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 Post subject: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:48 pm 
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Master
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I've enjoyed many of Joseph Pearce's books. This one?? Not as much. It's dry in parts - especially during parts of Belloc's political career. The flow of the narrative seems at times to unravel in bits of detail that isn't all that interesting.

The book is long but the chapters are brief. Sometimes leaving me wondering what the chapter titling had to do with the contents of that chapter aside from the fact that maybe a name noted in the chapter title appears in that chapter, "oh sure enough... there's the name Buchan."

The book does have some interesting moments: when Shaw and Cecil Chesterton debated with Belloc and GK Chesterton. But it only briefly touched on that. I get it's not a book about Cecil but it's fascinating to see that Cecil went from holding an opposite view on something like Socialism (I think it said Cecil was a Fabian socialist) from Belloc only to the former being warmed over by the latter.

Another thing: there was a section in the book where Pearce mentions how GK Chesterton had completely omitted Maurice Baring's presence in an outing that Mr & Mrs Belloc and Mr & Mrs Chesterton (along with Baring) had together... when Chesterton after the fact had written about it. It seemed to imply something, the way Pearce presented the fact, regarding GK's view on Baring.
Immediately before this story Pearce had mentioned how Baring was greatly offended at Shaw's "ChesterBelloc" article. How he wrote to GK letting him know it and how GK essentially said "calm down, I think it's funny".
Those two instances back to back seemed to make the relationship between Chesterton and Baring appear 'chilled'.

GKC (our GKC), are you familiar with Cecil Chesterton? I find him to be fascinating: arguing with Shaw against ChesterBelloc... being very critical of those two on their views. According to Pearce, a man of action (much like Belloc) opposed to being more a man of thought (like GK).

One more thing - GK Chesterton's wife was very attractive. Lucky fella!

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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 1:45 pm 
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Some Poor Bibliophile
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p.falk wrote:
I've enjoyed many of Joseph Pearce's books. This one?? Not as much. It's dry in parts - especially during parts of Belloc's political career. The flow of the narrative seems at times to unravel in bits of detail that isn't all that interesting.

The book is long but the chapters are brief. Sometimes leaving me wondering what the chapter titling had to do with the contents of that chapter aside from the fact that maybe a name noted in the chapter title appears in that chapter, "oh sure enough... there's the name Buchan."

The book does have some interesting moments: when Shaw and Cecil Chesterton debated with Belloc and GK Chesterton. But it only briefly touched on that. I get it's not a book about Cecil but it's fascinating to see that Cecil went from holding an opposite view on something like Socialism (I think it said Cecil was a Fabian socialist) from Belloc only to the former being warmed over by the latter.

Another thing: there was a section in the book where Pearce mentions how GK Chesterton had completely omitted Maurice Baring's presence in an outing that Mr & Mrs Belloc and Mr & Mrs Chesterton (along with Baring) had together... when Chesterton after the fact had written about it. It seemed to imply something, the way Pearce presented the fact, regarding GK's view on Baring.
Immediately before this story Pearce had mentioned how Baring was greatly offended at Shaw's "ChesterBelloc" article. How he wrote to GK letting him know it and how GK essentially said "calm down, I think it's funny".
Those two instances back to back seemed to make the relationship between Chesterton and Baring appear 'chilled'.

GKC (our GKC), are you familiar with Cecil Chesterton? I find him to be fascinating: arguing with Shaw against ChesterBelloc... being very critical of those two on their views. According to Pearce, a man of action (much like Belloc) opposed to being more a man of thought (like GK).

One more thing - GK Chesterton's wife was very attractive. Lucky fella!


I am very familiar with Cecil. Who wrote (anonymously) the first book length study pf Gilbert. I once had 2 copies of it. Gave one to Gene Wolfe. IRRC, I have several of his books, as well as a bio. He was not as ...engaging a person as Gilbert.

As all know, I am hundreds of miles from my library currently. But was the reference to Buchan referring to John Buchan? I don't recall.

I'd recommend Speaight's bio of Belloc.

I know not what a coolness between GKC and Baring (I also have a few Baring's; he was highly recommended by the book dealer/Chesterton/Belloc/pre Vat 2 authors specialist who sold me the bulk of my GKC collection, before his death) might be about, nor even if there was one. Chesterton/Belloc/Baring were the three figures in James Gunn's majestic painting, "Conversation Piece", shown here, with a nice essay:

https://jot101.com/2014/04/chesterton-belloc-baring/

I had GKC's head and upper body copied from it, as an original charcoal sketch, which is on the wall at home.

The book mentioned in the write-up at the link, Chesterton, Belloc, Baring by Raymond Las Vergnas, should be on the shelf back home, far, far away.

OTOH, remember that I am old.

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Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:56 pm 
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I'm home.

Yep. John Buchan. Three mentions, only one of any small substance, as I thought I remembered. And the Las Vergnas book mentioned is on the shelf, as it should be. So all's well.

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Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:40 pm 
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Master
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That is very interesting, GKC.
To be on such terms with Gene Wolfe. Did Wolfe give you his thoughts on the book?

Cecil sounds like a really interesting guy. At one point in the book Pearce refers to him as a pitbull.

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:03 pm 
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Some Poor Bibliophile
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p.falk wrote:
That is very interesting, GKC.
To be on such terms with Gene Wolfe. Did Wolfe give you his thoughts on the book?

Cecil sounds like a really interesting guy. At one point in the book Pearce refers to him as a pitbull.



I don't recall that he did, other than thanking me later. I gave it to him when we first met face to face, at a SF con, years ago. Had been exchanging letters for years before that.

Cecil was ...not engaging, as far as I was concerned. Nor was his wife. Pit bull would partially fit him, yes.

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Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:38 pm 
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Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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In the event you’re interested…. There’s a podcast called The Gene Wolfe Literary podcast. Right now (or, recently) they did a deep dive into Peace.

Multiple episodes per chapter. Pretty interesting so far

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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 Post subject: Re: "Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc" - Joseph Pearce
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:15 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
In the event you’re interested…. There’s a podcast called The Gene Wolfe Literary podcast. Right now (or, recently) they did a deep dive into Peace.

Multiple episodes per chapter. Pretty interesting so far


Thank you. I don't normally listen to podcasts, I am far better at absorbing and retaining information by reading and I rarely listen to anything, news stories and music included. But that looks interesting. When I get some time, I'll listen.

I've got a few books analyzing Gene's work, and have several more lined up to order.

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"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


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