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Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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Need help with G.K. Chesterton quote [03 Jul 2009|10:38pm]

I am looking for a quote by G.K. Chesterton, something to the extent that people in an age would always warn most strenuously against the danger that was furthest way. That is people in an age of reason would warn against the dangers of excessive emotion, while people in an age of emotion would warn against the dangers of reason. Like people aboard a sinking ship who always begin to bail out the wrong section.

This is paraphrasing a lot, I would really like to find the full quote and I'd appreciate your help.
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[11 Nov 2008|09:15pm]

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The Seven Thrones scene in The Man who was Thursday [29 Jan 2008|04:46pm]

A while ago I wrote a post on my own livejournal about the last chapter of The Man who was Thursday. I'm not sure if anyone else would be interested in reading it, but I thought I'd post it here just in case. I ought to warn you, it probably won't make a lot of sense to you unless you've read the book recently or remember it quite well.

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GK Chesterton Podcast [22 Jan 2008|01:40pm]

I'm a college student and fan of GK Chesterton, and I credit him with (among other things) converting me to Catholicism (before I was an atheist).

I'd hate to introduce myself AND spam the community in one entry, but I promise to do it only once. :)

Just over a month ago I started a GK Chesterton podcast. Since Chesterton's works are public domain, I felt that someone should get busy making them available, for free, in multiple formats. So I cracked open my first Chesterton collected works book and started reading "Heretics" into a microphone.

I have made 11 of chapters of Heretics available for free download so far. I add one chapter a week, usually on Monday or Tuesday. I have a one month buffer (I've actually recorded up to chapter 16), so you don't have to worry about constant delays or the podcast disappearing mid-book.

The podcast is available at http://chestercast.podbean.com or you can click here if you use iTunes.

If you don't have iTunes or any other podcasting aggregation software, you can either download the chapters in MP3 format from the webpage, or listen on the webpage from your browser.

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Hello. [15 Nov 2006|03:52pm]

New member, quick question.

I know that Chesterton is known for describing suicide as "the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence." Can anyone cite that for me? What's it from? A link to its source? I was discussing his views on suicide with my AP English professor today, and I find his perspective very interesting. Does anyone know what text that is from?
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on man and superman? [03 Sep 2006|07:52am]

Is there an online version of GKC's "Man v The Superman," review of GBS's play?

Many thanks.
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green knight and struwelpeter [30 Aug 2006|11:00am]

Perhaps GKC means Innocent's comparison to the equally disruptive Green Knight throughout MANALIVE.

"The hat with the two shot-holes in it rolled upon the gravel path before him, and Innocent Smith came round the corner like a railway train. He was looking twice his proper size--a giant clad in green, the big revolver still smoking in his hand, his face sanguine and in shadow, his eyes blazing like all stars, and his yellow hair standing out all ways like Struwelpeter's.
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from WHAT ARE PEOPLE FOR? would this quote be a complement to GKC's Distributism? [23 Aug 2006|01:17pm]

"The test of imagination, ultimately, is not the territory of art or the territory of the mind, but the territory underfoot. That is not to say that there is no territory of art or of the mind, only that it is not a separate territory. It is not exempt either from the principles above it or from the country below it. It is a territory, then, that is subject to correction — by, among other things, paying attention. To remove it from the possibility of correction is finally to destroy art and thought, and the territory underfoot as well.
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WHAT ARE PEOPLE FOR? essays by Wendell Berry, "Writer and Region"
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[06 Aug 2006|08:26am]

Er, not that this would apply to *me* or anything
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GKC on Romanticism and Children [02 Jul 2006|11:00pm]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

I saw this post on the Traditional Catholic blog "Against All Heresies". It has to do with our society's currrent moves against child-bearing and raising, seeing is at not "romantic" enough. In it was a pertinent quote by the mighty Gilbert:

Romance is more solid than realism, and that for a very evident reason. The things that men happen to get in this life depend upon quite shifting accidents and conditions. But the things that they desire and dream of are always the same.

