What’s Wrong with the World?

| QUESTION
Is it true that The Times once sent out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” and Chesterton responded simply,

“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

ANSWER
This story has been repeated so often about Chesterton that we suspect it is true. Also, it seems it is never told about any one other than Chesterton. What we have not found, however, is any documentary evidence for it. It may indeed be from The Times, as the story is usually told, but no one has taken the trouble to go through the back issues and find a copy of the actual letter. It has also been attributed to other papers, but again, no proof.

It is also entirely possible that it actually happened with another author, but has been attributed to Chesterton because it is typical of both is humility and his wit and because it is associated with the title of a book he wrote in 1910, What’s Wrong with the World.

If anyone out there can provide further information on this one, please let us know.

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