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.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"The question of miracles is not one of physical science; it is obviously, by its nature, purely one of philosophical belief."

The question of miracles is not one of physical science; it is obviously, by its nature, purely one of philosophical belief. There can be no such thing as a proof from physical science that the order of Nature is rigid, or necessarily recurrent; for obviously, the study of things in the order can prove nothing about whether there is anything out of the order. A man who says that he has learnt from science that water cannot be changed into wine might just as well say that he had learnt from Blackstone's commentaries on the Laws of England that a burglary cannot occur in Fulham. The mere repetition of anything cannot prove, however incessant, that the repetition is destined to go on. Only if we know the reason of the repetition can we know that.
-October 8, 1904, Daily News

Friday, April 21, 2017

"It was never allowed to be enough of a success to be properly called a failure."

[Chesterton, writing in the aftermath of WWI, but which seems applicable in a large degree a century later as well, and something for the Church to keep in mind...]

[...] any good movement will do most good not by embracing the world, but by attacking the world. If it is to end by converting everybody, it must not begin by including everybody.

The modern world was not made by its religion, but rather in spite of its religion. Religion has produced evils of its own; but the special evils which we now suffer began with its breakdown. Nor do I mean religion merely in an ideal, but strictly in a historical sense. The cruel competition of classes went with the abandonment of charity- not merely of the primitive theory of charity, but of the medieval practice of charity. The colossal evil of cosmopolitan finance came with a new toleration of usury. The Prussian superman, the supreme product of modern immoralism, arose through a denial not merely of the mystical humility of Christian saints, but of the ordinary modesty of Christian men. The wickedness that led up to the war may be called, if anyone likes to put it so, the failure of Christianity. But it was it's failure to rule, not its failure to rule well. It was never allowed to be enough of a success to be properly called a failure. All the actual causes- Colonial expansion, scientific warfare, industrial development, racial theories, even journalism- were all things which the modern mind has made in its reaction from the old religion [...] It has not made modernity- it has not that on its conscience. Its only spiritual justification, and its obvious social strategy, is to attack modernity. It ought to show, as it really could show, that social evils have not come from its presence, but rather from its absence. So far from insisting on its power, it ought rather to insist on its impotence. So far from claiming to be obeyed, it ought to claim to have been disobeyed. So far from assuming indefinite numbers of men as belonging to it, it ought to note the enormous numbers of men who fail by not belonging to it. In short, to recur to the original text, it ought not to be content with all the people who will consent or condescend to call themselves something. It ought to lead them into the way of truth. For any movement to do this, of course, is it necessary for it to have a truth to lead them to.
-July 12, 1919, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inspector Morse

I know nothing about this series, but....
“Endeavour”:This series has a long literary bloodline. It’s based on the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter, an Oxford classics scholar who, after moving into a career in educational testing, decided to entertain himself on a rainy day by writing novels.
Too bad for Oxford classics students, too good for the rest of us. Dexter’s Morse is an Oxford-educated detective with a love of beer and opera and a massive disdain for snooty and murderous professors.

Dexter’s novels turned into 33 Inspector Morse episodes, starring the great British actor John Thaw as Morse. Kevin Whately played his blue-collar Yorkshire sidekick Robbie Lewis. Then Morse died, both in the books and in the series, and an Inspector Lewis series was launched, also starring Whately and Laurence Fox as Lewis’ young, Cambridge-educated (here’s mud in your eye!) counterpart. That series is still going on KCTS 9 and through streaming services, and available through checkout at the libraries.

Still with me? Good. The series “Endeavour” goes back to Morse’s youth, as the incomparably dishy Shaun Evans plays the young Morse. All these shows feature complicated plots, atmospheric Oxford settings, terrible crimes and a gorgeous soundtrack by the composer Barrington Pheloung, who has hung on through all three series. Fun inside fact: the young Morse’s boss Fred Thursday is named after the book “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G.K. Chesterton, the creator of “Father Brown.”


