Thursday, May 15, 2014


G.K. Chesterton was a physically formidable man, standing 6' 4" and weighing 286 lbs. He had an intellect to match. He was a prolific writer and I have now read two of his more famous books, "Orthodoxy" being the first. His now famous style begins to grate if you read his works too steadily. He would take a common parable or axiom, or saying, and turn it inside out, up-side down, and state that the exact opposite is true. It is truly remarkable how often and how effectively he does this.
In this book, he devotes a chapter to each one, on a list of his contemporaries, and then analyses their philosophy, their art, their work, or their religion and then proceeds to straighten them out. You would think he would have enemies by so doing, but he was a popular fellow and it was not easy to argue against his reasons for criticism.
I found the book a bit obscure in that it was written for its time, making reference to locations, books, news stories, and people of his times. The ideas, which at times are difficult to extract, are timeless, in a general sort of way, but one would have to read the book several times for these arguments to stick to one's memory, or at least this would be the case for me.
Chesterton is quoted often and with glee. His witticisms are similar to those of Winston Churchill, as in his retort to a lady who addressed him as to why "he was not up front" as pertaining to being in the front lines of WWI. To which he replied," If you go around my side, you will see that I am 'up front'". (He was a rather large man who loved his food and drink.)
I believe I will put Chesterton aside for now, having read his two most popular books, and will read something light for a change. My brain is feeling a bit like a wage earner on April 30th, taxed.
2 stars  

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