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)

Monday, December 31, 2018

During the last fortnight I have received a very unusual number of long letters from total strangers; some people profess to dislike receiving such long letters; I confess myself that I wallow in them. The only letters I dislike are short letters; they are generally so painfully practical. But long letters only come from two classes of men, and those two are the only interesting and admirable classes of men - our friends and our foes [...] Some of those numerous people who are ready to attack Christianity for anything or nothing have said somewhat more plausibly than usual that it is unreasonable to ask a man to love his enemies. I do not think many people have such lovable enemies as I have.

My controversial opponents treat me extraordinarily nicely; considering that through sheer laziness I always say what I think, and through extreme hurry always say it with unnecessary violence. My enemies and I understand each other; we know that it is not so very difficult to love your enemies so long as you are always hitting them.
-April 13, 1907, Daily News

Sunday, December 30, 2018

`My position is simple,' replied the priest. `I am here to look after the legitimate interests of my friend Halket. I think it will be in his interest, under the circumstances, if I tell you I think he will before long sever his connexion with this organization, and cease to be a Socialist in that sense. I have every reason to believe he will probably end as a Catholic.'

`Halket!' exploded the other incredulously. `Why he curses priests from morning till night!'

`I don't think you quite understand that kind of man,' said Father Brown mildly. 'He curses priests for failing (in his opinion) to defy the whole world for justice. Why should he expect them to defy the whole world for justice, unless he had already begun to assume they were--what they are?
-The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The real hero is not he who is bold enough to fulfill the predictions, but he who is bold enough to falsify them.
-Tales of the Long Bow (1925)

Friday, December 28, 2018

What is wrong with modern journalism is not the great mass that it reveals, but the great mass that it refuses to reveal [...] it [is] the secrecy of journalism, the sudden silences of journalism. The daily paper does not ruin the country by publishing dreadful revelations; it ruins the country by refusing to publish dreadful revelations, because they are really dreadful.
-October 28, 1905, Daily News

Thursday, December 27, 2018

[T]ruth is a living fact. A truth is a fact that can talk; a fact that is conscious of other facts; a fact that can explain itself.
-July 2, 1910, Daily News

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Arts die of a false emphasis, which is generally the effect of fatigue. The Byzantines hammered away at their hard and orthodox symbols, because they could not be in a mood to believe that men could take a hint. The moderns drag out into lengths and reels of extravagance their new orthodoxy of being unorthodox, because they also cannot give a hint-or take a hint. Yet all perfect and well-poised art is really a hint. I admit that sometimes, in Rubens or Rabelais, it might be called a broad hint; but it it is always a suggestion, even when it is an absurd suggestion. It always opens the vista of liberty that does not need to go all its own lengths. But there is a kind of dull exaggeration that is the very opposite of this light emphasis. And in this respect there is not much to choose between the large haloes of the old Crucifixion and the long hands of the modern Crucifixion. In both there is the weakness of stressing what strength would be content to suggest. In both a man who might have spoken to us, when he was alert and lively, is shouting at us because he is tired. And some of us may say, in the popular phrase, that it makes us tired to be shouted at. I can see what Michael Angelo means when he seems to make a limb unusually long; or what Giotto means when he seems to make a figure unusually stiff. And when an artist implies that I shall not see what he means unless he lengthens limbs in the manner of the modern Crucifixion, or stiffens them in the manner of the portrait of an Englishwoman, I feel as if a man two feet away were talking at the top of his voice on the assumption that I am stone deaf.
-March 10, 1923, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Now Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
-The Thing (1929)

Monday, December 24, 2018

But I remember having in my mind in childhood a simple and logical question, which could not be answered then and cannot be answered now. It arose from my reading stories about shipwrecks and desert islands which contained accounts of starving men found floating on rafts or pining on rocks in mid-ocean. The horrors of their pain and loneliness were very vivid to me; but the moment that they saw a sail or came across a human foot-print I knew that all was well. Their fellow-men would receive them with prompt and reassuring assistance, boats would be lowered for them, brandy would be poured down their throats, food and fire and a voyage home were what they had to look forward to for the time with an equal mind. All this was right and simple to me, since men were a band of brothers sworn to fight the half-witted giants of seas and land. But the thing I could not understand then and cannot understand now was that this chivalrous fraternity that plucked its members out of the jaws of the sea and from the crevasses of the cruel mountains allowed people to stand about the London streets quite obviously in the condition of people requiring medical assistance and close to inanition and death. Why was there something so sacred about a raft and so unimportant about a street? Why did these rescuers who could find lost explorers at the Pole and half-drowned men in the wreck of 'The Princess Alice' not bring themselves to march to and discover and explore that wild and dark and far-off city in which I happen to be born? 
-December 12, 1902, Daily News

