A Starter Course on G.K. Chesterton

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Why the Interest?
My father was an English major at college at the time that I was learning to read. He gave me a reading list, and no, Chesterton wasn't on it, though it seems like everyone else was: Swift, Orwell, Wells, Verne, Defoe, etc. I read everything, although a lot of it I didn't understand. Then when I was thirteen or so I checked out "The Father Brown Omnibus" one day -- and I was hooked. I'd never read anything like it. I had never read a writer whose writing made me think, "This person knows how to write!" Chesterton was that first find.

I knew nothing about Catholics, or even much about late 19th century England, but loved Chesterton's writing. I have read and re-read the Father Brown stories over the years. It was over twenty years before I got around to reading GKC's most famous book, _The Man Who Was Thursday_. Then later I went on to read his non-fiction--which is often just as funny and insightful. The local libraries often have copies of Chesterton's works that are over fifty years old -- and still being checked out.

Chesterton also wrote a column for the Illustrated London News from 1905 until 1936 and I've been reading that for the past four years. That's there I get most of the quotes that I link to below. It gives a different feel to that section of world history.

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Brief bio sketch
Gilbert Keith ("G.K.") Chesterton was born on May 29th, 1874 on Campden Hill, Kensington (which I gather is in England somewhere). And he wrote, and wrote, and wrote ... cranking out newspaper columns, books, poetry, reviews, etc. At some point (Sunday, July 30, 1922 if you're curious) he converted from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church, which really ticked off his good friend, George Bernard Shaw. He died on June 14th of 1936, a Tuesday.

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He's best known for three types of work:
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Web Resources and Chesterton:
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How to Get His Books
It's possible to find several of Chesterton's in the fiction or classics section of the bookstore or the library. "The Father Brown Omnibus" is pretty commonly available.
Ignatius Press is trying to get all of Chesterton's works into print. Over the past few years they've been collecting his London Illustrated News columns. They take credit card orders (min. of $20) at 1-800-651-1531 (through a service bureau.) The address is Ignatius Press, Post Office Box 1339, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA if you want a catalog ($1, I think).

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Quotes
Chesterton Quotes

More Chesterton [1926-1928]

It is the beginning of all true criticism of our time to realize that it has really nothing to say, at the very moment when it has invented so tremendous a trumpet for saying it. [in 1923]

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