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 Post subject: G.K. Chesterton
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 12:25 pm 
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I've heard a lot about Chesterton recently, and would love to read some of his stuff. The problem is, there's so much of it! I don't know where to begin. Can anyone recommend a good book/article or two for a beginning Chesterton reader? Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:49 pm 
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Well, there are over 90 books that he wrote.... what are you interested in?
I love fiction (which means that's probably the last thing you are interested in) so I loved The Man Who Was Thursday, a great laugh; The Ballad of the White Horse, a stunning prose poem he wrote in commeration of Alfred the Great defeating the Vikings when they invaded, beautiful; the Father Brown detective stories are incredibly popular and I have loved what I have read of them...
The most popular works I have seen cited by others are, Orthodoxy, of course, which I have read and loved; The Everlasting Man, which has been very influential on others (but I wasn't as crazy about, but many many others have loved it, even hailed it as his best) and What's Wrong With the World and How to Fix It (I think that's that whole title) which possesses all of his wit and insight. If you have some of his specific titles in mind, you might want to post those, surely someone around here has read them.
Happy Reading!!!!

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:53 pm 
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You may want to try this site

http://www.chesterton.org/

It has helpful info for beginners and a reading recommendation list.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Father Brown and the Church of Rome (an annotated complilation published by Ignatius Press) is excellent, easy read, short stories, very enjoyable ...


Last edited by Zeno on Sat May 14, 2005 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:45 pm 
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First place I'd suggest is "G.K. Chesterton - The Apostle of Common Sense" by Dale Alquist, President of the American Chesterton Society. He wrote it based on his first series on EWTN and it has excellent summary information on all GK's major writings. Plus IIRC the last chapter is a reading approach/recommendation.

Great way to get introduced to GK and to make that decision on what GK to read first.

(BTW, we here in the Rochester Chesterton Society may have some differing opinions as whether Orthodoxy or The Everlasting Man should be the first read, I'd like to suggest his books on St. Thomas and St. Francis. Both are available in a single volume from Ignatius.)

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:53 am 
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I read The Balll and the Cross in my first and only foray into Chesterton's work. I was actually looking for some of his essays, but this was all the bookstore had to offer (and being sometimes prone to wanting things now, I succumbed and bought).

I doubt it was his best work, but it had its moments. I intend to read much more of his work.

As a student of literature, I'm appalled by what the postmodern era has done to the literary canon. I was perfectly happy with the exploded canon when I was doing graduate work (and, boy, do my papers and thesis sow it), but I now realize just how much I lost out on because of the openness of the literature studies during my graduate studies.

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:33 am 
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My favorite works by Chesterton are:

The Man Who Was Thursday [novel]
Heretics [essays]
"The Hammer of God" [short story]
"The Invisible Man" [short story]

Heretics requires the reader to have some cultural knowledge of nineteenth-century English literature becasue Chesterton devotes each essay to a certain figure.

Also, the books of short stories called The Innocence of Father Brown and The Wisdom of Father Brown are okay.

Technicoid wrote:
I'm appalled by what the postmodern era has done to the literary canon.

What do you think has been done that shouldn't have been?


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:40 am 
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I listened to the archives at EWTN to gain some insight and appreciation of Chesterton. I was pleasantly surprised my local library had some Chesterton.

http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/fil ... 6140&pgnu=

http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/fil ... 6703&pgnu=

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:10 pm 
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You might also want to check out "The Apostle of Common Sense" Sunday nights at 9:00 EST on EWTN.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:33 pm 
I really like some of his more philosophical works, if you are at all into philosophy I would definitley suggest "What's wrong with the world." That was one of the most profound looks at our world I have ever read and I was blown away by how much it still applies to our world today!!


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:37 pm 
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Also, Fr. Kimel AKA The Pontificator, who made noise last week with his announcing his conversion from the Episcopal Church to the Catholic Church, has posted some things from G. K. Chesterton about conversion on his blog in recent days. You can get to them from my blog (shameless plug - click on the image below - it is the most recent post) or go directly to his blog.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 3:30 pm 
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caleb wrote:
Technicoid wrote:
I'm appalled by what the postmodern era has done to the literary canon.

What do you think has been done that shouldn't have been?


In most universities, the idea of a canon doesn't even really exist anymore. There are different genres, and each is accorded esteem, regardless of whether or not the esteem is deserved.

When I was preparing for the GRE subject test in literature, I discovered I was woefullly lacking in many areas of study, primarily because the subject test focused on the pre-1960s literary canon. At my university, the big thing was modern (read "contemporary") British and American literature, feminist literature, postcolonial lit, contemporary authors and such. My ex-wife, who also has an MA in English, never once took a class in Shakespeare. I doubt she ever took a course in literature prior to the 1800s.

Disregard for the canon was largely a rejection of authority and the values of thr predominant culture. If you reject the authority defining the values, what good are the things they considered of value? I know that's a bit tautological, but you get the point. No authority, no canon. (Hey, that sounds familiar.)

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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 2:01 am 
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I don't particularly enjoy fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed Chesterton's non-fiction apologetic, Orthodoxy.

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