Sunday, December 23, 2018

When children ask inconvenient questions it is the custom to say to them, 'When you are older you will understand'; a reply, generally speaking, justifying parricide. But the answer is not merely irritating; it is generally, I am sorry to say, a lie. The questions asked by children, as a rule, are questions that do not depend upon any matter of age: they are simple and unanswerable questions. When we grow up we rise superior to them, not by answering them, but merely by giving them up. Logically, the parents ought only to say, 'When you are older you will not want to understand'; though it may certainly be said that if the first version of the reply would justify parricide on the part of the child the second version might justify suicide on his part.
-December 12, 1902, Daily News

Saturday, December 22, 2018

[M]ere knowledge as such does not bring one any nearer truth just as mere size has nothing to do with balance or lack of balance.
-January 6, 1903, Daily News

Friday, December 21, 2018

The life of man is a story; an adventure story; and in our vision the same is true even of the story of God.
-The Everlasting Man (1925)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

We must remember that the whole discovery of reading is new to great classes of the community [..] It is not strictly true to say that any of their reading is bad; for it is entirely good that there is an ingenious code of signals by which are conveyed to them the inmost thoughts and secrets of men long in their graves. It is not true, strictly speaking, that any of the fiction they read is bad for it is altogether a good thing that they should. in any shape or form, live that mystical double life that separates man from the beasts, one life in the daily duty of selfishness, the other in that strange and fantastic unselfishness which makes the fate of some non-existent hero, the creature of an idle brain, almost as important as our own [...] These things are not, in the proper meaning of the word, bad, any more than a man is bad for not being Shakespeare, or a hill bad for not being Mount Everest.
-June 8, 1901, The Speaker

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

[W]hen we hear a man insisting endlessly upon the superior character of his sanctity to the sanctity of the multitude, we feel tolerably certain that, whatever else he may be, he is not a saint. A saint [..] is one who has forgotten his own points of superiority, being immersed in more interesting things [...T]he ideal mystic and saint is he who prostrates himself and grovels in the public road before the stupidest farm labourer he can find. No doubt the farm labourer will be astonished at this conduct. But the astonishment which the farm labourer feels at the mystic will be nothing to the astonishment which the mystic will feel at the farm labourer.
-May 31, 1902, The Speaker

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"[...] Is not bloodshed a great sin?"

"No," said MacIan, speaking for the first time.

"Well, really, really!" said the peacemaker.

"Murder is a sin," said the immovable Highlander. "There is no sin of bloodshed."

"Well, we won't quarrel about a word," said the other, pleasantly.

"Why on earth not?" said MacIan, with a sudden asperity. "Why shouldn't we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren't important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn't any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn't there be a quarrel about a word? If you're not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about? Are you going to convey your meaning to me by moving your ears? The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only things worth fighting about. I say that murder is a sin, and bloodshed is not, and that there is as much difference between those words as there is between the word 'yes' and the word 'no'; or rather more difference, for 'yes' and 'no', at least, belong to the same category. Murder is a spiritual incident. Bloodshed is a physical incident. A surgeon commits bloodshed.
-The Ball and the Cross (1910)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Being bad inside has very little to do with committing crimes outside. The worst criminals have committed no crimes.
-The Scandal of Father Brown (1935)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

"...it is as easy to tell lies in scientific language as in literary language."

