The genius and grace of G K Chesterton

Sep 12, 2021 by

by Peter Mullen, TCW:

[…] Gilbert Keith Chesterton had a mind that was almost too big for his huge body and he once said, ‘My height is six feet three inches, but my weight has never been accurately calculated.’

He was born in London where he attended St Paul’s School and studied art at the Slade. From the start he was a prolific essayist and journalist for magazines such as The Bookman, The Illustrated London News and The Speaker. From 1925 he published his own magazine, G.K.’s Weekly. His first books were collections of poetry: The Wild Knight (1900)and Greybeards at Play in the same year. In 1904 he published the brilliantly original and surreal anti-imperial satire The Napoleon of Notting Hill. He was married to Frances Blogg, to whom he was deeply devoted.

Chesterton produced perceptive studies of Browning, Dickens and Stevenson. While still an Anglican, he published in 1909 Orthodoxy – a persuasive and highly entertaining defence of the Christian faith. In 1911 he introduced his eccentric fictional detective in The Innocence of Father Brown. In 1922 he became a Roman Catholic and produced studies of St Thomas Aquinas and St Francis of Assisi. His hilarious Autobiography was published posthumously in 1936.

A man with strong family ties, Chesterton has fond recollections of his grandfather, but they are not just fond recollections, they are moving spiritual insights:

‘People were criticising the General Thanksgiving in the Prayer Book and remarking that a good many people have very little reason to be thankful for their creation. And the old man, who was then so old that he hardly ever spoke at all, said suddenly out of his silence, “I should thank God for my creation even if I knew I was a lost soul”.’

Read here

See also: Introducing G.K.Chesterton, by David Pickering, Anglican Mainstream


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