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)

Friday, January 27, 2012

What do you think?

I just came across this quote tonight from a contribution Chesterton made to the Daily Telegraph in 1920 in answer to a question posed in that paper :

"There is something more peculiar and provocative in the Christian idea, and it was expressed in the words repentance and humility. Or, to put it in more topical terms, it means that when we face the facts of the age, the first facts we face should be the faults of ourselves; and that we should at least consider, concerning any fact, the possibility that it is our fault. Now, of course, the most important form of this is too individual for this public problem; indeed, it cannot in its nature be a criticism of anybody else."

-G.K. Chesterton

Is it a New World? A Series of Articles and Letters Contributed by Correspondents to the "Daily Telegraph" August-September, 1920 (published in 1921)

This quote was from a larger contribution Chesterton made, and indeed the paper received many replies in answer to its question, which replies were reprinted in a book published the next year (that can be found online here). Is it just me, or is that very similar to the story of Chesterton writing to The Times that seems so hard to document? You know, the story that talks about how the Times asked the question "What's wrong with the world", and Chesterton replied "Dears Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton." Before tonight, I had searched in vain to see documentation for it, but it seemed nobody knew where it actually came from. Some people just assumed that it was an apocryphal story.

But when I came across this this tonight, it just seemed very close. After all, it concerns Chesterton making a contribution to a newspaper controversy concerning the state of the world (or "facts of the age", as Chesterton put in the quote above) and emphasizing the need for humility by considering the question that perhaps we need to, first and foremost, look at our own individual failings for the problems in the world before looking elsewhere to place the blame, and repent on an individual level .

(There are differences, of course...for instance, the above controversy was in The Daily Telegraph instead of The Times, and the above quote I found was from a larger contribution of GKC's that dealt with other things as well, not a "short letter" as in the story. Also, Chesterton uses "we", not "I"....But even taken those factors into account, it does seem fairly close to the story to me anyway.).

Then again, perhaps I'm just "seeing" a closer connection than there really is. What do you think? At the very least, there seems to be some interesting parallels. In any case, it's a good quote by Chesterton, and one that we all should meditate on.

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