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)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

To me, unfortunately perhaps (for I speak merely of individual taste), a cat is a wild animal. A cat is Nature personified. Like Nature, it is so mysterious that one cannot quite repose even in its beauty. But like Nature again, it is so beautiful that one cannot believe that it is really cruel. Perhaps it isn't; and there again it is like Nature. Men of old time worshipped cats as they worshipped crocodiles; and those magnificent old mystics knew what they were about. The moment in which one really loves cats is the same as that in which one (moderately and within reason) loves crocodiles. It is that divine instant when a man feels himself—no, not absorbed into the unity of all things (a loathsome fancy)—but delighting in the difference of all things.
-A Miscellany of Men (1912)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"What is Wrong?"

Given the importance of the following letter Chesterton wrote in 1905 (the reasons for its importance being given here), I wanted to post the whole letter today:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Wherever you have complete ugliness there you have aesthetes. When beauty is dead 'art' is born.
-Daily News, April 8, 1905

Monday, February 25, 2019

The modern world is full of things that are theoretically open and popular, but practically private and even corrupt. In theory any tinker can be chosen to speak for his fellow-citizens among the English Commons. In practice he may have to spend a thousand pounds on getting elected- a sum which many tinkers do not happen to have to spare.
-The Uses of Diversity (1921)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The typical modern man in revolt has no positive picture at all of what he is aiming at, but only a vague (and erroneous) sensation of progress.
-November 25, 1905, Daily News

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Some critics have vaguely suspected Chaucer of being a Lollard, through a simple ignorance of what is meant by being a Catholic. I am aware that there is a Victorian convention, according to which a literary study should not refer to religion, except when there is an opportunity of a passing sneer at it. But nobody can make head or tail of the fourteenth century without understanding what is meant by being a Catholic; and therefore by being a heretic. A man does not come an inch nearer to being a heretic by being a hundred times a critic. Nor does he do so because his criticisms resemble those of critics who are also heretics. He only becomes a heretic at the precise moment when he prefers his criticism to his Catholicism. That is, at the instant of separation in which he thinks the view peculiar to himself more valuable than the creed that unites him to his fellows. At any given moment the Catholic Church is full of people sympathizing with social movements or moral ideas, which may happen to have representatives outside the Church. For the Church is not a movement or a mood or a direction, but the balance of many movements and moods; and membership of it consists of accepting the ultimate arbitrament which strikes the balance between them, not in refusing to admit any of them into the balance at all. A Catholic does not come any nearer to being a Communist by hating the Capitalist corruptions, any more than he comes any nearer to being a Moslem by hating real idolatry or real excess in wine. He accepts the Church's ruling about the use and abuse of wine and images; and after that it is irrelevant how much he happens to hate the abuse of them. A Catholic did not come any nearer to being a Calvinist by dwelling on the omniscience of God and the power of Grace, any more than he came any nearer to being an atheist by saying that man possessed reason and freewill. What constituted a Calvinist was that he preferred his Calvinism to his Catholicism. And what constituted his Catholicism was that he accepted the ultimate arbitration which reconciled freewill and grace, and did not exclude either. So a Catholic did not come any nearer to being a Lollard because he criticized the ecclesiastical evils of the fourteenth century, as Leo the Thirteenth or Cardinal Manning criticized the economic evils of the nineteenth century. He said many things which Lollards also said, as the Pope and the Cardinal said many things which Socialists also said. But he was no nearer to being a Lollard; and nobody can begin to suggest that Chaucer was a Lollard, unless he can prove either or both of two propositions about him. First, that he held any Lollard doctrine that can be proved to be heretical by exact and authoritative definition: the sort of precise thing not very likely to be found in such poetry. And, second, that if he did hold it as a private opinion, he would in the last resort have preferred that private opinion to membership of the Body of Christ.
-Chaucer (1932)

