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, October 31, 2015

...there is this about such evil, that it opens door after door in hell, and always into smaller and smaller chambers. This is the real case against crime, that a man does not become wilder and wilder, but only meaner and meaner.
-The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)

Friday, October 30, 2015

A paradox is a fantastic thing that is said once: a fashion is a more fantastic thing that is said a sufficient number of times.
-The Crimes of England (1916)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it...
-Orthodoxy (1908)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I've published all of the following quotes on this blog before, so nothing new; right now I'm just gathering them into one post for a specific purpose....

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nations may safely import whole philosophies and constitutions, like so much tea or tobacco; but it goes ill with a people that has to import its superstition.
-February 23, 1901, The Speaker

"Indecency is not wild and lawless. The danger of indecency is exactly that it is tame, dull, direct, inevitable; a mere law in the members."

A sophistry may affect the mind, but an obscenity must affect the mind; it is a violence. It may do one of two things equally direct and instinctive; it may shock purity or it may inflame impurity. But in both cases the process is brutal and irrational. A picture or a sentence which shocks sensibility or sharpens sensuality does not offer itself for discussion. It is no more open to argument than a squeaking slate pencil is open to argument, or the choking smell of ether is open to argument. The human victim is drugged — or he is sick.

Therefore (without carrying the parallel, of course, to any lengths of literalism), I think we may speak of indecorum as an assault. In the matter of violations of traditional public decency (however plausibly defended) I am entirely with the Puritans. The ordinary argument that sex can be treated calmly and freely like anything else is the most loathsome cant in this canting epoch. The parallels from other crimes are insolently fallacious. A man reading about a burglary is not any more likely to commit a burglary. A man who has seen a pocket picked is not in the least likely to become a pickpocket. But there is one evil which, by its hold on the imagination (the creative and reproductive part of man), can reproduce itself even by report. We have a right to protect ourselves and especially our top-heavy and groping children against startling and uncivilized appeals to this instinct. Heretics have a legal claim to persuade human souls to err and sin like human souls; they have no business to make them jump like monkeys on a stick. I have no more right to give an unwilling citizen a sexual shock than to give him an electric shock. I have no more right to come behind him and inflame his passions than to come behind him and inflame his coattails. …

The appeal to animal appetite may succeed by its very familiarity. Indecency is not wild and lawless. The danger of indecency is exactly that it is tame, dull, direct, inevitable; a mere law in the members. It is automatic evil. Pride makes a man a devil; but lust makes him a machine.

Daily News, February 19th, 1910

- quoted in The Man Who Was Orthodox (1963)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Religion is the only possible root of this idea of an invisible sanctity or dignity, belonging equally to all the different sorts of men. It is obvious that men have not got a mental or material equality. If they have a moral equality, it can only be a mystical equality.
-August 4, 1928, Illustrated London News

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The critic who is always talking about our modern enlightenment, ancient superstitions, and the stupidity and barbarism of the past- such a man is not a Progressive; he is not even a fanatical or vainglorious Progressive. He is simply an aristocrat. He is putting one class of men fantastically in the front of mankind; he is committing that sin which is called oligarchy, and which is the sin of forgetting the resemblances and remembering only the differences of men. And, indeed, if one had to select an oligarchy one would, I think, select any oligarchy but this. An aristocracy of the sword, and even an aristocracy of intellect (that disgusting thing) would be more human and rational than a mere aristocracy of chronology. It would be easier to believe in the superiority of peers to commoners than in the mere superiority of half-past two to half-past one.
-January 12, 1906, Daily News

Saturday, October 17, 2015

If a man wishes to remain in perfect mental breadth and freedom, he had better not think at all. Thinking is a narrowing process. It leads to what people call dogma. A man who thinks hard about any subject for several years is in a horrible danger of discovering the truth about it...It is a terrible thing when a man really finds that his mind was given him to use, and not to play with; or, in other words, that the gods gave him a great ugly mouth with which to answer questions, and not merely to ask them.
-September 16, 1909, Illustrated London News

