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GK Chesterton

 
 
yeahman
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 06:41 am
I just recently read GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy and I was just amazed that I never heard of this guy before. Nobody seems to even know who he is.
From the www.chesterton.org website.
Quote:
Chesterton is the most unjustly neglected writer of our time. Perhaps it is proof that education is too important to be left to educators and that publishing is too important to be left to publishers, but there is no excuse why Chesterton is no longer taught in our schools and why his writing is not more widely reprinted and especially included in college anthologies.

The book I read, Orthodoxy, really seems like it should belong in philosophy classes. He wrote books of fiction too.
Anybody even heard of this guy?

Orthodoxy is available online for free. It's not a long book. It's basically an explaination of his philosophical views and his eventual conversion to orthodoxy Christianity.
http://www.ccel.org/c/chesterton/orthodoxy/orthodoxy.html
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 06:41 am
Some quotes of his...
"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."

"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid."

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."

"The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right."

"Those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it."

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God."

"The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed."

"It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged."

"Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline."

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions."

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man."

"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable."

"Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice."

"All science, even the divine science, is a sublime detective story. Only it is not set to detect why a man is dead; but the darker secret of why he is alive."

"We are learning to do a great many clever things...The next great task will be to learn not to do them."

"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it."

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die."

"I would rather a boy learnt in the roughest school the courage to hit a politician, or gained in the hardest school the learning to refute him - rather than that he should gain in the most enlightened school the cunning to copy him."

"It is assumed that the sceptic has no bias; whereas he has a very obvious bias in favour of scepticism."
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 06:57 am
Chesterton was the Dr Phil of his day. Hes a pop icon to
those who spent any time in catholic School.
Then you reach a point when you discover that life is not a collection of obvious bumper stickers
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 07:00 am
farmerman:
aptly put
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 11:50 am
I would disagree with farmerman and edgarb.
I was not educated in a catholic school system. I came upon Chesterton as a writer of mysteries in my young adulthood. I think his use of language is beautiful. It shouldn't be reduced to being thought of in 'bumper sticker' terms.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 12:12 pm
I haven't read any of his stuff in a number of decades. I go by my memory and I have to say my mind is not quite a steel trap lots of times.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 12:40 pm
well, i only gave my opinion based on the threads authors opinion that few people "know of him". Lots of people know of him but , on reflection in their later years , just wonder what all the hollering was about.
im not saying hes terrible, just someone who expresses his thoughts without any care for economy. Thats a pre-raphealite trait and a victorian "fine writing" trait i consider Poe a victorian"Fine writer" also, but at least his stories were compelling.
Beth- you and I may disagree on this but perhaps its in our appreciations of language. I feel that language is a tool to convey ideas, not a dressing over them. many writers have a habit of using powerful or beautiful phrases to mask rather tepid ideas. chesterton is, to me, one of those guys.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 12:43 pm
well, i only gave my opinion based on the threads authors opinion that few people "know of him". Lots of people know of him but , on reflection in their later years , just wonder what all the hollering was about.
im not saying hes terrible, just someone who expresses his thoughts without any care for economy. Thats a pre-raphealite trait and a victorian "fine writing" trait i consider Poe a victorian"Fine writer" also, but at least his stories were compelling.
Beth- you and I may disagree on this but perhaps its in our appreciations of language. I feel that language is a tool to convey ideas, not a dressing over them. many writers have a habit of using powerful or beautiful phrases to mask rather tepid ideas. chesterton is, to me, one of those guys.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 12:47 pm
Taking on the Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorians? Them's fightin' words, farmerman.

(But your points on prose style are well taken. I happen to like it, but I understand your objections.)
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2004 12:57 pm
dont tell me youre a pre raphealite fan? We have an entire museum devoted to the work of the Pre-Raphealiite painters including John LaFarges dabblings in it.

The ideal they try to achieve always leaves me a little depressed.
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2004 03:23 pm
GK Chesterton
Try his poetry. This will probably come as a shocker, because he used rhythm Shocked and rhyme Rolling Eyes And his poetry is easy to remember for those, among other reasons.

Sometimes his opinions are phrased rather too consciously and come rather too pat, but his poetry is fun, even at times very thoughtful. I often use his light verse in my poetry readings - it goes with a swing and reads aloud very easily. And the Father Brown mysteries are kind of neat.

So, having stumbled across Chesterton, have you caught his contemporary, Hilaire Belloc?
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Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2004 03:24 pm
GK Chesterton
And another thing - don't forget, Chesterton was of his time. He has to be viewed with that in mind.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2004 05:07 pm
yep, thats a really good point TK. i sometimes expect the Fenimore Coopers to write like Stephen King.
Point taken.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2004 03:36 pm
Re the Pre-Raphaelites: Yeah, I guess I'm a fan, though my ardor has cooled a bit as I've gotten older. Clearly, there's a lot of idealization expressed in that art, but I guess I see that art and music by certain composers (Schubert and Chopin, to name two) as esthetic expressions that I can accept, despite their irreality.

In other words, I know life ain't like that, but I can dream once in a while!
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