GK Chesterton, forgotten debater, theologist, all around awesome guy.

“This absent-minded, overgrown elf of a man, who laughed at his own jokes and amused children at birthday parties by catching buns in his mouth, this was the man who wrote a book called The Everlasting Man, which led a young atheist named C.S. Lewis to become a Christian. This was the man who wrote a novel called The Napoleon of Notting Hill, which inspired Michael Collins to lead a movement for Irish Independence. This was the man who wrote an essay in the Illustrated London News that inspired Mohandas Gandhi to lead a movement to end British colonial rule in India.”
Who is This Guy and Why Haven’t I Heard of Him? by Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society

I hate to admit it, but the reason I looked up GK Chesterton was because of a character in a book named after him. The character? A cat named Chester. The book? One I read and found amusing as a child, and rediscovered in a box of books donated to the Mentoring Program. It’s called… Bunnicula, by James Howe. About a vampire bunny that preys on veggies and leaves them desiccated and white. I owe that peculiar little book two debts, for it makes me laugh aloud every time I read it, and it made me want to learn about one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever heard of.

As a person, he sounds like someone I’d want to know. Odd in appearance and behavior, brilliant but not above childlike wonder and joy. He was 6’4″ and wore a cape!!!

Chesterton debated many of the celebrated intellectuals of his time: George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Clarence Darrow. According to contemporary accounts, Chesterton usually emerged as the winner of these contests, however, the world has immortalized his opponents and forgotten Chesterton, and now we hear only one side of the argument, and we are enduring the legacies of socialism, relativism, materialism, and skepticism. Ironically, all of his opponents regarded Chesterton with the greatest affection. And George Bernard Shaw said: ‘The world is not thankful enough for Chesterton’ .”

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”  Everlasting Man, 1925

“He is a [sane] man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.”  Tremendous Trifles, 1909

“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.” What I Saw In America, 1922

“I have formed a very clear conception of patriotism. I have generally found it thrust into the foreground by some fellow who has something to hide in the background. I have seen a great deal of patriotism; and I have generally found it the last refuge of the scoundrel.”  The Judgement of Dr. Johnson, Act III

A few of my favorite quotes. So far, at least. I think he might be giving CS Lewis a run for favorite writer of their time!

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~ by Trillian on 09/14/2010.

One Response to “GK Chesterton, forgotten debater, theologist, all around awesome guy.”

  1. Love Chesterton. And Lewis.

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