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)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kidnapping Chesterton

From an Interview with Neil Gaiman

"When you're 11, walking home from school through this strange little English landscape, running these weird, wonderful things through your head ... well, now this is one of those 'I've never told anybody this before' things," Gaiman says conspiratorially, "but here we go:

 "My worst fantasy was a really cool one. I got to kidnap all of the authors whose work I liked, living and dead -- I got to go 'round and round up G.K. Chesterton and Geoffrey Chaucer and all of these guys. Then I got to lock them in an enormous castle and make them collaborate on these huge-plot books. And I would tell them what the plots were.
"I was about 10 years old. And I plotted this 12-volume giant epic about these people going off to collect these rocks from all over the universe.
"As daydreams go, it says an awful lot about me as a young man: I wasn't confident enough about my ability to come up with stories. I was coming up with this huge, intricate story in order to justify in my daydreams of creating stories."


Friday, May 30, 2014

Robert E. Howard on GKC


A while back, I found on the Wikiquote page dealing with Chesterton the following concerning Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian)

American author, poet, and widely-know pulp magazine "fictioneer" Robert E. Howard was much impressed by Chesterton's "The Ballad of the White Horse." In a letter to his friend Tevis Clyde Smith, dated 6 August 1926 [when Howard was 20], he writes: "

  • There is great poetry being written now. G.K. Chesterton, for instance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The historian has a habit of saying of people in the past: "I think they may well be considered worthy of praise, allowing for the ideas of their time." There will never be really good history until the historian says, "I think they were worthy of praise, allowing for the ideas of my time...

...the historian ought to be made to understand that his day is only a day. He is apt to treat it as if it were a day of judgment. We all have a little weakness, which is very natural but rather misleading, for supposing that this epoch must be the end of the world because it will be the end of us. How future generations will get on without us is indeed, when we come to think of it, quite a puzzle. But I suppose they will get on somehow, and may possibly venture to revise our judgments as we have revised earlier judgments.
-August 15, 1925, Illustrated London News

Monday, May 26, 2014

The final objection to what is called "peace at any price" is simply that we should pay the price and not get the peace
-Chesterton's Introduction to Practical Pacifism and Its Adversaries: "Is it Peace, Jehu" (by Severin Nordentoft)
In a sense...war is a sacred thing. It is the ultimate, which should not even be named except in an atmosphere purified from every breath of frivolity or malice....A man has only one life, and he can do nothing so solemn as to stake it for an object he thinks worthy. The worst infamy of Jingoism is that it has encouraged an idle theatrical way of looking at this sacrifice, as if a man had nine lives, like a cat....Indeed, both the cross and the sword are in the same relation to mankind: they are horrible and ungainly tools, made beautiful by the vast and subversive power of human love. Nothing more intrinsically repulsive can be thought of than nailing a man to a wooden stake. Nothing more hideous can be conceived than violently disorganisjng his anatomy with an iron spike called a sword. But the transformation which pity and self-sacrifice has made even in the bodily aspect of these objects is one of the most gigantic of the triumphs of man’s moral imagination.... But these symbols are reverenced because they are rare; because they represent a terrible wager possible only in the last resort. The curse of Jingo poetry is that it makes an unreal and fashionable thing of the appeal by battle. Can anyone conceive a more appalling pantomime than a fashion of being crucified ?
-June 1, 1901, The Speaker

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"It is heroic poetry that is like life.."

It is a part of that pitiful modern notion, unknown to all the great literatures of the world, that a scrap or two of actual detail, the literal symptoms which appear in conversation or action, are the things that are “like life.”

Life is within: a mass of towering emotions and untranslatable secrets. It is heroic poetry that is like life, that attunes itself to this terrible orchestra, that lets our life rush out like the gas out of a balloon. An ordinary modern man shaking with righteous anger against a fool or a tyrant might, as a matter of fact, only stammer out some such fatuous and trivial protest....But that has nothing to do with his “life.” He would curse like Homer if he could.

There are few things, therefore, that we should more seriously protest against than an attempt to translate a monumental poem from the language of the passions which is song, to the vast system of verbal ritual which is called casual conversation. If this were done with some other piece of haunting simplicity, let us say the immortal vow of Ruth—if “thy people shall be my people ” were to become “I will try and get on with your set,” and “thy God my God,” “church or chapel, I don’t mind,” the effect would not be more human and familiar, but less so. The “realist” seems unable to grasp (being a person of no genial arrogance) that there are things that lose everything in merely losing size. It is as if a cockney put in his front garden a miniature model of St. Peter’s, all the proportions being correct.
-January 19, 1901, The Speaker

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"[St. Francis] had far too much love of each single thing to have any vulgar love of Nature."

Francis was extraordinary in this truer and higher sense, that he was one of those men who arise with an absolutely original vision of things inside their heads, who create the only indestructible thing—an atmosphere. With each of such men there is truly made a new heaven and a new earth, for they do not see the heaven and the earth that others see. If Buddha, Plato and St. Francis had looked at the same tree they would have been standing in three different worlds. Buddha would have seen in the tree a gross embodiment in which a celestial force was immured, a spirit in a disgraceful incognito. Plato would have seen it as the shadow of a perfect tree existing in the ideal world. Francis would have seen it simply as “Brother Tree,” an individual neighbour in the parish of the Cosmos, a silent but amusing companion, a man, as it were, with green hair and one leg. The whole conception was founded, of course, on the Christian doctrine of the great Father whose memory was an unending chronicle, in which the name of every stone or weed was clearly written. But he gave to the doctrine an individual turn of extraordinary beauty and humour by this notion of finding gossips and kinsfolk everywhere in the grotesque camaraderie of the woods and hills. His “Brother Wolf ” and “Sister Lark” have in reality as much in common with the “Brer Wolf ” and “Sis Cow ” of Uncle Remus as with any mere pantheistic philosophy. He had far too much love of each single thing to have any vulgar love of Nature.
-December 1, 1900, The Speaker

Monday, May 19, 2014

Above all we can have no sympathy whatever with that far older and idler pessimism which makes capital out of the disproportions of the cosmos. The size of the fixed stars no more makes us insignificant than the size of the animalculae makes us divine. The beauty of life is in itself and is as indestructible whether it lasts as long as a planet or as long as a violin solo.
-January 19, 1901, The Speaker

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It seemed somehow that politicians were very important. And yet, anything seemed important about them except their politics.
-The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)