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.




Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bunnicula and GKC

Being admittedly culturally illiterate (definitely as regards pop culture), I have never heard of the children's book series Bunnicula, but recently I read that there is a GKC connection involving that series, and Wikipedia seems to confirm that. Concerning one of the characters in that series, Chester, Wikipedia states on the page for the book series:
Chester – The highly imaginative, prideful Orange tabby who loves good literature and milk. He was given to Mr. Monroe as a birthday present, and the name "Chester" was derived from G. K. Chesterton.
In addition, apparently a cartoon series based on the books have also been made, appearing on Cartoon Network and Boomerang, and the character who voiced "Chester" was Sean Astin.

I always find it interesting to see references to GKC in such diverse places.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

We know what is meant by saying that the Church is merely conservative and the modern world progressive. It means that the Church is always continuous and the heresies always contradictory.
-The Well and the Shallows (1935)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

While the modern public, with a kind of crude courage and good-will, build schools and more schools, and yet more schools, votes grants, and more grants, and yet more grants, serves out education to everyone everywhere as if education were something as plain and homogeneous as so much cheese, inquirers of the type of Miss [Charlotte] Mason are studying the first principles of education on which the good or ill of all this action rests with a care that may be called laboriousness and a calm that might almost be called scepticism. The contrast between the two spirits is odd and a little disquieting. The slow and deliberate theories are embodied in educational articles. The hasty and fleeting theories are embodied in enormous buildings of brick and stone. The more tested and less doubtful doctrines are printed in books which scarcely anybody reads. The less tested and doubtful theories are embodied in acts of Parliament that everybody has to obey. Nothing can breed more strange doubts in the mind that the contemplation of so much responsibility in private and so much frivolity in public. We hear little but derision directed towards the old fathers and heresiarchs, who tore theories to shreds before they would proceed to the smallest practical reform, but if there be little doubt that they erred on one side I fancy there is even less doubt that we err on the other. No doubt it is a very legitimate and beautiful object to proceed rapidly from theory to execution; but to rush at the execution and then go on to theory is not legitimate or beautiful; but it is the indwelling principle of modern politics and modern education. It is very fine to aim at having a thing established a week after it has been discovered to be good. But the aim of many advanced persons to-day is to have a thing established a week before it is discovered to be bad.
-May 13, 1905, Daily News

Monday, May 28, 2018

Military men are seldom militarists.
-September 11, 1915, Illustrated London News

Sunday, May 27, 2018

We shall never return to social sanity till we begin at the beginning. We must start where all history starts, with a man and a woman, and a child [...] As it is, we begin where history ends, or, rather, where disjointed journalism ends. We stop suddenly with the accidental truncation of today's news; and judge everything by the particular muddle of the moment. Ours is a sociology of snapshots; and snapshots always fix human figures in postures not only silly but stiff.
-May 3, 1919, Illustrated London News

Saturday, May 26, 2018

In modern times we have had a vast increase in the sort of education that the ignorant can impose and a vast decrease in the sort of instruction that only the instructed can provide. The politician, who merely declares that so many thousand copies of such and such standard works shall be distributed to such and such schools, is in that exact sense an ignorant man. The agricultural labourer, who shows his son how to use a pruning-hook, is in that exact sense a learned man.
-G.K.C. as M.C. (1929)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mr. Archer does not seem to understand laughing at one's own ideals. If our ideals have once endured our laughter they can endure all the laughter of our enemies [...] Being funny has nothing to do with being untrue or undesirable. I think it funny to put food into one's mouth; but I have no intention of discontinuing the habit.
-September 14, 1907, Daily News

Thursday, May 24, 2018

An old interview with Larry Norman from 2005, the "Father of Jesus Rock" music, and the former brother-in-law of Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society:

http://www.alivingdog.com/LarryInt2.html

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The sort of sentiment I want the politicians to study, not without tears, took some such form as this: "Beware of Luxury, the eternal enemy of Liberty." The old friends of freedom never tired of insisting, in what seems to some a turgid and florid manner, on the necessity of simplicity in the life of a champion of the people. The pleasures of the court were for the courtier. The tribune must know nothing between the field and the forum [...] one truth, vivid to every friend of freedom a hundred years ago, has now become a blind spot on the brain. It is no longer Liberty against Luxury, but Liberty for the sake of Luxury. The result is a corruption that eats out the heart of representative government.
-March 3, 1928, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

