world needs to restore its youth is not only more reality in its joys, but more reality in its gifts, its perils, and its renunciations.
-July 19, 1901, Daily News

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chesterton the athlete! :-)

GKC, in addition to his other talents, played cricket, on the team founded by J.M. Barrie (a close friend of his)!
JM Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan in 1904, was another enthusiastic cricketer. Between 1923 and 1932 Barrie rented Stanway House in Gloucestershire each summer from the Earl of Wemyss, whose daughter Lady Cynthia Asquith was a good friend of the author. During these stays, Barrie organised matches between his own team and others in the area. Barrie called his side the Allahahbarries, a pun on the Arabic phrase which he thought meant "Heaven help us", but in facts means "God is great". It must have caused great intrigue among the pre-Great War rural community in remote Stanway when members of the Allahahbarries, who included many of the foremost literary figures of the time, donned whites to play on the village strip. HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K Jerome, GK Chesterton, AA Milne, PG Wodehouse, AEW Mason and EW Hornung were all players in the side. Barrie wrote a slim book about his celebrity team which was reprinted with a foreword by Don Bradman, the legendary Australian batsmen, in 1950. The thatched pavilion that JM Barrie built at Stanway's cricket ground is still in use by the way. [Source]
One is reminded of Chesterton's essay The Perfect Game when trying to assess his own attitude towards playing games....


But, anyhow, now that American citizens have begun to criticize American tea, I feel emancipated from any vow of silence and free to state that an English lady of my acquaintance, on first becoming acquainted with the local beverage, said, "Well, if that's the sort of tea we sent them, I don't wonder they threw it into Boston Harbor." [...]

[...] still, the truth was that tea was not a national drink. The tables, including the tea-tables, were turned very rapidly on us by a comparison of coffee. I once made a fanciful parallel between drinks and doctrinal systems calling Protestantism beer, Catholicism wine, Agnosticism water ( a good thing if you get it clean), and the philosophy of Bernard Shaw black coffee, "which awakens but does not stimulate."

Professor William Lyon Phelps had it back on me by remarking, "I think coffee does stimulate; but then, of course, Mr. Chesterton was thinking of English coffee."

-April 10, 1935, The New York American [found in May/June 2015 issue of Gilbert magazine]

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; and it is positive and not negative, noble and not base, creative and not destructive, because it produces this institution. That institution is the family; a small state or commonwealth which has hundreds of aspects, when it is once started, that are not sexual at all. It includes worship, justice, festivity, decoration, instruction, comradeship, repose. Sex is the gate of that house; and romantic and imaginative people naturally like looking through a gateway. But the house is very much larger than the gate. There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further.
-January 29, 1928, G.K.'s Weekly
H/T G.K. Chesterton Facebook page (via Eric Matthews)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Years ago, when Mr. Bernard Shaw wrote on drama in the Saturday Review, he was only prevented from saying of every play that it was the worst in the world by the desire to say that at any rate it was better than Shakespeare. The high-water mark of his extraordinary hatred was reached, I remember, when somebody (with singular innocence) asked him to contribute to the celebration of a Shakespeare anniversary. He said — “I no longer celebrate my own birthday, and I do not see why I should celebrate his.” And I remember that when I read the words — years ago, when I was very young — I leapt up in my seat (since I was more agile in those days), and cried out — “Now I understand why he does not appreciate Shakespeare. It is because he does not appreciate birthdays.” […] Shakespeare was very plausibly presented by Shaw as a mere sullen sentimentalist, weeping over his own weakness and hanging the world with black in anticipation of his own funeral. It was all very ingenious, and you can quote a great deal in support of it. But, all the same, I am pretty sure that Shakespeare celebrated his birthday — and celebrated it with the utmost regularity. That is to say, I am sure there was strict punctuality about the time when the festival should begin, though there may, perhaps, have been some degree of vagueness or irregularity about the time when it should end.

There are some modern optimists who announce that the universe is magnificent or that life is worth living, as if they had just discovered some ingenious and unexpected circumstance which the world had never heard of before. But, if people had not regarded this human life of ours as wonderful and worthy, they would never have celebrated their birthdays at all. If you give Mr. Jones a box of cigars on his birthday the act cannot be consistent with the statement that you wish he had never been born. If you give Mr. Smith a dozen of sherry it cannot mean in theory that you wish him dead, whatever effects it may have in practice. Birthdays are a glorification of the idea of life, and it exactly hits the weak point in the Shaw type of optimism (or vitalism, which would be the better word) that it does not instinctively side with such religious celebrations of life. Mr. Shaw is ready to praise the Life-force, but he is not willing to keep his birthday, which would be the best of all ways to praise it. And the reason is that the modern people will do anything whatever for their religion except play the fool for it. They will be martyred, but they will not be chaffed. Mr. Shaw is quite clearly aware that it is a very good thing for him and for everyone else that he is alive. But to be told so in the symbolic form of brown-paper parcels containing slippers or cigarettes makes him feel a fool; which is exactly what he ought to feel. On many high occasions of life it is the only alternative to being one. A birthday does not come merely to remind a man that he has been born. It comes that he may be born again. And if a man is born again he must be as clumsy and comic as a baby.
—November 28 1908, Illustrated London News
H/T to The Hebdomadal Chesterton