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, May 8, 2013

"Books exist to produce emotions: if we are not moved by them we practically have not read them. If a real book has not touched us we might as well not have touched the book."

It is no disrespect to such able and interesting works as Professor Dillon's to say that they are only stages in an essentially endless process, the proper appreciation of one of the inexhaustible religious classics. None of them says the last word on Job, for the last word could only be said on the Last Day. For a great poem like Job is in this respect like life itself. The explanations are popular for a month or popular for a century. But they all fall. The unexplained thing is popular for ever. There are weaknesses in the Higher Criticism, as a general phenomenon, which are only gradually unfolding themselves. There are more defects or difficulties than would at first appear in the scientific treatment of Scripture. But after all the greatest defect in the scientific treatment of Scripture is simply that it is scientific. The professor of the Higher Criticism is never tired of declaring that he is detached, that he is disinterested, that he is concerned only with the facts, that he is applying to religious books the unbending methods which are employed by men of science towards the physical order. If what he says of himself is true, he must be totally unfitted to criticize any books whatever.

Books exist to produce emotions: if we are not moved by them we practically have not read them. If a real book has not touched us we might as well not have touched the book. In literature to be dispassionate is simply to be illiterate. To be disinterested is simply to be uninterested. The object of a book on comets, of course, is not to make us all feel like comets; but the object of a poem about warriors is to make us all feel like warriors. It is not merely true that the right method for one may be the wrong method for the other; it must be the wrong method for the other. A critic who takes a scientific view of the Book of Job is exactly like a surgeon who should take a poetical view of appendicitis: he is simply an old muddler.

It is said, of course, that this scientific quality is only applied to the actual facts, which are the department of science. But what are the actual facts? There are very few facts in connection with a work of literature which are really wholly apart from literary tact and grasp. That certain words are on a piece of parchment in a certain order science can say. Whether in that order they make sense or nonsense only literature can say. That in another place (say on a brick) the same words are in another order science can say. Whether it is a more likely order only literature can say. That on two bricks there is the same sentence science can say. Whether it is the sort of sentence one man would write on two bricks, or two men happen to write on their own respective bricks, only literature can say.

-September 9, 1905, The Speaker

No comments: