G. K. Chesterton

Novelist, Author

1874 – 1936


Who was G. K. Chesterton?

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG better known as G.K. Chesterton, was an English writer, lay theologian, poet, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox." Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."

Chesterton is well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as a political thinker, cast aspersions on both Progressivism and Conservatism, saying, "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton's "friendly enemy" according to Time, said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius." Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, John Henry Cardinal Newman, and John Ruskin.

Famous Quotes:

  • Half a truth is better than no politics.
  • A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.
  • The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.
  • A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.
  • To be clever enough to get all the money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
  • Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.
  • People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.
  • Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.
  • One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.
  • When we really worship anything, we love not only its clearness but its obscurity. We exult in its very invisibility.

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May 29, 1874
Also known as
  • Gilbert Keith Chesterton
  • G.K. Chesterton
  • Catholicism
  • England
  • United Kingdom
  • University College London
  • Slade School of Fine Art
  • St Paul's School, London
Jun 14, 1936

on July 23, 2013


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