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)

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"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.




Tuesday, October 23, 2018

An interesting story on the history of GKC's hymn "O God of Earth and Altar", including it's first verse being incorporated into the song "Revelations" by the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Men are progressive because they are a little behind the times. They are reactionary because they are a little in advance of the times. It sounds like a paradox; but it is really a very practical and even inevitable state of things, given certain conditions. Those behind will still cry “Forward!”; and only those far in front will cry “Back!”; when the vanguard of the army has come suddenly to the edge of a precipice.
-The Well and the Shallows (1935)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

For wit is always connected with the idea that truth is close and clear. Humour, on the other hand, is always connected with the idea that truth is tricky and mystical and easily mistaken.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

There are [...] difficulties I feel in this glorification of world government. One is the very simple fact that the real difficulty of representative government is how to make it represent, even in the smallest of small nationalities, even in the nearest parish council. Why should we talk as if we should have more influence over rulers governing the whole earth from Geneva or Chicago, I have never been able to see. Mr. Wells can spread himself in describing how "world controls" would control us. He seems relatively vague about how we should control them.
June 16, 1928, Illustrated London News

Friday, October 19, 2018

The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when he is dead that he swings. But whenever one meets modern thinkers (as one often does) progressing towards a madhouse, one always finds, on inquiry, that they have just had a splendid escape from another madhouse. Thus, hundreds of people become Socialists, not because they have tried Socialism and found it nice, but because they have tried Individualism and found it particularly nasty. Thus, many embrace Christian Science solely because they are quite sick of heathen science; they are so tired of believing that everything is matter that they will even take refuge in the revolting fable that everything is mind. Man ought to march somewhere. But modern man (in his sick reaction) is ready to march nowhere — so long as it is the Other End of Nowhere.
-Alarms and Discursions (1910)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Idleness

[...] idleness is not, as is idly supposed, an empty thing. Idleness can be, and should be, a particularly full thing. [...] Idleness, or leisure [...] is indeed our opportunity of seeing the vision of all things, our royal audience for hearing [...] the stories of all created things. In that hour, if we know how to use it, the [tree] tells its story to us, the stone in the road recites its memoirs, the lamp-post and the paling expatriate on their autobiographies. For as the most hideous nightmare in the world is an empty leisure, so the most enduring pleasure is a full leisure. We can defend ourselves, even on the Day of Judgment, if our work has been useless, with pleas of opportunity, competition, and inheritance. But we cannot look either God or devil in the face if our idleness has been useless.
-November 7, 1901, Daily News

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I have chosen the subject of the slavery of the mind because I believe many worthy people imagine I am myself a slave. The nature of my supposed slavery I need not name and do not propose specially to discuss. It is shared by every sane man when he looks up a train in Bradshaw. That is, it consists in thinking a certain authority reliable; which is entirely reasonable. Indeed it would be rather difficult to travel in every train to find out where it went. It would be still more difficult to go to the destination in order to discover whether it was safe to begin the journey. Suppose a wild scare arose that Bradshaw was a conspiracy to produce railway accidents, a man might still believe the Guide to be a Guide and the scare to be only a scare; but he would know of the existence of the scare. What I mean by the slavery of the mind is that state in which men do not know of the alternative. It is something which clogs the imagination, like a drug or a mesmeric sleep, so that a person cannot possibly think of certain things at all. It is not the state in which he says, “I see what you mean; but I cannot think that because I sincerely think this” (which is simply rational): it is one in which he has never thought of the other view; and therefore does not even know that he has never thought of it. Though I am not discussing here my own religion, I think it only right to say that its authorities have never had this sort of narrowness. You may condemn their condemnations as oppressive; but not in this sense as obscurantist. St. Thomas Aquinas begins his enquiry by saying in effect, “Is there a God? It would seem not, for the following reasons”; and the most criticised of recent Encyclicals always stated a view before condemning it. The thing I mean is a man’s inability to state his opponent’s view; and often his inability even to state his own.
-The Thing (1929)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Why is it that for the last two or three centuries the educated have been generally wrong and the uneducated relatively right? It seems to me that the cultivated class has been actually more practically and pertinaciously mischievous than the ignorant whom they attempted to instruct. The ignorant would actually have been better off without them. They have been examples not only of the blind leading the blind, but of the blind leading the merely short-sighted. What the educated man has generally done was to ram down everybody's throat some premature and priggish theory which he himself afterwards discovered to be wrong; so wrong that he himself generally recoiled from it and went staggering to the opposite extreme. Meanwhile, the ignorant man reacted differently, as soon as the theory had been rammed down his throat, by practically demonstrating that it made him sick. Such a reaction is purely instinctive, but it indicates a condition of health.
-August 9, 1924, Illustrated London News

Monday, October 15, 2018

Then I suddenly saw, as in one obvious picture, that the modern world is an immense and tumultuous ocean, full of monstrous and living things. And I saw that across the top of it is spread a thin, a very thin, sheet of ice, of wicked wealth and of lying journalism.
-Tremendous Trifles (1909)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

This is the arresting and dominant fact about modern social discussion; that the quarrel is not merely about the difficulties, but about the aim. We agree about the evil; it is about the good that we should tear each other's eyes out. We all admit that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing. We should not by any means all admit that an active aristocracy would be a good thing. We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood; but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one. Everyone is indignant if our army is weak, including the people who would be even more indignant if it were strong. The social case is exactly the opposite of the medical case. We do not disagree, like doctors, about the precise nature of the illness, while agreeing about the nature of health. On the contrary, we all agree that England is unhealthy, but half of us would not look at her in what the other half would call blooming health . Public abuses are so prominent and pestilent that they sweep all generous people into a sort of fictitious unanimity. We forget that, while we agree about the abuses of things, we should differ very much about the uses of them. Mr. Cadbury and I would agree about the bad public house. It would be precisely in front of the good public-house that our painful personal fracas would occur.

I maintain, therefore, that the common sociological method is quite useless: that of first dissecting abject poverty or cataloguing prostitution. We all dislike abject poverty; but it might be another business if we began to discuss independent and dignified poverty. We all disapprove of prostitution; but we do not all approve of purity. The only way to discuss the social evil is to get at once to the social ideal. We can all see the national madness; but what is national sanity? I have called this book "What Is Wrong with the World?" and the upshot of the title can be easily and clearly stated. What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right.
-What's Wrong With the World (1910)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

[...] public education has not produced an educated public.
-February 8, 1936, Illustrated London News-
[H/T to GKC Daily]

Friday, October 12, 2018

We are never oppressed by old things; it is recent things that can really oppress.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)