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)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A nice article concerning Chesterton's lectures at Notre Dame (including his experience of Notre Dame football)
October 1930 marked a big event on the Notre Dame campus: the opening of the new football stadium. Knute Rockne gave a speech. A Navy admiral gave a speech. The University president, Rev. Charles O’Donnell, CSC, gave a speech and told the emotional story about George Gipp.
Then a special guest was introduced, and an uproarious standing ovation welcomed G.K. Chesterton, who had just arrived from England and had never seen a football game. According to one report, thousands of “lusty voices shouted the name of one of the world’s leading literary lights.” The University considered it a good omen.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

St. Therse of Lisieux and the grandmother of Hilaire Belloc

This is an unusual post for this blog, insofar as it does not deal directly with Chesterton. However, it *does* deal with the other half of the "Chesterbelloc", and therefore for that reason still seems appropriate for this blog....

In any case, I don't know if this is something that is common knowledge (and I was just ignorant of it), or if perhaps I am making a mistake in my reasoning, but it appears that St. Therese of Lisieux was greatly affected by a story in a book put together by the grandmother of Hilaire Belloc


While reading through The Letters of St. Therese the other night, I came across a letter that her sister Pauline wrote to her when St. Therese was 12 years old (LC 41), in which in one part she wrote "If you see again the luminous trail on the waves of the sea, think of times past, of your old teacher, of Grandmother's Tirelire.." A footnote at this point in my volume states:
La Tirelire aux histoires by S.W. Belloc. One of the stories, entitled "The Golden Trail," was filled with memories for Pauline and Therese; see MS. A, pp. 48-49 [...]
There is one part in St. Therese's Story of a Soul  where Therese writes:
In the evening at that moment when the sun seems to bathe itself in the immensity of the waves, leaving a luminous trail behind, I went and sat down on the huge rock with Pauline. Then I recalled the touching story of the “Golden Trail.” I contemplated this luminous trail for a long time. It was to me the image of God’s grace shedding its light across the path the little white-sailed vessel had to travel. And near Pauline, I made the resolution never to wander far away from the glance of Jesus in order to travel peacefully toward the eternal shore!

Anyway, as you can imagine, the name "Belloc" in the footnote above caught my attention. So I did some Googling, and came across a footnote in an edition of The Story of a Soul on Google Books concerning this passage stating:
This story appears in a collection of readings called La Tirelire aux histoires by Madame Louise Belloc [...]

Doing some more Googling, I also came across this page:


Now, I don't know French, but...:
Titre La tirelire aux histoires. Lectures choisies / par Mme Louise Sw-Belloc...
Type document Livre
Auteur principal Belloc , Louise Swanton
It appears to me that "Mme Louise Sw-Belloc" is the same as "Louise Swanton Belloc".

And, of course, Louise Swanton Belloc, was the grandmother of Hilaire Belloc.


So the story that had such memories for St. Therese of Lisieux was from a book by Hilaire Belloc's grandmother!

Either that, or I made some mistake in my reasoning above (which is quite possible, I realize! lol.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"The whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards, by which he can judge material and fugitive conditions."

The whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards, by which he can judge material and fugitive conditions. If the citizen is to be a reformer, he must start with some ideal which he does not obtain merely by gazing reverently at the unreformed institutions. And if any one asks, as so many are asking: "What is the use of my son learning all about ancient Athens and remote China and medieval guilds and monasteries, and all sorts of dead or distant things, when he is going to be a superior scientific plumber in Pimlico?" the answer is obvious enough. "The use of it is that he may have some power of comparison, which will not only prevent him from supposing that Pimlico covers the whole planet, but also enable him, while doing full credit to the beauties and virtues of Pimlico, to point out that, here and there, as revealed by alternative experiments, even Pimlico may conceal somewhere a defect."
All is Grist (1931)
(H/T G.K. Chesterton Facebook page)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him whether he is the surplus population, or if he is not, how he knows he is not."

Scrooge is not only as modern as Gradgrind but more modern than Gradgrind. He belongs not only to the hard times of the middle of the nineteenth century, but to the harder times of the beginning of the twentieth century; the yet harder times in which we live. Many amiable sociologists will say, as he said, 'Let them die and decrease the surplus population.' The improved proposal is that they should die before they are born.

It is notable also that Dickens gives the right reply; and that with a deadly directness worthy of a much older and more subtle controversialist. The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him whether he is the surplus population, or if he is not, how he knows he is not. That is the answer which the Spirit of Christmas gives to Scrooge; and there is more than one fine element of irony involved in it. There is this very mordant moral truth, among others; that Scrooge is exactly the sort of man who would talk of the superfluous poor as of something dim and distant; and yet he is also exactly the kind of man whom others might regard as sufficiently dim,not to say dingy, to be himself superfluous. There is something of a higher sarcasm, even than that to be read on the surface, in the image of that wretched little rag of a man so confident that the rags and refuse of humanity can be safely swept away and burned; in the miser who himself looks so like a pauper, confidently ordering a massacre of paupers.
-G.K.C. as M.C. (1929)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"To the Catholic every other daily act is dramatic dedication to the service of good or of evil."