Friday, February 22, 2019

One of the queer puzzles of modern politics might be stated in this way. That when power was permanent, it was always reminded that it was passing; but when power was really supposed to be passing, it was actually treated as if it were permanent. In the days when kings could really cut off anybody’s head, they were incessantly informed by seers and sages that they themselves would soon be cut off. When they were real despots with the power of life and death, there were real prophets or satirists who told them that death would be the end of their own life. But nobody ever said this, since democratic and liberal ideas were supposed to prevail in the State. Nobody told the really temporary ruler that he was temporary, or even that he was temporal.
-As I Was Saying (1936)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Everyone is asking why they may not have this, why they should not do that. But anyone who knows the alphabet of man knows that happiness does not work like this, that a little goes a long way, that contrast counts for much- that people enjoy most the unexpected pleasure, the edges and the beginnings of things. In two words, we know that joy greatly depends on wonder; and we know that wonder partly depends on rarity. On this truth sane men will soon build up simpler enjoyments.
-March 2, 1907, Daily News

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The practical politician is a man who always takes the notion that lies nearest- not because he is morally prompt, but because he is mentally lazy. One result of this is that they are surrounded by a swarm of quacks, struggling for their wandering attention [...] Thus they are more likely to have the proper prospectuses of preposterous Utopias thrust into their hands than to have leisure to listen to the real talk even of the crowd, far less to think out the elementary logic of the question.
-February 15, 1919, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

[Jane Austen] is perhaps most typical of her time in being supremely irreligious. Her very virtues glitter with the cold sunlight of the great secular epoch between mediaeval and modern mysticism. In that small masterpiece, Northanger Abbey, her unconsciousness of history is itself a piece of history. For Catherine Morland was right, as young and romantic people often are. A real crime had been committed in Northanger Abbey. It is implied in the very name of Northanger Abbey. It was the crucial crime of the sixteenth century, when all the institutions of the poor were savagely seized to be the private possessions of the rich. It is strange that the name remains; it is stranger still that it remains unrealized. We should think it odd to go to tea at a man’s house and find it was still called a church. We should be surprised if a gentleman’s shooting box at Claybury were referred to as Claybury Cathedral. But the irony of the eighteenth century is that Catherine was healthily interested in crimes and yet never found the real crime; and that she never really thought of it as an abbey, even when she thought of it most as an antiquity.
-The Uses of Diversity (1921)

Monday, February 18, 2019

"...a restatement of religious truth."

He said that we need a new statement of religion; and I remembered the hundreds and thousands of times I have heard the murmur of the emancipated, repeating again and again that we need "a restatement of religious truth." Now "restatement," not in itself, but as they use it, is a catchword. I do not so much complain of what they say; but I do complain that they do not mean what they say- that they do, in fact, mean the very opposite of what they say. To restate a thing is to state it over again; possibly to state the thing in other words, but to state the same thing. It is nonsense to say that the statement, "The dog is mad," is restated in the amended form, "The cow is dead"; and it is equally absurd that the news that the devil is dead should be called a restatement of the tradition that the devil is dangerous. In truth, as I have said, these people really mean the reverse of what they say. They do not mean that we are to take the same idea and restate it in new words. On the contrary, they mean that we are to use the old words and attach to them a new idea.

It would be easy to take a perfectly simple and indisputable example of such a phrase, which is by this time an antiquated phrase. It might make things a little clearer, for children or foreigners, if we did not speak of the Holy Ghost, but only of the Holy Spirit, The word "ghost" is antiquated in that meaning; and, what is worse, it is still alive and kicking in another and more grotesque meaning. There may possibly have been babies for whom the old phrase had some association with spectres in white sheets; and the highly enlightened modern inquirer often has to be treated as tenderly as if he were a baby. Anyhow, to say Spirit instead of Ghost would not be a modification or a modernisation or a compromise or a surrender. It would be strictly and exactly a restatement. That is, it would be stating the same thing over again, only in a living language instead of a dead one. But those who clamour for the restatement of traditional truths commonly mean quite the contrary. They do not mean that we should cease to speak of the Holy Ghost because it only means the Holy Spirit; they mean that we should continue to speak of the Holy Ghost, only that we should make it mean the League of Nations, or the theory of Evolution, or the cause of vegetarianism, or whatever we please. Restatement means putting an old notion in new terms. But they mean that they want to put a new notion in old terms; they cling convulsively to every letter and syllable of the old terms. Even when they talk about restating something they call Religion they are clinging to a very old term.
-June 9, 1928, Illustrated London News

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The real trouble of the Middle Ages lay in their rudimentary and relatively bad communications for the handing on of their good things; not in the least in their not having the good things to communicate. We are in a position to appreciate the distinction at the present moment; when we have very good communications and nothing to communicate.
-Chaucer (1932)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

