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.




Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"...It is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black."

Now, those who are acquainted with philosophy (nay, religion) which is typified in the art of drawing on brown paper, know that white is positive and essential. I cannot avoid remarking here on a moral significance. One of the wise and awful truths which this brown-paper art reveals, is this, that white is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen. Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.

Tremendous Trifles (1909)

2 comments:

Nicky said...

:) I love this way of thinking.

Instead of virtues being the ABSENCE of a wrong, they are instead the fullness of a right. Or, at least, that's how my brain ordered it.

The reason the 'white' is so stark and so vivid is because it is not common. The common colors blur into one and become so familiar that we hardly see them. But then the white comes along and it's so brilliant and so different that we wince away from it. It hurts the eyes.

Phew, I need to stop sharing how my brain ordered this little excerpt!!! Or I'm going to end up in a circle.

Mike said...

Instead of virtues being the ABSENCE of a wrong, they are instead the fullness of a right. Or, at least, that's how my brain ordered it.

Exactly!

Phew, I need to stop sharing how my brain ordered this little excerpt!!! Or I'm going to end up in a circle.

:-)

BTW, have you ever read anything by Chesterton?