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.




Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"The real objection to murder, aesthetically speaking, is that it is uneconomical."

Economy is essentially imaginative because it is a realisation of the value of everything. The real objection to murder, aesthetically speaking, is that it is uneconomical. It is a failure in efficiency (I want to write that word down and look at it) to waste a whole man in order to procure a momentary emotion which is often disappointing. And the real objection to waste is that all waste is a kind of murder, a merely negative and destructive thing, the obliteration of something which we can neither value nor understand. We slay an uncle because we do not realise the strange dumb poetry of an uncle; we fling away a penny because we cannot realise the gorgeous possibilities of a penny. I have murdered many pennies, many trusting halfcrowns, in my life. For let it be clearly understood that I do not maintain for a moment that this poetry of economy is an easy thing for any of us to keep up. We tend to forget the poetry of pennies just as we tend to forget the poetry of skies and woods and great buildings, because we see them so often....

... But to throw away a penny is sheer lack of imagination; it means that the giver cannot realise even the meaning of a penny. It means that he forgets the first and most thrilling of all the lessons of the universe,the lessons of every seed and germ, the lesson of the infinite and terrible power that may be found in small things.....

....My bosom friend the Pessimist and I were standing outside a small toy shop, glueing our noses to the glass, when the long silence was broken by my remarking on the beauty of a solid stick of blue chalk, which was offered for sale (in some tempest of generosity) for a halfpenny.

`Have you considered,' I asked, `all that this stick of blue chalk means? For a halfpenny I am possessed of it. I go home at night under the stars, between dark walls and through mazy streets. I shall be free to write upon those walls beautiful or stern sentiments, arraigning the powers of the earth, and write them in the very colour of heaven. At home I may beguile the evening in a thousand innocent sports, designing barbaric patterns upon the new table-cloth, drawing dreamy and ideal landscapes upon the note-paper, decorating my own person in the manner of our British predecessors, sketching strange and ideal adventures for strange and ideal characters. And all this blue river of dreams is loosened by a halfpenny.'

The Pessimist replied, in his sad, stern way, `Drivel. It is only the blue chalk you buy for a halfpenny. You do not buy the stars for a halfpenny; you do not buy the streets for a halfpenny; you do not buy your dreams or your love of drawing or your tastes and imaginations for a halfpenny.'

`True,' I replied. `The stars and the dreams and myself are cheaper than chalk: for I bought them for nothing.'

He burst into tears and became immediately convinced of the basis of true religion. For our very word for God means Economy: is not improvidence the opposite of Providence?

[From an article originally published in The Speaker, on March 29, 1902]

-The Apostle and the Wild Ducks (1975)

No comments: