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)



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"The strong words are all put in; the chain of thought is left out."

Chesterton on the reporting of speeches; I think the Pope can relate...lol.

Surely the art of reporting speeches is in a strange state of degeneration. We should not object, perhaps, to the reporter’s making the speeches much shorter than they are; but we do object to his making all the speeches much worse than they are. And the method which he employs is one which is dangerously unjust. When a statesman or philosopher makes an important speech, there are several courses which the reporter might take without being unreasonable. Perhaps the most reasonable course of all would be not to report the speech at all. Let the world live and love, marry and give in marriage, without that particular speech, as they did (in some desperate way) in the days when there were no newspapers. A second course would be to report a small part of it; but to get that right. A third course, far better if you can do it, is to understand the main purpose and argument of the speech, and report that in clear and logical language of your own. In short, the three possible methods are, first, to leave the man’s speech alone; second, to report what he says or some complete part of what he says; and third, to report what he means. But the present way of reporting speeches (mainly created, I think, by the scrappy methods of the Daily Mail) is something utterly different from both these ways, and quite senseless and misleading.

 The present method is this: the reporter sits listening to a tide of words which he does not try to understand, and does not, generally speaking, even try to take down; he waits until something occurs in the speech which for some reason sounds funny, or memorable, or very exaggerated, or, perhaps, merely concrete; then he writes it down and waits for the next one. If the orator says that the Premier is like a porpoise in the sea under some special circumstances, the reporter gets in the porpoise even if he leaves out the Premier. If the orator begins by saying that Mr. Chamberlain is rather like a violoncello, the reporter does not even wait to hear why he is like a violoncello. He has got hold of something material, and so he is quite happy. The strong words are all put in; the chain of thought is left out. If the orator uses the word “donkey,” down goes the word “donkey.” If the orator uses the word “damnable,” down goes the word “damnable.” They follow each other so abruptly in the report that it is often hard to discover the fascinating fact as to what was damnable or who was being compared with a donkey. And the whole line of argument in which these things occurred is entirely lost.

-All Things Considered (1908)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Politicians...seldom suffer, indeed, from a bigoted fixity of conviction

-April. 21, 1923, Illustrated London News

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"If people are especially horrified at the failure of Christian practice, it must be an indirect compliment to the Christian creed."

Most Christians fail to fulfill the Christian ideal. This bitter and bracing fact cannot be too much insisted upon in this and every other moral question. But, perhaps, it might be suggested that this failure is not so much the failure of Christians in connection with the Christian ideal as the failure of any men in connection with any ideal. That Christians are not always Christian is obvious; neither are Liberals always liberal, nor Socialists always social, nor Humanitarians always kind, nor Rationalists always rational, nor are gentlemen always gentle, nor do working men always work. If people are especially horrified at the failure of Christian practice, it must be an indirect compliment to the Christian creed.

-February 13, 1906, Daily News

(quoted in Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Gilbert)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 8, 1906, Illustrated London News

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"...it is not really so much a question of access to the facts, as of attitude to the facts."

It is true that, in most other cases, there was a certain limitation to the data of medieval science; but this certainly had nothing to do with medieval religion. For the data of Aristotle, and the great Greek civilisation, were in many ways more limited still. But it is not really so much a question of access to the facts, as of attitude to the facts. Most of the Schoolmen, if informed by the only informants they had that a unicorn has one horn or a salamander lives in the fire, still used it more as an illustration of logic than an incident of life. What they really said was, "If a Unicorn has one horn, two unicorns have as many horns as one cow." And that has not one inch the less a fact because the unicorn is a fable. But with Albertus in medieval times, as with Aristotle in ancient times, there did begin something like the idea of emphasising the question: "But does the unicorn only have one horn or the salamander a fire instead of a fireside?" Doubtless when the social and geographical limits of medieval life began to allow them to search the fire for salamanders or the desert for unicorns, they had to modify many of their scientific ideas. A fact which will expose them to the very proper scorn of a generation of scientists which has just discovered that Newton is nonsense, that space is limited, and that there is no such thing as an atom.
-St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox (1933)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"There is one very vile habit that the pedants have, and that is explaining to a man why he does a thing which the man himself can explain quite well- and quiet differently."