So long as industry and independence and good faith and good temper are necessary to scientific truth, we shall know that scamping and sycophancy and humbug and spiteful vanity may prevent scientific statements from being true. And a good many people are already more awake to this fact that Mr. Wells may perhaps realize. We are always being asked to accept this or that as science; but we already know that it is as easy to tell lies in scientific language as in literary language [...] It is no good telling us that science will give us a world of honest men. It would need a world of honest men for science to be run honestly.
-February 23, 1924, Illustrated London News

Saturday, December 15, 2018

What is to be done with the dingy and inky little people who laboriously prove to us that Christianity (if they are atheists) or Catholicism (if they are Protestants) is "only" a rehash of Paganism or borrowed its ideas from the Pagans. A man standing here in Rome is reduced to silence; he can only answer that such stupidity is stupefying. It is rather as if somebody said that Science may pretend to be independent, but it has really stolen all its facts from Nature; or that Protestants professed to be Christians, and yet filched things from the sacred books of the Jews. Science boasts of being based on Nature; and Protestants, when they were Protestants, boasted of being based on the Bible [...] Science finds its facts in Nature, but Science is not Nature; because Science has co-ordinated ideas, interpretations and analyses; and can say of Nature what Nature cannot say for itself. The Faith finds its facts and problems in humanity, even heathen humanity; but the Faith is not merely humanity; because it brings to it principles of life and order and understanding, and comprehends humanity as humanity cannot comprehend itself [...]

The desire of all nations, the dream of all religions, the imaginative craving that in some way something heroic might save the sufferings that are human-that indeed existed everywhere and that was the need which the Gospel was sent to supply. But the need was not the same as the supply. And the supply was a supply of perfectly definite and even detailed moral and metaphysical ideas which nobody but a fool could possibly identify with myths. And the sceptic only makes a fool of himself, when he first complains that Catholic dogmas are dogmatic, that they are in their nature precise claims to a knowledge of unknowable things; and then pretends that he can find these very precise dogmas in the irresponsible and inconsistent fairyland of heathen mythology. If the Catholic doctrine of Christ is a hard, positive, inflexible, infallible dogma imposed on the intellect, then it most certainly is not like the Greek story of Hercules. Some may think theology a bad thing: but those believe in it naturally think it a good thing, and they are at least quite certain that the Pagans were never theologians. There never was a theology about Jupiter and Juno and Hercules. But if there was not a theology still less was there a theodicy, or any systematic attempt to justify the ways of gods to men.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Friday, December 14, 2018

For instance, if a man called Christmas Day a mere hypocritical excuse for drunkenness and gluttony that would be false, but it would have a fact hidden in it somewhere. But when Bernard Shaw says that Christmas Day is only a conspiracy kept up by poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives, then he says something which is not so much false as startlingly and arrestingly foolish. He might as well say that the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding rings.
-George Bernard Shaw (1909)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"[T]he principal humour about a hippopotamus is that he exists."

[T]he only perfect pleasure in life is the pleasure of fighting for something in which one passionately believes, and [...] if that were left to me I would do without daylight and tobacco. I do think my own opinions very funny, but I also think them absolutely true. I think it very funny, for instance, that Mr. Kipling should be, as he is, psychologically incapable of a patriotic emotion and be, nevertheless, hailed everywhere as a patriotic poet. But I think it funny because I think it is the fact. The humour of it is like the humour of a hippopotamus; the principal humour about a hippopotamus is that he exists.
-October 10, 1903, Daily News

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

[T]he shortest cut to the practical is through the theoretical[.]
-July 28, 1906, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In that paralysis of the commonwealth which is called plutocracy, we allow powers intrinsically anti-social not to attack society, but rather to control it.
-October 28, 1916, Illustrated London News

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Luxury has become almost another name for politics."

But there was another element in the old Republican ideal, thus so swiftly and strangely ruined. This was the fact that it did originally denounce Luxury as the great enemy of Liberty [...] I need not attempt to measure the huge and ghastly reversal of all that in modern politics; in which so many liberals have been so very liberal to themselves. Luxury has become almost another name for politics; there is no world where it is so insolently assumed that money must fly on the most flying pleasures [...]  I am not Puritanical about these things; and I do not mind the pothouse politician nor grudge him his pot of beer. But I do remark that professional politics has got itself mixed up with a plutocratic orgy at the very opposite extreme from its original ideals. That excessive exorbitant ever-encroaching Luxury is the cause of three-quarters of the corruption that has rotted out the vitals of Parliamentary government. And when next we hear poor old Robespierre, or some rather priggish Republican, jeered at as a sentimental bore for saying that the Republic is founded on Virtue, and that it cannot endure without the simple and laborious worth of the Virtuous Man-let us look a little at the sequel and salute him; and admit that he was not so far wrong.
-The Resurrection of Rome (1930)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

