G. K. Chesterton
The aim of this site is to provide information and resources about one
of my favourite authors: Gilbert Keith Chesterton.
My aim is to provide a single source for all of
Chesterton's works which are currently available as etexts.
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A Short Biography
(The following text was written by Mike Piff
(MPiff@pa.shef.ac.uk) Thanks Mike!)
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on the 29th
of May, 1874. Though he considered himself a mere "rollicking journalist,"
he was actually a prolific and gifted writer in virtually every area
of literature. A man of strong opinions and enormously talented
at defending them, his exuberant personality nevertheless allowed him
to maintain warm friendships with people--such as George Bernard Shaw
and H. G. Wells--with whom he vehemently disagreed.
Chesterton had no difficulty standing up for what he believed.
He was one of the few journalists to oppose the Boer War. His 1922
Eugenics and Other Evils attacked what was at that time the most
progressive of all ideas, the idea that the human race could and
should breed a superior version of itself. In the Nazi experience,
history demonstrated the wisdom of his once "reactionary" views.
His poetry runs the gamut from the comic The Logical Vegetarian
to dark and serious ballads. During the dark days of 1940,
when Britain stood virtually alone against the armed might of
Nazi Germany, these lines from his 1911
Ballad of the White Horse
were often quoted:
I tell you naught for your comfort,
Though not written for a scholarly audience, his biographies of
authors and historical figures like Charles Dickens and St. Francis
of Assisi often contain brilliant insights into their subjects.
His "Father Brown" mystery stories, written between 1911 and 1936,
are still being read and adapted for
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
His politics fitted with his deep distrust of concentrated wealth
and power of any sort. Along with his friend Hilaire Belloc and in
books like the 1910 What's Wrong
with the World he advocated a view called "Distributism"
that is best summed up by his expression that every man ought
to be allowed to own "three acres and a cow." Though not known as a
political thinker, his political influence has circled the world.
Some see in him the father of the "small is beautiful" movement and
a newspaper article by him is credited with provoking Gandhi to seek
a "genuine" nationalism for India.
Orthodoxy belongs to yet another area of literature at which
Chesterton excelled. A fun-loving and gregarious man, he was
nevertheless troubled in his adolescence by thoughts of suicide.
In Christianity he found the answers to the dilemmas and paradoxes he saw
in life. Other books in that same series include his 1905
and its sequel Orthodoxy
and his 1925
The Everlasting Man.
Chesterton died on the 14th of June, 1936 in
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. During his life he published
69 books and at least another
ten have been published after his death.
Many of those books are still in print.
On 17th September 2012 a
crater on the planet Mercury
was named Chesterton in his honour.
Mercury Theatre Dramatisation
The Mercury Theatre on the Air,
founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman, produced the finest radio drama of the 1930's.
The show is famous for its notorious War of the Worlds broadcast, but one of the other
shows in the series was a dramatisation of Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday,
broadcast on 5th September 1938. An MP3
file (27MB) of the broadcast is available.
G.K.Chesterton on The Internet Archive
The Internet Archive,
at archive.org has several works by Chesterton
including some audiobooks.
Father Brown Videos and DVDs
Acorn Media have released
three collections of Father Brown stories on VHS video and DVD. Starring Kenneth More
as Father Brown and Dennis Burgess as Flambeau the programmes were originally
televised in 1974.
Links to Related Sites
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translations of Chesterton's works, plus a short biography by Jorge Luis Borges
Russian translations of Chesterton's works:
- St. Francis of Assisi, The
Return of Don Quixote, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, The Man Who Was
Thursday, The Oracle of the Dog, some Father Brown stories, and many others
- Some of the same stuff as the above link,
plus The Everlasting Man
Mega-Links Page & Quote of the Week by Dave Armstrong
A Starter Course
on G.K. Chesterton by David Hawkins
The American Chesterton
Society--order your Chesterton mug and T-shirt (extra large size only) here!
The Chesterton Society holds
an annual conference in the UK.
What's Wrong With The World
The official blog of the Chesterton Society.
Gilbert! The Magazine of
G.K. Chesterton's writer
and actor(!) filmography on the Internet Movie Database
and Fantasy Works-- including a discussion of "The Man Who Was Thursday"
Top Meadow's Chesterton Gallery
Into the Wardrobe: The C. S. Lewis WWW Page
C.S.Lewis and the Inklings Home Page
C.S.Lewis web links
The Mythopoeic Society--
a non-profit international literary and educational organization for
the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantasy and mythic literature, especially
the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library--source of
several of the Chesterton books, and many other
Project Gutenberg. The Project Gutenberg Philosophy
is to make information, books and other materials available to the general public
in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read,
use, quote, and search.
LibriVox. LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain.
Their books include The Wisdom of Father Brown
Resources on the Net
The Dickens Page
The Dorothy L. Sayers Society
Jim Henry III's etexts
Links to Project Gutenberg books and Amazon reviews.
Online Literature Library
Information about authors, including biographies and copies of some of their works.
Google Book Search for G.K.Chesterton
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Last modified: 14th October 2005
De Montfort University, Leicester.
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