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"How to Help Our Fellows"

[Excerpts from an article called "How to Help Our Fellows" which was republished in the Kalgoorlie Miner, January 29, 1907]

If we want to help our fellows, there is one broad necessity which seems to come before anything else, and that is that we should recognise that they are our fellows. This is not recognised in the modern world; probably on the whole it is less recognised than it has ever been before; probably it is less recognised than it was in many slave holding States. That I recognise a man is my fellow does not mean that I recognise that he is to be pitied, or that his condition should be improved for the sake of posterity, or that in my particular politics it is arranged that he shall have a vote. It means that I have fellowship with him. It means that I can say to him naturally and with social sincerity "my dear fellow." Pity is not fellowship. Philanthropy is not fellowship. Social reform is not fellowship. I pity a wounded rabbit; but I have no fellowship with him. I should like to improve a mad elephant, but I am not so hypocritical as to pretend that I wish to drink and sing and talk through the night and tell all my secrets to a mad elephant. I feel philanthropic towards a wounded worm, but I never feel an impulse to slap him on the back and say "my dear fellow." Now the trouble with the whole modern world is that this fundamental faculty of fellowship, of being able to live with all kinds of men, and talk with all kinds of men, has probably never been at a lower ebb than it is to-day. It is quite possible that there is more compassion than there ever was. It is quite certain that there is less fellowship than there ever was. [...]

Before all discussion, therefore, on the right way of thinking about the poor, this is the first thing to be registered; that we are thinking about the poor. In a real democracy it would be the poor who would be thinking about us. That scientific solemnity with which we speak of the poor; that air of an abstract argument which is not likely to be interrupted; that secure and placid discussion of the poor  [...] all this means first and last, the entire absence of fellowship.[...]

Now public institutions are very righteous things upon this assumption always, that they are really public. The trouble with most of these things in the modern world is that they are not in the proper sense public: they do not represent the whole or the great preponderance of the community [...] And it must be remembered that the case is definitely worse than it was in times less formally democratic. Then the leaders of the people may have had an unjust preponderance, but they were leaders of the people in so far that they were like the people. The populace may have had a small part to play compared with the aristocrats, but what part they played was sincerely and spontaneously with the aristocrats. But the life and energy in our modern institutes is all definitely against the actual popular feeling.[...]

 I am not saying that [the poor man] is right, but I am saying that it is highly undemocratic to assume that he is wrong. And the modern world does assume that he is wrong; it assumes that he is wrong because he is ignorant. That is, it assumes that he is wrong because he is poor. That is, it assumes that he is wrong because he is the majority of mankind.

Therefore, while I, like everybody else, have my own notions of an ideal society, and what I should do for the poor, I am quite convinced that the first step of all is to cultivate fellowship, not as a political but as a psychological condition. Let the modern world get over its present violent and inexpugnable prejudice against all the opinions of the poor [...] let us take these views as the serious opinions of our fellows, of those who are our equals in essentials, our inferiors in certain forms of study, our superiors in many forms of experience. Let us consider whether it is really only they who are ignorant of science [...] Let us in a word, if we wish to do good to our fellows, cultivate intellectual fellowship, or if we cannot do this there is one further piece of advice I can offer. Let you and I and the rest of the idealistic middle-class suddenly stop talking. And in the awful silence which follows let us listen to what the charwoman in the Walworth-road really has to say.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Common sense and the higher mysteries lie very close together. It is the fact that they are frequently and even continually absent simultaneously from the same person.
-quoted in The Newsletter: An Australian Paper for Australian People June 11, 1904

Friday, April 7, 2017

[..] the modern editor regards himself far too much as a kind of original artist, who can select and suppress facts with the arbitrary ease of a poet or a caricaturist. He "makes up" the paper as man "makes up" a fairy tale, he considers his newspapers solely as a work of art, meant to give pleasure, not to give news.
-All Things Considered (1908)