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)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




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)

Monday, November 27, 2017

"But you are unhappy because you disbelieve in evil, and think it philosophical to see everything in the same light of grey..."

"...Forgive me if I imagine things for you, so to speak; it is a way I have. You have studied superstitions all over the world, and you have seen things compared with which all that talk of salt and table-knives is like a child's game of consequences. You have been in the dark forests over which the vampire seems to pass more vast than a dragon; or in the mountains of the werewolf, where men say a man can see in the face of his friend or his wife the eyes of a wild beast. You have known people who had real superstitions; black, towering, terrific superstitions; you have lived with those people; and I want to ask you a question about them."

"You seem to know something about them yourself," answered Noel; "but I will answer any question you like."

"Were they not happier men than you?"

Gale paused a moment as he put the question, and then went on. "Did they not in fact sing more songs, and dance more dances, and drink wine with more real merriment? That was because they believed in evil. In evil spells, perhaps, in evil luck, in evil under all sorts of stupid and ignorant symbols; but still in something to be fought. They at least read things in black and white, and saw life as the battlefield it is. But you are unhappy because you disbelieve in evil, and think it philosophical to see everything in the same light of grey..."
The Poet and the Lunatics (1929)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"Were you ever an isosceles triangle?"

Gale still lay in the shadow of the thick trees staring up at the birds, as if he had never stirred. Garth called to him by name, but it was only after a silence that Gale spoke. What he said was:
"Were you ever an isosceles triangle?"
"Very seldom," replied Garth with restraint. "May I ask what the devil you are talking about?"
"Only something that I was thinking about," answered the poet, lifting himself up to one elbow. "I wondered whether it would be a cramping sort of thing to be surrounded by straight lines, and whether being in a circle would be any better. Did anybody ever live in a round prison?"'
-The Poet and the Lunatics (1929)

Friday, November 24, 2017

"There is no cure for that nightmare of omnipotence except pain..."

"I also dreamed that I had dreamed of the whole creation. I had given myself the stars for a gift; I had handed myself the sun and moon. I had been behind and at the beginning of all things; and without me nothing was made that was made. Anybody who has been in that centre of the cosmos knows that it is to be in hell. And there is only one cure for it. Oh, I know that people have written all kinds of cant and false comfort about the cause of evil; and of why there is pain in the world. God forbid that we should add ourselves to such a chattering monkey-house of moralists. But for all that, this truth is true; objectively and experimentally true. There is no cure for that nightmare of omnipotence except pain; because that is the thing a man knows he would not tolerate if he could really control it. A man must be in some place from which he would certainly escape if he could, if he is really to realize that all things do not come from within. That is the meaning of that mad parable or mystery play you have seen acted here like an allegory. I doubt whether any of our action is really anything but an allegory. I doubt whether any truth can be told except in a parable. There was a man who saw himself sitting in the sky; and his servants the angels went to and fro in coloured garments of cloud and flame and the pageant of the seasons; but he was over all and his face seemed to fill the heavens. And, God forgive me for blasphemy, but I nailed him to a tree."
-The Poet and the Lunatics (1929)

Monday, November 20, 2017

"... we must always realise not only the humanity of the oppressed, but even the humanity of the oppressor."

The one thing [Dickens] did not describe in any of the abuses he denounced was the soul-destroying potency of routine. He made out the bad school, the bad parochial system, the bad debtor's prison as very much jollier and more exciting than they may really have been. In a sense, then, he flattered them; but he destroyed them with the flattery. By making Mrs. Gamp delightful he made her impossible. He gave every one an interest in Mr. Bumble's existence; and by the same act gave every one an interest in his destruction. It would be difficult to find a stronger instance of the utility and energy of the method which we have, for the sake of argument, called the method of the optimistic reformer. As long as low Yorkshire schools were entirely colourless and dreary, they continued quietly tolerated by the public and quietly intolerable to the victims. So long as Squeers was dull as well as cruel he was permitted; the moment he became amusing as well as cruel he was destroyed. As long as Bumble was merely inhuman he was allowed. When he became human, humanity wiped him right out. For in order to do these great acts of justice we must always realise not only the humanity of the oppressed, but even the humanity of the oppressor. The satirist had, in a sense, to create the images in the mind before, as an iconoclast, he could destroy them. Dickens had to make Squeers live before be could make him die.
-Charles Dickens (1906)

Friday, November 17, 2017

"...the artist is not so much to copy the works of God as to copy the work of God..."

[...] the artist is not so much to copy the works of God as to copy the work of God, in the sense of the working of God; or the way in which God works. There will be in his art the same, or some approximation to the same, spirit and tendency of line and motion and balance; because there is only one creation and no inspiration from outside it. But the work will rather be that of the child of God making his own smaller world than the servant of God copying the details of the larger one. And as even the Divine Creator pours forth his cataracts in a manner proper to water and not to something else, as he carves even his trees in a style properly to be called wood-carving and not stone-carving, as he hollows the rock in one way and the wave in another, so the human creator also is right to recognise the materials in which his meaning is bodied forth; and to express it in his own materials and not in an imitation of the cosmic materials. As Mr. Gill once expressed it in a speech somewhere, "A sculptor has to make a man; but it has to be a stone man. It has to be the sort of man that God would have made, if He had chosen to make him in stone."
-A Handful of Authors (1953)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stephen King reference to GKC

Stephen King, in his book Danse Macabre, while commenting on Jekyll and Hyde, mentions GKC:
Like a police-court trial (to which the critic G.K. Chesterton compared it), we get the narrative through a series of different voices, and it is through the testimony of those involved that Dr. Jekyll's unhappy tale unfolds.

Friday, October 6, 2017

"Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit."

Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit. Facts by themselves can often feed the flame of madness, because sanity is a spirit. Consider the huge accumulations of detail piled up by men who have some crazy hobby of believing that Herodotus wrote Homer or that the Great Pyramid was a prophecy of the Great War. Consider the concrete circumstances and connected narratives that can often be given at vast lengths and in laborious detail by men who suffer from a  delusion of being persecuted, or being disinherited, or being the rightful King of England. These men are maddened by material facts; they are lunatics not by their fancies but by having learned too many facts. What they lack is proportion: a thing as invisible as beauty, as inscrutable as God.
-Come to Think of It (1930)