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.




Monday, December 9, 2013

RUBBISH

This title, however true, is not a mere explosion of my literary modesty. It refers, not solely to the article itself, but also to a superb pile of wood, straw, tar, paper and every random substance which is erected in a field just beyond the end of my garden. It is, as you may guess, a Coronation bonfire; but we remote rustics have to write our articles months, so to speak, before the actual Coronation, and the pile is at present, unfinished and indeed deficient. I have ransacked house and garden for some time to find rubbish to assist the conflagration; and my eye has suddenly fallen on a pile of fine old quarterlies, works on agnosticism, etc. These I am carrying across to the bonfire. Do not fancy that when I speak of rubbish, I mean only the things that I dislike. I mean a particular kind of vagueness and verbiage which must be cut away and cleared before a man can deal with his real adversaries. I do not call Socialism rubbish; I call it a very powerful, plausible and dangerous drug. I do not call Imperialism rubbish; I call it poison. But I do call ‘true Imperialism’ rubbish and ‘true Socialism’ rubbish, for they amount to nothing more than a mild Pharisaism about one’s own marvellous merit in loving one’s country or being sorry for the poor. Nor would I treat as rubbish anything, however alien or fantastic, which had a positive significance of any sort. I would not throw into my bonfire the Crown of France or the Koran or the Lord’s Day Observance Act or the Stuart tartan. I should not see mere rubbish in things that meant something, even if we cannot now decipher what it was, as in obscure and perhaps frightful figures and legends that crumble on Assyrian bas-reliefs in Bloomsbury, or in that ring of rock that stands over Salisbury Plain like stones in the crown of some primordial king of giants. Nor again would I class as rubbish (in this sense) those other examples in which we can decipher the statements and see that they are untrue; as in the case of the Monument in Fish Street or the scientific works of Mr Haeckel.

But I mean things that never meant anything; I mean the statesmanlike pronouncements, the wide outlooks and the well-considered conclusions; I mean whole shelves of Hansard and whole stacks of the Higher Thought Review; all the leading articles that oscillate faintly between two unimportant opinions; all the public speakers who are ‘far from saying’ this or ‘the last to say’ that; all the servile compromises justified by ‘evolution’; all the things that ‘every thoughtful man’ is supposed to think; all the things ‘modern ideas’ are supposed somehow or other to involve; all the owlishly stupid ‘rebukes’ and ‘severe comments’ uttered by judges and statesmen in utterly artificial wrath against utterly insignificant things; all the streams of sentimentalism poured out when you turn the tap, in defence of the dirtiest convenience or the dullest hack politics; all the consciousness of the solemnity of the responsibility, all the realization of the reality of the tendency; in short, all that grows in that wilderness of pride and folly, where pomposity grows like tall grass and polysyllables crawl about like caterpillars...

But I must break off; because I have to carry all my modern problem novels and books of philosophy and high-class quarterly magazines across to the bonfire beyond the end of my garden.

-Daily News, June 24th, 1911
Quoted in The Man Who Was Orthodox" A Selection from the Uncollected Writings of G. K. Chesterton, collected by A.L. Maycock (1963

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