[D]emocracy tends too much to mean politicians[.]
-April 22.1911, Daily News

Friday, February 15, 2019

As it is, I look on that most glorious of sights: a collision. You may call it, if you like, an overlapping: the spring has begun before the winter has left off [...] The essential is that this entanglement of advancing spring with retreating winter has all the crashing qualities of a battle. I look out on my garden and see time sharpened and shortened, and all things become contemporary. I see the snow shooting downwards with arrows at the flowers; and the flowers fighting upwards with shields and spears against the snow. And I see the double paradox of the seasons: the comfortable colours of snow side by side with all the airiness and eagerness of the early plants. I see all the warmth of the winter and the coldness of the spring.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

[I]f we are to keep any kind of public control on our destiny, we must insist on having violent things called by their own violent names.
-May 18, 1912, Daily News

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

[S]elf-criticism [is] the necessary condition of all criticism.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The worst is always very near the best; there is something much worse than atheism which is Satanism; otherwise known as Being God.
-The Poet and the Lunatics (1929)

Monday, February 11, 2019

[Real democracy] means all the people; even that disgusting part with which we do not agree [...] And the contrast between the real democracy and the little democratic cliques is sometimes very startling. At present, indeed, to ask a 'democrat' really to accept democracy is generally like asking a vegetarian to eat an oak tree.
-December 31, 1910, Daily News

Sunday, February 10, 2019

For it is often necessary to walk backwards, as a man on the wrong road goes back to a sign-post to find the right road. The modern man is more like a traveller who has forgotten the name of his destination, and has to go back whence he came, even to find out where he is going.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Disagree with Socialists if you like. Disagree with Anarchists if you like. Both habits, if exercised in moderation, are good for the health. But do not lose your temper, for this is always fatal to the generous and humane institution which we call argument.
-February 21, 1914, Illustrated London News

Friday, February 8, 2019

There may have been a time when people found it easy to believe anything. But we are finding it vastly easier to disbelieve anything. Both processes save the human mind from the disgusting duty of distinguishing between one thing and another. There may have been, though I never came across them in life or literature, some kind of clodhoppers who believed that every legend was true. But we shall be a much stupider kind of clodhoppers if we believe that every legend is legendary. In either case the effort which human laziness resists is that of drawing a distinction [...] the bother is that one has to use one's brains.
-March 14, 1914, Illustrated London News

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The modern Puritan is never so bitter as when he is making concessions. The modern bishop is never so illiberal as when he is liberal-minded. For both have the sense of being ashamed of the best thing that they possess.
-June 9, 1906, Daily News

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A modern Parliamentarian is not chosen by the people, even when he elected by the people [...] He is elected at the best as the better of two evils. It is a plutocratic organisation that chooses the choice of evils. It is a plutocratic process, above all, because nobody can afford an election except a rich man, or the nominee of a rich man [...] This is not democracy any more than it is aristocracy [.]
-May 20, 1922, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

"There is far too quick a step from minority to unanimity."

Indeed, there is rather too much in our modern society of this sudden conversion- this abrupt collapse. There is far too quick a step from minority to unanimity. There is far too little of that slow and stubborn persuasion which means hard thinking and hard fighting. When two drops of rain on a window-pane happen to come together they run down the glass like a river; similarly, when a few influences meet in the modern world they seem to sweep the country.
-May 25, 1907, Illustrated London News

Monday, February 4, 2019

The dog’s very lawlessness is but an extravagance of loyalty; he will go mad with joy three times on the same day, at going out for a walk down the same road [...] I have some sense myself of the sacred duty of surprise; and the need of seeing the old road as a new road. But I cannot claim that whenever I go out for a walk with my family and friends, I rush in front of them volleying vociferous shouts of happiness; or even leap up round them attempting to lick their faces. It is in this power of beginning again with energy upon familiar and homely things that the dog is really the eternal type of the Western civilisation.
-The New Jerusalem (1920)

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Fear is of the body, perhaps; but terror is only of the soul. The body runs with fear; it is only the soul that stands with it.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

If we believe in the sanctity of human life, it must be really be a sanctity; we must make sacrifices for it [...] There must be no murdering of men wholesale because they stand in the way of progress [...] If human life is mystical and of infinite value, murder must be really a crime.
-Lunacy and Letters (1958)

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Protection of the Bible
Daily News, April 17, 1909