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."
Thursday, July 29, 2010
-June 5, 1915, Illustrated London News
[I'd say a war against catch words would be *very* appropriate in today's journalism, which practically seems to consist in nothing but such things...]
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
"...but I would rather be hated for some....real reason than pursued with love on account of all kinds of qualities which I do not possess..."
-The Appetite of Tyranny (1915)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
"The sin and sorrow of despotism is not that it does not love men, but that it loves them too much and trusts them too little."
-Robert Browning (1903)
Monday, July 26, 2010
"Our wisdom, whether expressed in private or public, belongs to the world, but our folly belongs to those we love."
-Robert Browning (1903)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
"... the modern world will simply be given over as a spoil to anybody who can manage to do a nasty thing in a nice way."
There is another case of the thing that I mean. Why on earth do the newspapers, in describing a dynamite outrage or any other political assassination, call it a "dastardly outrage" or a cowardly outrage? It is perfectly evident that it is not dastardly in the least. It is perfectly evident that it is about as cowardly as the Christians going to the lions. The man who does it exposes himself to the chance of being torn in pieces by two thousand people. What the thing is, is not cowardly, but profoundly and detestably wicked. The man who does it is very infamous and very brave. But, again, the explanation is that our modern Press would rather appeal to physical arrogance, or to anything, rather than appeal to right and wrong.
-All Things Considered (1908)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Religion has had to provide that longest and strangest telescope—the telescope through which we could see the star upon which we dwelt. For the mind and eyes of the average man this world is as lost as Eden and as sunken as Atlantis. There runs a strange law through the length of human history—that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sin of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility.
This is the great fall, the fall by which the fish forgets the sea, the ox forgets the meadow, the clerk forgets the city, every man forgets his environment and, in the fullest and most literal sense, forgets himself. This is the real fall of Adam, and it is a spiritual fall. It is a strange thing that many truly spiritual men, such as General Gordon, have actually spent some hours in speculating upon the precise location of the Garden of Eden. Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed.
-The Defendant (1901)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green."
Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road,
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire,
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread,
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
-The Flying Inn (1914)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)
Monday, July 19, 2010
"...the philosophy of facts is anterior to the facts themselves. In due time we come to the fact, the Incarnation; but in the beginning was the Word."
G. K. C.
The Problem of a Preface
A peculiar difficulty arrests the writer of this rough study at the very start. Many people know Mr. Bernard Shaw chiefly as a man who would write a very long preface even to a very short play. And there is truth in the idea; he is indeed a very prefatory sort of person. He always gives the explanation before the incident; but so, for the matter of that, does the Gospel of St. John. For Bernard Shaw, as for the mystics, Christian and heathen (and Shaw is best described as a heathen mystic), the philosophy of facts is anterior to the facts themselves. In due time we come to the fact, the Incarnation; but in the beginning was the Word.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)
Friday, July 16, 2010
In a generation or so [Marxism] will have gone into the limbo of most heresies...But meanwhile it will have poisoned the Russian Revolution"
-July 12, 1919, Illustrated London News
If I am to answer the question, ‘How would Christ solve modern problems if He were on earth today’, I must answer it plainly; and for those of my faith there is only one answer. Christ is on earth today; alive on a thousand altars; and He does solve people’s problems exactly as He did when He was on earth in the more ordinary sense. That is, He solves the problems of the limited number of people who choose of their own free will to listen to Him.
Also, GKC humurously replying in G.K.'s Weekly (April 11, 1925) to an anti-Catholic attack by the Home Secretary, commenting on purgatory:
The Home Secretary is reported as saying, ‘We want no priestly interference, we ask for no purgatory, and we will submit to no compulsory confessional.’ The last clause of this declaration is especially a great relief to our minds. No longer shall we see a policeman seizing a man in the street by the scruff of the neck and dragging him to the nearest confessional-box. No longer will our love of liberty be outraged by the sinister bulk of the Black Maria taking its daily gang of compulsory penitents to Westminster Cathedral…But the passage that interests me…is the singular phrase that comes before it….the very remarkable phrase ‘We ask for no purgatory’…It seems to imply that when Sir William reaches the gates of another world, St Peter or some well-trained angel will say to him in a slightly lowered voice, in the manner of a well-trained butler, ‘Would you be requiring a purgatory?’
