Lecture 10: The Man Who Was Thursday

At first glance, The Man Who Was Thursday is a detective story filled with poetry and politics. But it is mystery that grows more mysterious, until it is nothing less than the mystery of creation itself.This is Chesterton’s most famous novel. Never out of print since it was first published in 1908, critics immediately hailed [...]

Lecture 9: Charles Dickens

Chesterton was once asked the typical question, “What book would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?” As many people know, his quick answer was, “Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.” But what many people don’t know is that he went on to name the book he really would [...]

Lecture 8: Heretics

Heretics is one of Chesterton’s most important books. It is also one of his most neglected books. Perhaps the reason has to do with the title. The word heretic conjures up frightful images of controversial characters being barbecued for their beliefs. It smacks of “intolerance.” The very word “dogmatic” is perceived as being intolerant. But [...]

Lecture 7: The Club of Queer Trades

At the beginning of the 20th century, in detective fiction there was Sherlock Holmes and that was all. There were other fictional detectives, to be sure, but they were only bad imitations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous consulting detective. The sleuths offered by other writers would try to outdo Holmes in eccentricity and in solving [...]

Lecture 6: The Napoleon of Notting Hill

When Chesterton was going to write his first novel, he had 10 shillings in his pocket. He went to Fleet Street, got a shave, ordered a large lunch for himself including a bottle of wine, and then, broke but “fortified,” went to his publisher, outlined the book he had in mind, and asked for an [...]

Lecture 5: G.F. Watts

Art is about being articulate. Chesterton, we should be reminded, studied to be an artist, not a writer. He didn’t go to college; he went to art school. Chesterton wrote visually. He wrote with an artist’s eye. And an artist’s understanding. Which is perhaps why he was such a great writer. His words became flesh. [...]

Lecture 4: Robert Browning

After publishing two collections of poems and two collections of essays, Chesterton wrote his first real book in 1903. John Morley, the editor of the “English Men of Letters” series, took a risk assigning the 29-year-old Chesterton to write a biography of Robert Browning. Chesterton had already gained something of a reputation as an “idiosyncratic” [...]

Lecture 3: Twelve Types (and Varied Types)

Chesterton’s second book of essays, Twelve Types, (1903) has actually been misshelved with books about printing. But the “types” here are people, not print. They are literary and historical figures, ranging from Charlotte Bronte, William Morris, and Sir Walter Scott to Byron, Pope, Charles II, Carlyle, Tolstoy, and Savonarola.The dozen essays, first written for the [...]

Lecture 2: The Defendant

Why do we like courtroom dramas? Because we like drama. We like articulated tension and heightened emotion and the thrilling confrontation. But why do we like courtroom dramas? Because we like justice and revelation and truth. And why do we usually cheer on the defense lawyer? Because we are quite sure the defendant is not [...]

Lecture 1: Greybeards at Play and The Wild Knight

When G.K. Chesterton died in 1936, many of his obituaries predicted that he would be best remembered as a poet. This may be surprising to most of Chesterton’s readers today because they are more likely drawn to him by his still timely and quotable essays, his detective fiction, his social and literary criticism, or his [...]

Quotations of G. K. Chesterton

Some of the most celebrated and notorious G.K. Chesterton quotations. Share them. All of them. Topics Timeless Truths Free Advice The Cult of Progress War and Politics Government and Politics Society and Culture Love, Marriage, and the Sexes Religion and Faith Christmas Morality and Truth Economic Theory and Distributism Art and Literature Past Words on [...]