There is one very vile habit that the pedants have, and that is explaining to a man why he does a thing which the man himself can explain quite well- and quiet differently. If I go down on all-fours to find sixpence, it annoys me to be told by a passing biologist that I am really doing it because my remote ancestors were quadrupeds. I concede that he knows all about biology, or even a great deal about my ancestors; but I know he is wrong, because he does not know about the sixpence. If I climb a tree after a stray cat, I am unconvinced when a stray anthropologist tells me that I am doing it because I am essentially arboreal and barbaric. I happen to know why I am doing it; and I know it is because I am amiable and somewhat over-civilised. Scientists will talk to a man on general guess-work about things that they know no more about than about his pocket-money or his pet cat. Religion is one of them, and all the festivals and formalities that are rooted in religion. Thus a man will tell me that in keeping Christmas I am not keeping a Christian feast, but a pagan feast. This is exactly as if he told me that I was not feeling furiously angry, but only a little sad. I know how I am feeling all right; and why I am feeling it. I know this in the case of cats, sixpences, anger, and Christmas Day. When a learned man tells me that on the 25th of December I am really astronomically worshiping the sun, I answer that I am not. I am practicing a particular personal religion, the pleasures of which (right or wrong) are not in the least astronomical. If he says that the cult of Christmas and the cult of Apollo are the same, I answer that they are utterly different; and I ought to know, for I have held both of them. I believed in Apollo when I was quite little; and I believe in Christmas now that I am very, very big.

Let us not take with such smooth surrender these tenth-truths at tenth hand, such as the phrase that Christmas is pagan in origin. Let us note exactly how much it really means. It amounts, so far as our knowledge goes, solely to this- that primitive Scandinavians did hold a feast in mid-winter. What the dickens else could primitive Scandinavians do, especially in winter? That they put on the largest log in winter: do the professors expect such simple pagans to put on the largest log in summer? It amounts to this, again- that many tribes have either worshiped the sun or (more probably) compared some god or hero to the sun. Just so many a poet has compared his lady to the sun-without by any means intending that she was a Solar Myth. Thus, by talking a great deal about the solar solstice, it can be maintained that Christmas is a sort of sun-worship; to all of which the simple answer is that it feels quite different. If people profess to feel 'the spirit' behind symbols, the first thing I expect of them that they shall feel how opposite are the adoration of the sun and the following of the star
-The Spirit of Christmas (1984)

Friday, December 5, 2014

"...extending the powers of the law means something entirely different from extending the powers of the public."

People seem to forget that in a society where power goes with wealth and where wealth is in an extreme state of inequality, extending the powers of the law means something entirely different from extending the powers of the public. They seem to forget that there is a great deal of difference between what laws define and what laws do. A poor woman in a poor public-house was broken with a ruinous fine for giving a child a sip of shandy-gaff. Nobody supposed that the law verbally stigmatised the action for being done by a poor person in a poor public-house. But most certainly nobody will dare to pretend that a rich man giving a boy a sip of champagne would have been punished so heavily--or punished at all.
-Divorce Versus Democracy (1916)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A preposition, I may remark in passing, is about the best thing in the world to end a sentence with. This is what we call practising what we preach.

-February 17, 1906, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"...a town must be more poetical than the country."

...for there is one respect in which a town must be more poetical than the country, since it is closer to the spirit of man; for London, if it be not one of the masterpieces of man, is at least one of his sins. A street is really more poetical than a meadow, because a street has a secret. A street is going somewhere, and a meadow nowhere.
-The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Nothing is so hard on the world as the world."

Nothing is so hard on the world as the world. Generally, in comparison, there has been much more mercy and moderation in the Church. Nothing is more inhuman than humanity itself to human habits, affections or weaknesses, when they happen to be unpopular for particular reasons at a particular moment; and they are likely to be more ruthlessly treated by a craze than a by a creed...man left to himself is a victim of moods. This mood of prohibition is always a mood of compulsion, of conquest and the cleansing of the earth of every trace of the temporarily detested thing; that sort of man must always crush the human world in order to sift it.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

"...men often dislike pomp or splendour because they are not simple enough to like it."

I will leave the True Christian to labour a very obvious contrast between St. Peter's and St. Peter. Simon Peter was probably a simple man; but men often dislike pomp or splendour because they are not simple enough to like it. No notes were made at the time about the great Fisherman's taste in architecture, his friends being otherwise employed on matters which they (being also simple men) fancied to be more urgent. But if he had any particular admiration for any particular building, I should say he is as likely as not to have been thrilled, in a deplorably theatrical manner, by the florid Corinthian magnificence of the Herodian Temple. And if tomorrow morning a Neapolitan fisherman, fresh from the nets and in exactly the same childlike spirit as Simon of Galilee, made his first journey from the sea to Rome, I strongly suspect that he would throw up his hands in wonder as Michael Angelo intended him to do. For all art is sensational, since it aims at producing some sort of sensation. There are other examples of the fact that the simple may see subtle things, even after the subtle have so long lectured and laid down the law about rather simple things.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)