…it never occurs to Sir William Joynson-Hicks that…Purgatory may exist whether he likes it or not. If it be true, however incredible it may seem, that the powers ruling the universe think that a politician or a lawyer can reach the point of death, without being in that perfect ecstasy of purity that can see God and live- why then there may be cosmic conditions corresponding to that paradox, and there is an end of it. It may be obvious to us that the politician is already utterly sinless, at one with the saints. It may be evident to us that the lawyer is already utterly selfless, filled only with God and forgetful of the very meaning of gain. But if the cosmic power holds that there are still some strange finishing touches, beyond our fancy, to put to his perfection, then certainly there will be some cosmic provision for that mysterious completion of the seemingly complete. The stars are not clean in His sight and His angels He chargeth with folly; and if He should decide that even in a Home Secretary there is room for improvement, we can but admit that omniscience can heal the defect that we cannot even see.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
-February 15, 1908, Illustrated London News
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
"...but we always contrive to forget the manhood of anybody who can contrive to get mentioned under any other special description."
-January 27, 1906, Illustrated London News
Friday, July 9, 2010
"I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess."
-The Victorian Age in Literature (1913)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
"That is the sort of expression which it would be necessary for the happy crowd to cry with one voice, if it elected me to Parliament."
-July 16, 1921, Illustrated London News
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
"Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind."
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
"Missing the point is a very fine art; and has been carried to something like perfection by politicians and Pressmen to-day"
-Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays (1917)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
"As we have said, it is exactly this backdoor, this sense of having a retreat behind us, that is....the sterilizing spirit in modern pleasure."
As we have said, it is exactly this backdoor, this sense of having a retreat behind us, that is, to our minds, the sterilizing spirit in modern pleasure. Everywhere there is the persistent and insane attempt to obtain pleasure without paying for it. Thus, in politics the modern Jingoes practically say, 'Let us have the pleasures of conquerors without the pains of soldiers: let us sit on sofas and be a hardy race.' Thus, in religion and morals, the decadent mystics say: 'Let us have the fragrance of sacred purity without the sorrows of self-restraint; let us sing hymns alternately to the Virgin and Priapus.' Thus in love the free-lovers say: 'Let us have the splendour of offering ourselves without the peril of committing ourselves; let us see whether one cannot commit suicide an unlimited number of times.'
Emphatically it will not work. There are thrilling moments, doubtless, for the spectator, the amateur, and the aesthete; but there is one thrill that is known only to the soldier who fights for his own flag, to the ascetic who starves himself for his own illumination, to the lover who makes finally his own choice. And it is this transfiguring self-discipline that makes the vow a truly sane thing...All around us is the city of small sins, abounding in backways and retreats, but surely, sooner or later, the towering flame will rise from the harbour announcing that the reign of the cowards is over and a man is burning his ships.
-The Defendant (1901)
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
-What I Saw in America (1922)
The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.
There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man. That is a perfectly simple fact which the modern world will find out more and more to be a fact. Every other basis is a sort of sentimental confusion, full of merely verbal echoes of the older creeds. Those verbal associations are always vain for the vital purpose of constraining the tyrant. An idealist may say to a capitalist, 'Don't you sometimes feel in the rich twilight, when the lights twinkle from the distant hamlet in the hills, that all humanity is a holy family?' But it is equally possible for the capitalist to reply with brevity and decision, 'No, I don't,' and there is no more disputing about it further than about the beauty of a fading cloud. And the modern world of moods is a world of clouds, even if some of them are thunderclouds.
What I Saw in America (1922)
Saturday, July 3, 2010
-St. Francis of Assisi (1923)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
-What's Wrong With the World (1910)