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, December 15, 2018

What is to be done with the dingy and inky little people who laboriously prove to us that Christianity (if they are atheists) or Catholicism (if they are Protestants) is "only" a rehash of Paganism or borrowed its ideas from the Pagans. A man standing here in Rome is reduced to silence; he can only answer that such stupidity is stupefying. It is rather as if somebody said that Science may pretend to be independent, but it has really stolen all its facts from Nature; or that Protestants professed to be Christians, and yet filched things from the sacred books of the Jews. Science boasts of being based on Nature; and Protestants, when they were Protestants, boasted of being based on the Bible [...] Science finds its facts in Nature, but Science is not Nature; because Science has co-ordinated ideas, interpretations and analyses; and can say of Nature what Nature cannot say for itself. The Faith finds its facts and problems in humanity, even heathen humanity; but the Faith is not merely humanity; because it brings to it principles of life and order and understanding, and comprehends humanity as humanity cannot comprehend itself [...]

The desire of all nations, the dream of all religions, the imaginative craving that in some way something heroic might save the sufferings that are human-that indeed existed everywhere and that was the need which the Gospel was sent to supply. But the need was not the same as the supply. And the supply was a supply of perfectly definite and even detailed moral and metaphysical ideas which nobody but a fool could possibly identify with myths. And the sceptic only makes a fool of himself, when he first complains that Catholic dogmas are dogmatic, that they are in their nature precise claims to a knowledge of unknowable things; and then pretends that he can find these very precise dogmas in the irresponsible and inconsistent fairyland of heathen mythology. If the Catholic doctrine of Christ is a hard, positive, inflexible, infallible dogma imposed on the intellect, then it most certainly is not like the Greek story of Hercules. Some may think theology a bad thing: but those believe in it naturally think it a good thing, and they are at least quite certain that the Pagans were never theologians. There never was a theology about Jupiter and Juno and Hercules. But if there was not a theology still less was there a theodicy, or any systematic attempt to justify the ways of gods to men.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Friday, December 14, 2018

For instance, if a man called Christmas Day a mere hypocritical excuse for drunkenness and gluttony that would be false, but it would have a fact hidden in it somewhere. But when Bernard Shaw says that Christmas Day is only a conspiracy kept up by poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives, then he says something which is not so much false as startlingly and arrestingly foolish. He might as well say that the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding rings.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"[T]he principal humour about a hippopotamus is that he exists."

[T]he only perfect pleasure in life is the pleasure of fighting for something in which one passionately believes, and [...] if that were left to me I would do without daylight and tobacco. I do think my own opinions very funny, but I also think them absolutely true. I think it very funny, for instance, that Mr. Kipling should be, as he is, psychologically incapable of a patriotic emotion and be, nevertheless, hailed everywhere as a patriotic poet. But I think it funny because I think it is the fact. The humour of it is like the humour of a hippopotamus; the principal humour about a hippopotamus is that he exists.
-October 10, 1903, Daily News

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

[T]he shortest cut to the practical is through the theoretical[.]
-July 28, 1906, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In that paralysis of the commonwealth which is called plutocracy, we allow powers intrinsically anti-social not to attack society, but rather to control it.
-October 28, 1916, Illustrated London News

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Luxury has become almost another name for politics."

But there was another element in the old Republican ideal, thus so swiftly and strangely ruined. This was the fact that it did originally denounce Luxury as the great enemy of Liberty [...] I need not attempt to measure the huge and ghastly reversal of all that in modern politics; in which so many liberals have been so very liberal to themselves. Luxury has become almost another name for politics; there is no world where it is so insolently assumed that money must fly on the most flying pleasures [...]  I am not Puritanical about these things; and I do not mind the pothouse politician nor grudge him his pot of beer. But I do remark that professional politics has got itself mixed up with a plutocratic orgy at the very opposite extreme from its original ideals. That excessive exorbitant ever-encroaching Luxury is the cause of three-quarters of the corruption that has rotted out the vitals of Parliamentary government. And when next we hear poor old Robespierre, or some rather priggish Republican, jeered at as a sentimental bore for saying that the Republic is founded on Virtue, and that it cannot endure without the simple and laborious worth of the Virtuous Man-let us look a little at the sequel and salute him; and admit that he was not so far wrong.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