It is simply an unchanging quality in the nature of man that he is fickle, moody, and one-sided; that he stresses now one point in morals and now another, neglects one virtue and then goes on in progressive triumph to neglect another; that he is overpowered by whatever is recent and generally ignorant of what is remote; and, above all, that he mistakes experience for existence, and supposes that what he sees is all that there is to see. There certainly is in human nature this changing quality; and it is an unchanging quality.
-June 9, 1934, Illustrated London News

Monday, May 21, 2018

A self-conscious simplicity may well be far more intrinsically ornate than luxury itself. Indeed, a great deal of the pomp and sumptuousness of the world’s history was simple in the truest sense.  It was born of an almost babyish receptiveness; it was the work of men who had eyes to wonder and men who had ears to hear.
-The Common Man (1950)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

For after all, blame is itself a compliment. It is a compliment because it is an appeal; and an appeal to a man as a creative artist making his soul. To say to a man, "rascal" or "villain" in ordinary society may seem abrupt; but it is also elliptical. It is an abbreviation of a sublime spiritual apostrophe for which there may be no time in our busy social life. When you meet a millionaire, the cornerer of many markets, out at dinner in Mayfair, and greet him (as is your custom) with the exclamation "Scoundrel!" you are merely shortening for convenience some such expression as: "How can you, having the divine spirit of man that might be higher than the angels, drag it down so far as to be a scoundrel?" When you are introduced at a garden party to a Cabinet Minister who takes tips on Government contracts, and when you say to him in the ordinary way "Scamp!" you are merely using the last word of a long moral disquisition; which is in effect, "How pathetic is the spiritual spectacle of this Cabinet Minister, who being from the first made glorious by the image of God, condescends so far to lesser ambitions as to allow them to turn him into a scamp." It is a mere taking of the tail of a sentence to stand for the rest; like saying 'bus for omnibus. It is even more like the case of that seventeenth century Puritan whose name was something like "If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned, Higgins"; but who was, for popular convenience, referred to as "Damned Higgins." But it is obvious, anyhow, that when we call a man a coward, we are in so doing asking him how he can be a coward when he could be a hero. When we rebuke a man for being a sinner, we imply that he has the powers of a saint.
-Fancies Versus Fads (1923)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

[...] tradition, if it exists at all, is always much fresher and more forcible than anything else [...]
-The Spirit of Christmas (1984)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Those modern theologians who insist that Christianity is not in doctrines, but in spirit, commonly fail to notice that they are exposing themselves to a test more abrupt and severe than that of doctrine itself. Some legal preliminaries at least are necessary before a man can be burned for his opinions; but without any preliminaries at all a man can be shot for his tone of voice.
-The Spirit of Christmas (1984)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

For though to-day is always to-day and the moment is always modern, we are the only men in all history who fell back upon bragging about the mere fact that to-day is not yesterday. I fear that some in the future will explain it by saying that we had precious little else to brag about.
-All I Survey (1933)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pride is not only only an enemy to instruction. Pride is an enemy to amusement. The main lesson of St. Francis of Assisi is this idea of an almost fantastic self-effacement corresponding to an almost fantastic pleasure.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

[...] melancholy is a frivolous thing compared with the seriousness of joy. Melancholy is negative, it has to do with trivialities like death: joy is positive and has to answer for the renewal and perpetuation of being. Melancholy is irresponsible; it could watch the universe fall to pieces: joy is responsible and upholds the universe in the void of space.
-June 11, 1901, Daily News

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A man should be always tied to his mother’s apron strings; he should always have a hold on his childhood, and be ready at intervals to start anew from a childish standpoint.  Theologically the thing is best expressed by saying, “You must be born again.” Secularly it is best expressed by saying, “You must keep your birthday.” Even if you will not be born again, at least remind yourself occasionally that you were born once.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Queen Elizabeth II and GKC

Just as a follow-up to an earlier post, here is a picture of the then Princess Elizabeth's sitting room at her home Clarence House (about 1950), in which hung on the wall the preliminary sketch for Sir James Gunn's "The Conversation Piece", featuring G.K. Chesterton and his friends Hilaire Belloc and Maurice Baring. It is located to the right of the fireplace.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, Princess Elizabeth had received it from Sir Jame Gunn as a wedding present in 1947, and as Joseph Pearce notes
The future Queen replied on 16 December to offer "our most sincere thanks for the delightful picture of Mr. Chesterton, Mr. Belloc and Mr. Maurice Baring...I think it perfectly charming, and much look forward to hanging it in my house."
As we see, apparently she did exactly that. :-)