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jorge Luis Borges on Chesterton

Just making a post of some references to Chesterton by Jorge Luis Borges I have come across just doing a quick search on Google Books. I haven't included them all, and even among the ones I did include, some are more or less repetitive statements (being made on different occasions), but I still thought it would be interesting to note them. Even if no one else is interested in a list of them, I am at least. :-)

(1998) [a book of interviews]

"...Chesterton knew how to make the most of a detective story. Far more than Ellery Queen or Erle Stanley Gardner. Well, Ellery Queen's quite a good story." (p. 24)

"I also have a great affection for Chesterton" (p. 59)

 "I think that one of the charms of Chesterton...is the fact that when you read The Father Brown Saga or The Man Who Was Thursday or The Man Who Knew Too Much, you feel that all of those things that are happening in London are not in real London- if there be such a thing as real London- but in fairy London." (p. 152)

"I'm always citing Chesterton" (p. 169)

"And then there is another writer I greatly admire: Chesterton" (p. 197)

"Homer and Chesterton are really desirable goals. I wish I could. Really, I am unworthy. My writing is unworthy of my reading, eh"  (p. 206)

When you speak of Chesterton and Stevenson and other English writers, you seem most delighted by their styles.
"In the case of Chesterton, there are many other things, eh?" (p. 207)

Can you speak about your own style

"Well, when I was a young man, I did my best to be Chesterton, to be Lugones, to be Quevedo, to be Stevenson. Then after that, I said no, I'll just be Borges, and that's that. A very modest ambition. But after all, people like it." (p. 207)

Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature (2013)

"...perhaps the best book about [Robert] Browning, a delightful book to read, is a book that Chesterton published in the first decade of this century, in the year 1907 or 1909, I think, and it is part of that admirable series, English Men of Letters. Reading a biography of Chesterton, written by his secretary, Maisie Ward, I read that all of Chesterton's quotations of Browning in the book were wrong. But they were wrong because Chesterton had read Browning so much that he had not needed to consult Browning's work a single time. He was wrong precisely because he knew it. It is a pity that the editor of the series, English Men of Letters, Virginia Woolf's father, Leslie Stephen, reinstated the original text. It would have been interesting to compare Browning's original text to how they appear in Chesterton's text. Unfortunately they were corrected, and the printed book contains Browning's texts. It would have been lovely to know how Chesterton transformed in his memory Browning's verses- for memory is also made up of forgetting."

[There are some factual errors in the above quote, but I liked this quote especially.]

Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges (1984)

"Chesterton is one of my favorite authors"

Seven Nights  (2009)

"There is another author we must add: Chesterton, Stevenson's heir. The fantastic London in which occur the adventures of Father Brown and of The Man Who Was Thursday would not exist if he hadn't read Stevenson. " (p. 56)

Monday, October 12, 2015

The answer to the question, "What is Wrong?" is, or should be, "I am wrong." Until a man can give that answer his idealism is only a hobby."
Letter to the Daily News ("What is Wrong"), August 16, 1905
There is nothing so satisfactory as finding that some man is better than we thought; there is no sensation so pleasant to a generous spirit as being convicted of calumny.
-June 26, 1901, Daily News
Almost all the typical cries of our century are cries that give a great advantage to the rich and idle.
-May 5, 1906, Illustrated London News

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Not thinking is a disease, which will sometimes set in in a community, but when it does, it affects the upper a long time before the lower. There are a great many intellectual people, I believe, at the present day, who are engaged in attacking democracy, and they attack it largely, as far as I can make out, on the ground of the vulgarity and stupidity and vagueness which they find in a third-class carriage. To these, if their test be vulgarity and stupidity and vagueness, there is a very simple question to be set. Have they ever travelled in a first-class carriage?
-January 23, 1904, Daily News