For so much still lingers of that great dream of Jefferson and the thing that men have called Democracy that in his country, while the rich rule like tyrants, the poor do not talk like slaves; but there is candour between the oppressor and the oppressed.
-The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

[H]istory without tradition is dead.
-The Everlasting Man (1925)

Friday, December 7, 2018

[T]he sense of wonder is a virtue requiring religious cultivation. Astonishment is a tradition, like everything else. Cuttlefish never seem astonished. We require an ancient simplicity even in order to have a new surprise. And it is the traditional teaching of certain systematic duties, such as gratitude and humility, that makes all the difference even in the act of being startled. Certain moral ideas make all the difference between the boy who declares, with a shout, that a mountain is high and he who declares, with a sniff, it might have been higher.
-December 7, 1907, Daily News

Thursday, December 6, 2018

We can never conquer an evil influence till we have taken [account] of all its virtues.
-July 16, 1901, Daily News

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

[P]eople are losing the power to enjoy Christmas through identifying it with enjoyment. When once they lose sight of the old suggestion that it is all about something, they naturally fall into blank pauses of wondering what it is all about. To be told to rejoice on Christmas Day is reasonable and intelligible, if you understand the name, or even look at the word. To be told to rejoice on the twenty-fifth of December is like being told to rejoice at a quarter-past eleven on Thursday week. You cannot suddenly be frivolous unless you believe there is a serious reason for being frivolous. A man might make a feast if he had come into a fortune; and he might make a great many jokes about the fortune. But he would not do it if the fortune were a joke [..] You cannot even start a lark about a legacy you believe to be a sham legacy. You cannot even start a lark to celebrate a miracle you believe to be a sham miracle. The result of dismissing the divine side of Christmas and demanding only the human, is that you are demanding too much on human nature. You are asking men to illuminate the town for a victory that has not taken place [...] Our modern task therefore is to save festivity from frivolity. That is the only way in which it will ever again become festive.
-December 26, 1925, G.K.'s Weekly

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Art Garfunkel and GKC

I just discovered yesterday one person who has read a couple of GKC's books: Art Garfunkel.

Apparently he has read both "The Man Who Was Thursday"  as well as "The Club of Queer Trades."

(Of course, I have no idea if Paul Simon has ever read GKC or even heard of him, but Simon does cite Dion DiMucci as a prime influence on him, and has even recorded a song together with DiMucci, "New York is My Home".

And DiMucci is on record as referring to GKC as one of his "heroes".)

Monday, December 3, 2018

For let it never be forgotten that a hypocrite is a very unhappy man; he is a man who has devoted himself to a most delicate and arduous intellectual art in which he may achieve masterpieces which he must keep secret, fight thrilling battles, and win hair's-breadth victories for which he cannot have a whisper of praise. A really accomplished impostor is the most wretched of geniuses; he is a Napoleon on a desert island.
-Robert Browning (1903)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

"...the right way to win the love of the world is to fight it."

[In light of the news that a second miracle has been approved, and consequently Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman will (hopefully) be canonized soon, perhaps next year, I think the following passage quite fitting to post.]

The life of Francis Newman is so well executed that one almost regrets that its lucidity was not employed on some more popular subject, as, for instance, Newman's brother, the great controversial Cardinal. And yet (when one comes to think of it) it is very odd that Francis Newman should be the unpopular subject and Cardinal Newman the popular one. Francis Newman flung himself into every modern cause; he was in the whole trend of his time; he was by grades a Puritan, a Unitarian, and an Agnostic; he was an anti-vivisectionist, a vegetarian, and an upholder of Female Suffrage; he was in the van of every recent progressive victory; and he is forgotten. John Henry Newman made everybody roar with laughter by proposing to rebuild the monasteries and do honour to St. Aidan and St. Edmund. But the result is that the Modernists and the whole modern world can hardly keep his name off their pens. I do not know what moral there is to this, except that the right way to win the love of the world is to fight it.
-September 22, 1909, Daily News

Also, from the same article, a bonus quote:
Cardinal Newman was a man who walked by truth as by the sun at noon; whose high reason and eloquence rang with sincerity like steel.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Dr. Alexis Carrel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1912, commenting on GKC's book Heretics:
The extreme clarity and brilliance of his style impressed me greatly. The train of his thought appeared to me as strong, flexible, and shining as a steel blade, and as merciless. 
-Chesterton as Seen by His Contemporaries, Cyril Clemens (1939)