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.




Friday, May 25, 2012

"A faith is that which is able to survive a mood."

If anyone wishes to listen to the words of a man who in the most final sense is not a sceptic, here are [Hamlet's] words:

This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

Oddly enough I have heard this passage quoted as a pessimistic passage. It is, perhaps, the most optimistic passage in all human literature. It is the absolute expression of the ultimate fact of the faith of Hamlet; his faith that, although he cannot see the world is good, yet certainly it is good; his faith that, though he cannot see man as the image of God, yet certainly he is the image of God. The modern, like the modern conception of Hamlet, believes only in mood. But the real Hamlet, like the Catholic Church, believes in reason. Many fine optimists have praised man when they felt like praising him. Only Hamlet has praised man when he felt like kicking him as a monkey of the mud. Many poets, like Shelley and Whitman, have been optimistic when they felt optimistic. Only Shakespeare has been optimistic when he felt pessimistic. This is the the definition of a faith. A faith is that which is able to survive a mood. And Hamlet had this from first to last....

If Hamlet had been a sceptic he would have had an easy life. He would not have known that his moods were moods. He would have called them Pessimism or Materialism, or some silly name. But Hamlet was a great soul, great enough to know that he was not the world. He knew that there was a truth beyond himself, therefore he believed readily in things most unlike himself, in Horatio and his ghost. All through his story we can read his conviction that he is wrong. And that to a clear mind like his is only another way of stating that there is something that is right. The real sceptic never thinks he is wrong; for the real sceptic does not think that there is any wrong. He sinks through floor after floor of a bottomless universe. But Hamlet was the very reverse of a sceptic. He was a thinker.

-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

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