G. K. Chesterton

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Chesterton, G. K.

Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith Chesterton), 1874–1936, English author. Conservative, even reactionary, in his thinking, Chesterton was a convert (1922) to Roman Catholicism and its champion. He has been called the “prince of paradox” because his dogma is often hidden beneath a light, energetic, and whimsical style. A prolific writer, Chesterton wrote studies of Browning (1903) and Dickens (1906); several novels including The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904) and The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), a metaphysical terrorist thriller; a noted series of crime stories featuring Father Brown as detective; many poems, collected in 1927; and his famous essays, collected in Tremendous Trifles (1909), Come to Think of It (1930), and other volumes. He was the editor of G. K.'s Weekly, an organ of the Distributist League, which advocated a smallholding agricultural system. An amusing artist, he also illustrated books by Hilaire Belloc, his friend and collaborator.


See his autobiography (1936); the Ignatius Press edition of his complete works (1990–); biographies by D. Barker (1973), M. Ffinch (1986), and I. Ker (2011); studies by C. Hollis (1970), J. West (1915, repr. 1973), A. S. Dale (1985), and Q. Lauer (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(6.) Christopher Dawson, "Letter to G. K. Chesterton," Chesterton Review 9, no.
(7.) Diary entry, January 5, 1891, cited by Oddie, "The Philosemitism of G. K. Chesterton," 127.
(10.) G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1947), 166.
The first chapter, "G. K. Chesterton, Journalist," explains how it is that the man who was best known for his supernal speculations on the nature of man, the cosmos, and God, and who was a jack of all trades and master of all--literature, theology, philosophy, poetry, detective stories, humor, science, literary criticism, politics, apologetics, economics, history, biography, travel--could identify himself in the end as merely a journalist.
Those interested in G. K. Chesterton and his writings, Roman Catholicism in early-twentieth-century England, the dynamics of conversion, and religious apologetics will enjoy Fagerberg's book.
(5) See Margaret Canovan, G. K. Chesterton: Radical Populist.
While Chesterton is rarely autobiographical in a direct way (and some have complained that the only thing missing in The Autobiography of G. K. Chesterton is the man himself), Newman was self-conscious in a way that might seem to some eccentric or even unbalanced.
Pearce's rebirth politically, from a 1980s skinhead and sometime candidate for the National Front, to Christian biographer and Roman Catholic (he was received into the Church in 1989), was mid-wifed by that splendid Christian apologist, G. K. Chesterton (of whom Pearce has written an insightful life: Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.
After leaving school he found a job in London, where he read G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy (1908).
The answer to this question is explained in this very book, in which G. K. Chesterton, the noted novelist, essayist, controversialist, and poet, is defended as a metaphysician as well.
ALTHOUGH G. K. Chesterton wrote literary biographies throughout his career (his first was Robert Browning in 1903 and his last Chaucer in 1932), three volumes in particular--Robert Browning (1903), George Bernard Shaw (1909), and William Blake (1910)--not only display Chesterton's critical creativity at its peak, but also illustrate most clearly his critical practice of treating his subject as an occasion to explore what he saw as far more important questions than those which tended to obsess conventional Victorian biographical criticism: questions of historical circumstances, influences, schools, and stylistics.