When I wrote a little volume on my friend Mr. Bernard Shaw, it is needless to say that he reviewed it. I naturally felt tempted to answer and to criticise the book from the same disinterested and impartial standpoint from which Mr. Shaw had criticised the subject of it. I was not withheld by any feeling that the joke was getting a little obvious; for an obvious joke is only a successful joke; it is only the unsuccessful clowns who comfort themselves with being subtle. The real reason why I did not answer Mr. Shaw's amusing attack was this: that one simple phrase in it surrendered to me all that I have ever wanted, or could want from him to all eternity. I told Mr. Shaw (in substance) that he was a charming and clever fellow, but a common Calvinist. He admitted that this was true, and there (so far as I am concerned) is an end of the matter. He said that, of course, Calvin was quite right in holding that "if once a man is born it is too late to damn or save him." That is the fundamental and subterranean secret; that is the last lie in hell.

The difference between Puritanism and Catholicism is not about whether some priestly word or gesture is significant and sacred. It is about whether any word or gesture is significant and sacred. To the Catholic every other daily act is dramatic dedication to the service of good or of evil. To the Calvinist no act can have that sort of solemnity, because the person doing it has been dedicated from eternity, and is merely filling up his time until the crack of doom. The difference is something subtler than plum-puddings or private theatricals; the difference is that to a Christian of my kind this short earthly life is intensely thrilling and precious; to a Calvinist like Mr. Shaw it is confessedly automatic and uninteresting. To me these threescore years and ten are the battle. To the Fabian Calvinist (by his own confession) they are only a long procession of the victors in laurels and the vanquished in chains. To me earthly life is the drama; to him it is the epilogue. Shavians think about the embryo; Spiritualists about the ghost; Christians about the man. It is as well to have these things clear.

[...] These essential Calvinists have, indeed, abolished some of the more liberal and universal parts of Calvinism, such as the belief in an intellectual design or an everlasting happiness. But though Mr. Shaw and his friends admit it is a superstition that a man is judged after death, they stick to their central doctrine, that he is judged before he is born.
-What's Wrong With the World (1910)

Monday, March 13, 2017

[... ] the new philosophies and new religions and new social systems cannot draw up their own plans for emancipating mankind without still further enslaving mankind. They cannot carry out even what they regard as the most ordinary reforms without instantly imposing the most extraordinary restrictions.
-Avowals and Denials (1934)

Friday, March 10, 2017

[...] it is a bad economic sign in the State that masses of our fellow-citizens are too poor to be taxed [...]
-April 11, 1925, Illustrated London News

Monday, March 6, 2017

My own political philosophy is very plain and humble; I can trust the uneducated but not the badly educated.
-May 15, 1909, Daily News

Friday, March 3, 2017

" [...] whether the modern mind prefers its pretensions to popular breadth or its claims to creedless spirituality [...] it cannot have both at once;"

The truth is that the broad religion creates the narrow clique. It is what is called the religion of dogmas, that is of facts (or alleged facts), that creates a broader brotherhood and brings men of all kinds together. This is called a paradox; but it will be obvious to anyone who considers the nature of a fact. All men share in a fact, if they believe it to be a fact. Only a few men commonly share a feeling, when it is only a feeling. If there is a deep and delicate and intangible feeling, detached from all statements, but reaching to a wordless worship of beauty, wafted in a sweet savour from the woods of Kent or the spires of Canterbury, then we may be tolerably certain that the Miller will not have it. The Miller can only become the Pilgrim, if he recognizes that God is in the heavens as he recognizes that the sun is in the sky. If he does recognize it, he can share the dogma just as he can share the daylight. But he cannot be expected to share all the shades of fine intellectual mysticism that might exist in the mind of the Prioress or the Parson. I can understand that argument being turned in an anti-democratic as well as an anti-dogmatic direction; but anyhow the individualistic mystics must either do without the mysticism or do without the Miller. To some refined persons the loss of the latter would be no very insupportable laceration of the feelings. But I am not a refined person and I am not merely thinking about feelings. I am even so antiquated as to be thinking about rights; about the rights of men, which are extended even to millers. Among those rights is a certain rough working respect and consideration, which is at the basis of comradeship. And I say that if the comradeship is to include the Miller at all, it must be based on the recognition of something as really true, and not merely as ideally beautiful. It is easy to imagine the Knight and the Prioress riding to Canterbury and talking in the most elegant and cultivated strain, exchanging graceful fictions about knights and ladies for equally graceful legends about virgins and saints. But that sort of sympathy, especially when it reaches the point of subtlety, is not a way of uniting, or even collecting, all the Canterbury Pilgrims. The Knight and the Prioress would be the founders of a clique; as they probably were already the representatives of a class. I am not concerned here with whether the modern mind prefers its pretensions to popular breadth or its claims to creedless spirituality. I am only pointing out that it cannot have both at once; that if religion is an intuition, it must be an individual intuition and not a social institution; and that it is much easier to build a social institution on something that is regarded as a solid fact.
-Chaucer (1932)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"There is only one thing which is generally secure from plagiarism- self-denial."

There will always be thousands of snobs and slaves to imitate all their gaieties and all their grandeurs. There is only one thing which is generally secure from plagiarism- self-denial.
-September 2, 1911, Illustrated London News