Friday, 8 June 2012

G.K. Chesterton

For a while, far too long in my opinion, the homeland of the great writer forgot about him; Great Britain neglected to remember his genius let alone proclaim it from literary rafters. Thankfully, America didn’t. It was across the Atlantic that the name of Gilbert Keith Chesterton was fondly given status. We owe our cousins across the way a debt of thanks for G.K. Chesterton ranks high on the canon of literatures greats. He is up among Dickens and Tolstoy if not for his novels, of which he wrote many, but also for the sheer volume of articles, essays, fictions, short stories, plays, poems, and other works of merit that were published during his lifetime. He was a novelist, an essayist, a journalist and a poet and all his works are marked by the same degree of high quality.

Dubbed the ‘Prince of Paradox,’ Chesterton was born into polite society; that is to say his stock was good and he was of the middle classes. Something I imagine he would have scoffed at as the notion would have been meaningless and lost on him. Nonetheless, his upbringing was privileged. He was born in eighteen seventy four in Kensington, London. His education - St. Paul’s School then Slade School of Art, where he studied to be an illustrator and finally at University College London, where he failed to get a degree - fully prepared him for his future career. He began working for the London publisher Redway, and T. Fisher Unwin, In 1896 where he stayed until 1902. It was whilst employed here that he began to write his now famous art and literary critiques.

He married Frances Blogg in nineteen hundred and one with whom he faithfully remained until his death in nineteen thirty four. It was a good marriage with Frances, in light of Chesterton’s forgetful ways, proving to be a stout friend as well as loving wife. He often forgot why and where he was travelling to and would telegram home asking for help. Frances always remained cool, calm and collected and assisted him whenever he needed.

There are three major reasons I so like Chesterton and they are these: his essays are concise and easy to read, his Father Brown short stories are equal to anything Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie ever wrote whilst his and Hilaire Belloc’s self-conceptualised, self-created Distributism theory, in direct opposition to both Communism and Capitalism, was and remains such a well-considered alternative. The current UK Prime Minister, with all his wishy-washy ways, tried to camouflage the Chesterbelloc creation by calling it ‘The Big Society.

G.K. Chesterton is one of those remarkable chaps who invest huge amounts of intellect into a variety of subjects that often are overlooked until some bright spark recognises not only the value of the novels, the beauty of the poetry, the authority of the biography’s, the wit of the short stories but also the undeniable brilliance of the man’s thinking. Make no mistake, Chesterton was brilliant,

.
.
.

.
.
.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers and then tickles the bees knees

1 comment:

twh said...

yes, he was!