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)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Orson Welles remarks on GKC

Well, this is my 1,000th post for this blog. It seems as if I should do something special, but I don't know what. Oh, well. :-)

Anyway, something that I apparently do not have included on this blog (except in part on my list of GKC's influence) is the remarks made by Orson Welles prior to his 1938 radio dramatization of Chesterton's novel  The Man Who Was Thursday (made a few weeks before his famous radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds.) In addition to writing the adaptation,Welles played the role of the protagonist Gabriel Syme in the broadcast.

Here is his remarks:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

G.K.C., Gilbert Keith Chesterton, great, greatly articulate Roman convert and liberal, has been dead now for two years. For a unique brand of common sense enthusiasm, for a singular gift of paradox, for a deep reverence and a high wit, and most of all for a free and shamelessly beautiful English prose, he will never be forgotten.

"It must be wonderful to be famous."

According to the story, that is what the young lady said to the fat man, the fabulously fat, the fantastic, the famous fat man when he took her to lunch at a fashionable restaurant, and everybody turned and stared.

"Tell me," she said, "Do people always recognize you? Does everybody always know who you are?"

"Well, my dear," said Mr. Chesterton, "If they don't, they ask."

Mr. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday is a little like that. Roughly speaking, it's about anarchists. It was written, remember, in the boom of bomb-throwing in those radical irresponsible days of the Nihilists. And roughly speaking, it's a mystery story. It can be guaranteed that you will never, never guess the solution until you get to the end. It is even feared that you may not guess it then. You may never guess what The Man Who Was Thursday is about, but definitely, if you don't, you'll ask.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Only at very slight moments, passing moments, has there been anything resembling a really independent scepticism. The sceptics themselves have always turned something else into a sacred object, into a superstition, and when that thing was examined it was always found to be far narrower than the older traditions that had been rejected.

-The Superstitions of the Sceptic (1925)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"The smallest street is too human for any human being to realise.".

People say that the country is more poetical [than the town]. It is not true. The town would immediately strike us as far more poetical if we happened to know anything at all about the town. If we applied to human traces the same vivid imagination which we apply to the traces of beasts or birds we should find not only the street, but any chance inch of the street, far more romantic than a glade. We say (when in a country lane): "Here is a nest," and we immediately begin to wonder about the bird who made it. But we do not say: "Here is a railing," and then immediately begin to wonder about the man who made it. We regard such things as railings as coming by a kind of fate, quite unlike the almost individual influence which we recognise in the growths of the countryside. We regard eggs as personal creations and mole-hills as personal creations. Such things as railings are the only things that we think impersonal, because they are the only things that are really made by persons. This is the difficulty of the town: that personality is so compressed and packed into it that we cannot realise its presence. The smallest street is too human for any human being to realise.

-Chesterton's Introduction to Literary London by Elsie M. Lang (1906)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A philosopher cannot talk about any single thing, down to a pumpkin, without showing whether he is wise or foolish; but he can easily talk about everything without anyone having any views about him, beyond gloomy suspicions.

-G. F. Watts (1904)

Friday, November 22, 2013

The meanest man is immortal and the mightiest movement is temporal, not to say temporary.

-Blackfriars, January, 1923
 Quoted in The Man Who Was Orthodox: A Selection from the Uncollected Writings of G. K. Chesterton, collected by A.L. Maycock (1963)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The best way to destroy a utopia is to establish it.

-quoted in Gilbert Keith Chesterton by Maisie Ward (1943)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Playing with children is a glorious thing; but the journalist in question has never understood why it was considered a soothing or idyllic one. It reminds him, not of watering little budding flowers, but of wrestling for hours with gigantic angels and devils. Moral problems of the most monstrous complexity besiege him incessantly. He has to decide before the awful eyes of innocence, whether, when a sister has knocked down a brother's bricks, in revenge for the brother having taken two sweets out of his turn, it is endurable that the brother should retaliate by scribbling on the sister's picture book, and whether such conduct does not justify the sister in blowing out the brother's unlawfully lighted match.

-A Miscellany of Men (1912)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mr. Zangwill, criticizing very kindly a quiet little comedy about devils which I happened to write, once remarked that I was trying to put the clock back in philosophy; though he was so generous as to add that I was putting the clock forward in drama. Since then, and down to recent days, I have heard a great deal about the impossibility of putting back the clock, especially to the Middle Ages- or, as such critics would call them, the Dark Ages. It strikes me as highly quaint that people should be so fond of this figure of speech for fantastic and impossible reaction, especially just now. For they are now regularly performing, twice a year, a mere trick with time, the second half of which does invariably consist of putting back the clock.

-April 26, 1919, Illustrated London News 

Incidentally, here is a link to the "quiet little comedy about devils" referenced above.