The picture, incidentally, is from the book Clarence House by Christopher Hussey (1950), from the plate opposite of p. 76. It is also the picture which appeared on the dust jacket (albeit the dust jacket of the edition I recieved was, naturally, not in as great of condition as the picture in the book itself, so I chose to use the latter).
There was a Victorian epoch when the caricaturists were supposed to caricature the politicians. Now the politicians are caricaturing their own caricatures. Hence it will probably be found that all our ablest artists, in this manner, will grow more and more frantic and farcical, more and more incredible and crazy. They are trying to keep pace with our statesmen and social philosophers.
G.K.C. as M.C. (1929)

Friday, May 11, 2018

The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say.
-April 22, 1905, Daily News

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The decay of society was praised by artists as the decay of a corpse is praised by worms.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The modern world is full of fantastic forms of animal worship; a religion generally accompanied with human sacrifice. Yet we hear strangely little of the real merits of animals; and one of them surely is this innocence of all boredom; perhaps such simplicity is the absence of sin.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

I am not certain we have wholly gained by losing liberty, equality, and fraternity; and substituting, for the first two, a strange blend of license and uniformity; and for fraternity, only peace.
-March 16, 1935, Illustrated London News

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The greatness of Homer consists in the fact that he could make men feel, what they were already quite ready to think, that life is a strange mystery in which a hero may err and another hero may fail. The poet makes men realize how great are the great emotions which they, in a smaller way, have already experienced [...] The great poet exists to show the small man how great he is.
-Chesterton on Shakespeare (1971)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Now this is the attitude which I attack. It is the huge heresy of Precedent. It is the view that because we have got into a mess we must grow messier to suit it; that because we have taken a wrong turn some time ago we must go forward and not backwards; that because we have lost our way we must lose our map also; and because we have missed our ideal, we must forget it.
-What's Wrong With the World (1910)

Friday, May 4, 2018

I believe less in the State because I know more of the statesmen.
-The Catholic Church and Conversion (1927)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

We have passed the age of the demagogue, the man who has little to say and says it loud. We have come to the age of the mystagogue or don, the man who has nothing to say, but says it softly and impressively in an indistinct whisper.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I believe in the universal extension of rights, but not in the universal extension of privileges.
-March 12, 1910, Daily News

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Queen Elizabeth II and GKC

I came across an interesting book last night I had never heard of before, and which I was able to purchase. It is called the

Princess Elizabeth Gift Book

As one can tell from the title, it is associated with "Princess Elizabeth" (who is, of course, now Queen Elizabeth II). It was published in 1935, and was a collaborative effort of many famous authors of the day in producing a book intended as a fundraiser in aid of the Princess Elizabeth of York hospital for children. The Queen was 9 (I think) at the time of its publication, and doing some Googling, I read somewhere that it was the first book to which she had set her name. I also read that Rudyard Kipling wrote the last story he was ever to write as his contribution to the book (He died the next year, if I recall correctly).

In any case, what should not come as any surprise at all, the reason that I am mentioning this on this blog is that one of the contributors to the book was G.K. Chesterton. I find it interesting to find this "connection" of sorts between Queen Elizabeth and G.K. Chesterton. It is now the second "connection" I have found., the other being that one of the wedding gifts which Princess Elizabeth received in 1947 (from Sir James Gunn) were the preliminary sketches to the Conversation Piece. As Jospeh Pearce notes concerning the latter:
The future Queen replied on 16 December to offer "our most sincere thanks for the delightful picture of Mr. Chesterton, Mr. Belloc and Mr. Maurice Baring...I think it perfectly charming, and much look forward to hanging it in my house."
UPDATE: I just came across this information, related to the latter connection, found in a book review of a book on Clarence House (emphasis mine):
THIS sumptuously produced and beautifully illustrated volume contains "all ye need to know" about the home of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh (and that is perhaps more than loyal curiosity could have expected to be told about the borne of the Heir Apparent fifty years ago). Feeling rather like an inquisitive intruder on visitors' day, the reader is allowed to peer at the contents of most of the rooms in great detail—from the photographs on Princess Elizabeth's desk to the sensible fireguard in the nursery. The house has been furnished with unostentatious good taste, and is filled with treasures of all kinds. One of the few things a diffident visitor might be doubtful about is the brick-work in Her Royal Highness's sitting-room fireplace. Nearby hangs James Gunn's sketch for his "Conversation Piece" of Chesterton, Belloc and Baring: there are many other works by modern artists on the walls, and also an interesting Edinburgh scene by Alexander Nasmyth (1758-1840).
-The Spectator, February 3, 1950

 ANOTHER UPDATE: This post contains a picture of the sitting room at the then Princess Elizabeth's home, with the preliminary sketch of The Conversation Piece hanging on the wall: