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, December 22, 2017

"What's Wrong With the World?" "I am"

According to a popular story that has circulated for a long time, a well known London newspaper in the early part of the twentieth century (usually stated to be The Times) asked the question "What is wrong with the world?" and received many replies. The shortest was from G.K. Chesterton, simply consisting of "I am."

Now, the story as told seems to be apocryphal, but it does seem to have a grain of truth in it. Since recently in a couple of places I came across people mentioning (correctly) that the story as told is apocryphal, I did state what the grain of truth seems to be, and so I decided just to post one of the replies I made below, for others who may be interested or doing research on it:
Well, even though the story as usually told is apocryphal, there is a grain of truth in it. In 1905, the Daily News in London published a letter called "What's Wrong With the World" by "A Heretic" that generated a huge correspondence from readers for months. Chesterton was one of the people who responded, and while his response was much longer than the apocryphal story indicates, it did include among other things this passage:

"In one sense, and that the eternal sense, the thing is plain. 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, August 16, 1905, "What is Wrong")
UPDATE: You can read the whole letter here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

From Joseph Pearce's book Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, p. 57:
...[Alec Guiness, i.e., "Obi-Wan Kenobi" of Star Wars fame] remained confident about the future, rooted in the belief that the essential traditions of Catholicism "remain firmly entrenched":
The Church has proved she is not moribund. "All shall be well," I feel, "and all manner of things shall be well", so long as the God who is worshiped is the God of all ages, past and to come, and not the Idol of Modernity, so venerated by some of our bishops, priests and mini-skirted nuns.
Guiness quoted one of Chesterton's "most penetrating statements" as a prelude to his discourse on the reform of the Church. "The Church", wrote Chesterton, "is the one thing that saves a man from the degrading servitude of being a child of his own time."
[Note: The exact quote in its orginal form is "It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.", found in his essay "Why I am a Catholic", which appeared in the book Twelve Modern Apostles and Their Creed, published in 1926. It is also repeated in the form "The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age" in The Catholic Church and Conversion (1927)]

Saturday, December 16, 2017


A friend of mine has made game of me in a recent book for saying that lamp-posts are poetical; that common things, the boots I wear or the chair I sit on, if they once are understood, can satisfy the most gigantic imagination. I can only adhere with stubborn simplicity to my position. The boots I wear are, I will not say beautiful upon the mountains, but, at least, highly symbolic in the street, being the boots of one that bringeth good news. The chair I sit on is really romantic-nay, it is heroic, for it is eternally in danger. The lamp-posts are poetical; not merely from accidental, but from essential causes. It is not merely the softening sentimental associations that belong to lamp-posts, the beautiful facts that aristocrats were hanged from them, or that intoxicated old gentlemen embrace them: the lamp-post really has the whole poetry of man, for no other creature can lift a flame so high and guard it so well.
July 24, 1909, Illustrated London News

Thursday, December 14, 2017

There is one moral matter in which we really can return good for evil without merely strengthening the evils; one weapon from the armoury of the saints is, even in a worldly sense, stronger than the world. That weapon is humility.
Illustrated London News, July 24, 1915
[H/T American Chesterton Society]

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

[The modern mind] finds it easier to prophesy Christmas like a Utopia than to enjoy it like a Saturnalia.
-December 20, 1922, Illustrated London News

"The Citizen has liberty; the Slave can have only leisure."

The Citizen has liberty; the Slave can have only leisure. The definition of the duties and rights of the citizens is really very necessary, lest they should come to be confused with the mere obedience and the mere holidays of a population really regarded as servile. The old Republicans were not wrong because they carried out a political theory, but because they did not carry it far enough; because too many of them claimed to be democrats while really remaining aristocrats. They were not, as their stupider critics say, too logical; they were rather only too tolerant of their own illogicality. Jefferson believed in citizens and owned slaves. He was in a false position; he knew it and he even said so. But he was in some ways in a better position than the despotic social reformer, who wishes to own all citizens as if they were slaves.
-November 29, 1930, Illustrated London News

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"Theology is only thought applied to religion..."

[...] the critic generally begins by dismissing these conflicts with the statement that they are all about small points of theology. I do not admit that theological points are small points. Theology is only thought applied to religion; and those who prefer a thoughtless religion need not be so very disdainful of others with a more rationalistic taste. The old joke that the Greek sects only differed about a single letter is about the lamest and most illogical joke in the world. An atheist and a theist only differ by a single letter; yet theologians are so subtle as to distinguish definitely between the two.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)