Here is the link to the post:


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A Multitude of Greetings! [11 Jun 2006|01:40pm]

[ mood | grateful ]

Hello, this is Crossed Keys. I am a columnist for Gilbert Magazine, and have been on LJ for a while. I just found your LJ Community, and am happy to have joined it.

*bows to the community*

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GKC Conference [29 May 2006|09:28pm]

Is anyone planning on going to the Conference? :D
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A little sanity for us all [23 May 2006|02:20pm]

From the Outline of Sanity:


On both those occasions he denied me liberty of expression
because I said that the widely advertised stores and large shops
were really worse than little shops. That, it may be interesting
to note, is one of the things that a man is now forbidden to say;
perhaps the only thing he is really forbidden to say.
If it had been an attack on Government, it would have been tolerated.
If it had been an attack on God, it would have been respectfully
and tactfully applauded. If I had been abusing marriage
or patriotism or public decency, I should have been heralded
in headlines and allowed to sprawl across Sunday newspapers.
But the big newspaper is not likely to attack the big shop; being itself
a big shop in its way and more and more a monument of monopoly.
But it will be well if I repeat here in a book what I found it impossible
to repeat in an article. I think the big shop is a bad shop.
I think it bad not only in a moral but a mercantile sense; that is,
I think shopping there is not only a bad action but a bad bargain.
I think the monster emporium is not only vulgar and insolent,
but incompetent and uncomfortable; and I deny that its large organization
is efficient. Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would
be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization.
The only thing perfectly organic is an organism; like that grotesque
and obscure organism called a man. He alone can be quite certain of doing
what he wants; beyond him, every extra man may be an extra mistake.
As applied to things like shops, the whole thing is an utter fallacy.
Some things like armies have to be organized; and therefore do their
very best to be well organized. You must have a long rigid line
stretched out to guard a frontier; and therefore you stretch it tight.
But it is not true that you must have a long rigid line of people
trimming hats or tying bouquets, in order that they may be trimmed
or tied neatly. The work is much more likely to be neat if it
is done by a particular craftsman for a particular customer with
particular ribbons and flowers. The person told to trim the hat
will never do it quite suitably to the person who wants it trimmed;
and the hundredth person told to do it will do it badly; as he does.
If we collected all the stories from all the housewives
and householders about the big shops sending the wrong goods,
smashing the right goods, forgetting to send any sort of goods,
we should behold a welter of inefficiency. There are far
more blunders in a big shop than ever happen in a small shop,
where the individual customer can curse the individual shopkeeper.
Confronted with modern efficiency the customer is silent;
well aware of that organization's talent for sacking the wrong man.
In short, organization is a necessary evil--which in this case
is not necessary.


It's amazing how easily we forget, here in the 21st century, how poor the quality of almost everything we buy really is - because everything is done in an assembly line or by a machine. People think this mass production capability has made us wealthy... but in reality, it has just allowed the wealthy to buy everything worth having, and left the rest of us rich in naught but garbage.
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Chesterton: Movie Mogul [16 Jan 2006|12:03pm]

With the success of the movies based on Tolkien and Lewis' novels, I can't help but wonder which novel of Chesterton's would make the best film. I don't think it would be utterly hard, as most of his novels were fast-paced and had plenty of action. Would one of his distributist tales, like "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" or "The Flying Inn" make the best film? Or perhaps a religiously-themed work like "The Ball and The Cross." Or maybe the surreal action of "The Man Who Was Thursday."