For so much still lingers of that great dream of Jefferson and the thing that men have called Democracy that in his country, while the rich rule like tyrants, the poor do not talk like slaves; but there is candour between the oppressor and the oppressed.
-The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

[H]istory without tradition is dead.
-The Everlasting Man (1925)

Friday, December 7, 2018

[T]he sense of wonder is a virtue requiring religious cultivation. Astonishment is a tradition, like everything else. Cuttlefish never seem astonished. We require an ancient simplicity even in order to have a new surprise. And it is the traditional teaching of certain systematic duties, such as gratitude and humility, that makes all the difference even in the act of being startled. Certain moral ideas make all the difference between the boy who declares, with a shout, that a mountain is high and he who declares, with a sniff, it might have been higher.
-December 7, 1907, Daily News

Thursday, December 6, 2018

We can never conquer an evil influence till we have taken [account] of all its virtues.
-July 16, 1901, Daily News

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

[P]eople are losing the power to enjoy Christmas through identifying it with enjoyment. When once they lose sight of the old suggestion that it is all about something, they naturally fall into blank pauses of wondering what it is all about. To be told to rejoice on Christmas Day is reasonable and intelligible, if you understand the name, or even look at the word. To be told to rejoice on the twenty-fifth of December is like being told to rejoice at a quarter-past eleven on Thursday week. You cannot suddenly be frivolous unless you believe there is a serious reason for being frivolous. A man might make a feast if he had come into a fortune; and he might make a great many jokes about the fortune. But he would not do it if the fortune were a joke [..] You cannot even start a lark about a legacy you believe to be a sham legacy. You cannot even start a lark to celebrate a miracle you believe to be a sham miracle. The result of dismissing the divine side of Christmas and demanding only the human, is that you are demanding too much on human nature. You are asking men to illuminate the town for a victory that has not taken place [...] Our modern task therefore is to save festivity from frivolity. That is the only way in which it will ever again become festive.
-December 26, 1925, G.K.'s Weekly

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Art Garfunkel and GKC

I just discovered yesterday one person who has read a couple of GKC's books: Art Garfunkel.

Apparently he has read both "The Man Who Was Thursday"  as well as "The Club of Queer Trades."

Monday, December 3, 2018

For let it never be forgotten that a hypocrite is a very unhappy man; he is a man who has devoted himself to a most delicate and arduous intellectual art in which he may achieve masterpieces which he must keep secret, fight thrilling battles, and win hair's-breadth victories for which he cannot have a whisper of praise. A really accomplished impostor is the most wretched of geniuses; he is a Napoleon on a desert island.
-Robert Browning (1903)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

"...the right way to win the love of the world is to fight it."

[In light of the news that a second miracle has been approved, and consequently Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman will (hopefully) be canonized soon, perhaps next year, I think the following passage quite fitting to post.]

The life of Francis Newman is so well executed that one almost regrets that its lucidity was not employed on some more popular subject, as, for instance, Newman's brother, the great controversial Cardinal. And yet (when one comes to think of it) it is very odd that Francis Newman should be the unpopular subject and Cardinal Newman the popular one. Francis Newman flung himself into every modern cause; he was in the whole trend of his time; he was by grades a Puritan, a Unitarian, and an Agnostic; he was an anti-vivisectionist, a vegetarian, and an upholder of Female Suffrage; he was in the van of every recent progressive victory; and he is forgotten. John Henry Newman made everybody roar with laughter by proposing to rebuild the monasteries and do honour to St. Aidan and St. Edmund. But the result is that the Modernists and the whole modern world can hardly keep his name off their pens. I do not know what moral there is to this, except that the right way to win the love of the world is to fight it.
-September 22, 1909, Daily News

Also, from the same article, a bonus quote:
Cardinal Newman was a man who walked by truth as by the sun at noon; whose high reason and eloquence rang with sincerity like steel.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Dr. Alexis Carrel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1912, commenting on GKC's book Heretics:
The extreme clarity and brilliance of his style impressed me greatly. The train of his thought appeared to me as strong, flexible, and shining as a steel blade, and as merciless. 
-Chesterton as Seen by His Contemporaries, Cyril Clemens (1939)