In many ways, these novels are far more movie-friendly than the (sometimes meandering) prose of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien.
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Literature Club :D [10 Jan 2006|09:02am]

Hullo! I just wanted to advertise an online literary club that my friend and I have started. I thought it may interest you because the first book we have chosen is The Man Who Was Thursday. If you are interested, we would love to have anyone come and discuss. :D

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Chesterton on Guilds, Capitalism [05 Nov 2005|12:53pm]

An excerpt from Chaucer,

"The modern world has immeasurably surpassed the medieval world in organization and the application of such ideas as it has; so that the general improvement in certain kinds of humanity, certain kinds of instruction, and certain kinds of arbitration and order, is not merely an idea, but a material fact. But that does not alter the moral fact; that when we compare medieval ideas with modern ideas, we often find that the modern ideas are comparatively hasty, superficial or unbalanced; or else that the ideas, as ideas, really do not exist at all. There could not be a better example than the comparison between the idea of Guilds with the fact of Capitalism. The idea of Guilds was worked out very narrowly and imperfectly; and the fact of Capitalism may work out, at least in the opinion of some, more practically and prosperously. But there was an idea of Guilds; and there is not and never was any idea in Capitalism. Nobody knew where it came from; nobody especially wanted it to come. Nobody knew where it was going to; and at this moment it appears to be going striaght to sheer strangling Monopoly and then to bankruptcy.
   Nobody understands the modern world who does not realize this primary truth. The modern world began with the problem of the grocer and the grocer's assistant. It is in fact ending with a vast growth of grocers' assistants and no grocer. It must still be emphasized, obvious as it is, that the grocers' assitants have not grown into grocers. They have all remained assistants; only, instead of assisting a humble human grocer, with a soul to be saved, they are assisting the International Stores or the Universal Provision Department.

Also posted to my new distributism
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A timely essay on horror. [27 Oct 2005|01:55pm]

[ mood | okay ]

An excerpt from the essay "The Nightmare" by G.K. Chesterton:

"In one of Stevenson's letters there is a characteristically humorous remark about the appalling impression produced on him in childhood by the beasts with many eyes in the Book of Revelations: 'If that was heaven, what in the name of Davy Jones was hell like?' Now in sober truth there is a magnificent idea in these monsters of the Apocalypse. It is, I suppose, the idea that beings really more beautiful or more universal than we are might appear to us frightful and even confused. Especially they might seem to have senses at once more multiplex and more staring; an idea very imaginatively seized in the multitude of eyes. I like those monsters beneath the throne very much. It is when one of them goes wandering in deserts and finds a throne for himself that evil faiths begin, and there is (literally) the devil to pay-to pay in dancing girls or human sacrifice. As long as those misshapen elemental powers are around the throne, remember that the thing that they worship is the likeness of the appearance of a man.

"That is, I fancy, the true doctrine on the subject of Tales of Terror and such things, which unless a man of letters do well and truly believe, without doubt he will end by blowing his brains out or by writing badly. Man, the central pillar of the world must be upright and straight; around him all the trees and beasts and elements and devils may crook and curl like smoke if they choose. All really imaginative literature is only the contrast between the weird curves of Nature and the straightness of the soul. Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.

You can read the rest here.

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No Chaucer? [29 Sep 2005|09:15pm]

I just read G.K. Chesterton's introductory Chaucer, from the local college library. It's available in no other local library. It's out of print except in volume 18 of the Collected Works (which, while ugly, is surprisingly cheap). And it's apparently not transcribed online. Is it still in copyright? The last printing of the book I read was in the sixties. :P

That was an amazing book. If you liked, say, C.S. Lewis' treatment of the medieval world in The Discarded Image, you absolutely must read Chesterton on Chaucer, which is of course to say Chesterton on everything from the whole darn Middle Ages to modern economics. I was not aware that Chaucer was not just a Middle English poet, but by his work essentially remade English into a proper, respectable language. Little tidbits like that were neglected in my lit classes.

I am so inspired by this: Lewis and Chesterton talking about literature is almost more fun that literature itself. I think it's unfortunate that their literary studies are read much less than their other books, when they're among their most important writings. Chaucer is going to live forever. Secularism is not.

I just joined this group, but I really feel that Chesterton is too big for a community. There's just too much of him. As I indicate, even this short book on Chaucer is too quotable and too discussable on too many topics.
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[29 Jul 2005|09:11pm]
Chesterton: A Spirit of Vatican II Bibliography
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