Talk:G. K. Chesterton
|This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the G. K. Chesterton article.|
|This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:|
- 1 Children's book
- 2 Dickens
- 3 Broken links
- 4 Irish Independence
- 5 Need for more input
- 6 Inspiration for 1984?
- 7 Gandhi
- 8 Anti-Semitism?
- 9 Reminiscent
- 10 Chesterton the debater
- 11 Chesterton and Wilde
- 12 Influence section
- 13 Jewish Problem
- 14 Messed up edits?
- 15 Criticisms section
- 16 The Everlasting Man
- 17 Racism
- 18 Major revisions needed
- 19 Writing
- 20 is/are
- 21 "probably best remembered for his Father Brown short stories"
- 22 The influence of GKC
- 23 Poor English -needs rewrite
- 24 Depravity
- 25 The huge, Anti-Semitism section
- 26 "...one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century"
- 27 Mistress?
- 28 Travel to the New World
- 29 Writing - poetry
- 30 The anti-semitism charge should be removed altogether
- 31 "Liberalism"
- 32 Removing antisemitism issue would be a distortion
- 33 File:G K Chesterton.jpg Nominated for Deletion
- 34 Literary influence
- 35 Ignatius Press
- 36 Life section
- 37 "Defence" by Wiener Library
Under what heading would a children's book on Chesterton go? Literature and Biographies or Cultural References? See ISBN 0-977-22349-3, "The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 14:45, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
This says that Dickens' popularity has never really waned much, but the article says that Chesterton was responsible for popular revival of his work, as well as claiming that T. S. Eliot et al all believe that Chesterton wrote the best book on Dickens. Given the questionable nature of the host of other claims that were made here about what Chesterton inspired, is anyone aware of any support for these claims? Actual quotes from Eliot? FireWorks 20:36, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
- It's not a question of Dickens' popularity (he has always been a popular author), but of his reputation with literary critics, which has indeed suffered in influential circles at some times (justifying Chesterton's attitude in his book). Wareh (talk) 05:30, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
- Sure but still, do you have some reference for it? User:Mcepl 22:19, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
The link to "An extensive collection of e-text links" ( http://www.dur.ac.uk/martin.ward/gkc/books/ ) seems to be broken. If it still does not work two weeks from 27/12/2003, perhaps it should be removed.
- It worked when I tried it just now. —Paul A 05:38, 30 Dec 2003 (UTC)
The claim that a Chesterton novel "inspired Michael Collins to lead a movement for Irish Independence" is somewhat fanciful. Serious historians would not contend that a Chesterton novel was the sole or central influence on Michael Collins' career as a revolutionary.
Many of these passages bear a curious resemblance, word for word (including the disputed phrase above concerning Collins), to the descriptions on www.chesterton.org. I admit that I am new at this, but if I wanted to, I'd just go to that "fansite" rather than the Wiki entry, which I expect to be more independent. - Reflect
Could we have a good going over of the research here. I'm no Chesterton expert, but reading this article I kept pausing over various statements that seemed a little dodgy! Gingermint (talk) 05:32, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Need for more input
I guess the American Chesterton Society put this article together, and good for them. But if people want more voices represented they should add theirs. I plan to add some things once I have a moment and can get the hang of the process. (I have only just discovered Wikipedia.) - Stratford Caldecott (G.K. Chesterton Institute)
Inspiration for 1984?
I have read a large proportion of Orwell's letters and notes, and I'm afraid I have never come across any evidence to sugest that The Napolean of Notting Hill was the inspiration for 1984, nor can I see any references to the earlier book in 1984 itself. The most Orwell ever said about Chesterton was that he was a talented novelist whose later works decended into Catholic propaganda.
If somebody can offer some evidence to substantiate the claim that TNONH was the inspiration for 1984 then I would be happy to concede, otherwise I will remove this claim from the article. Iron Ghost
- I found that it was entered here on 9/2/04 by an anonymous user under the comment "Chesterton's influence". I left a message at 126.96.36.199's talk page asking for a reply within a week. If he/she doesn't respond by then, axe it. David Bergan 21:41, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that seems the most likely explaination. However only the early part of the book is set in 1984 and in any case, its a pretty tenuous link. Iron Ghost
- But a real one none the less. Perhaps it should be reworded, but the mention should probably stay. ¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸ 05:59, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
As a veteran of long debates over Orwell's inspiration over in the 1984 article, I have seen no evidence whatsoever for Chesterton actually inspiring 1984 -- remember that inspiration is a specific historical claim that needs to be supported by something more than "hey, this other book was similar". I say remove the claim, and demand attribution (i.e. a quote from Orwell or one of his biographers) before it gets inserted again. -Ben 13:46, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I've removed the Orwell referrence from the influences section, as its now been a week and no response. Iron Ghost 21:30, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
-Saying that George Orwell "gave no indication" that he was influenced by GK Chesterton is fairly biased, because no one can be perfectly sure that Orwell never, even in passing, mentioned this influence. Jontveit
- It is not biased in the least. Orwell was never shy about naming his influences (for example, he gave credit to Zamayatin for his influence on 1984) and yet he never once wrote anything to suggest that Chesterton was an influence on his work.
- The claim that 1984 was inspired by THONH is based entirely on the fact that part of the book is set in 1984. The year is not even mentioned by name, Chesterton mearly states that the story begins eighty years in the future (the book was published in 1904). This is a very obscure a tenuous link and the only reason that the Orwell reference appears in the article in any form is as a compromise with the people who insist that Chesterton influenced Orwell. Iron Ghost 03:37, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I've studied both books rather closely. There are tremendous differences in theme and message. It seems unlikely that the mere suggested date in which the events of Napolean took place could have 'inspired' Orwell's book. In the light of no further evidence, we should take this out. Ross Lawhead 11:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- fwiw I agree: take it out. --Lavintzin 20:35, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- Done. Iron Ghost 21:00, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Chesterton and Gandhi - Could we add a few details as well as change it to Gandhi was aware and perhaps influenced by Chesterton? It was a little more complex than suggested here.User:Mohan_ravichandran
The claim that: "An essay that Chesterton wrote for the Illustrated London News inspired Mohandas Gandhi to lead the movement to end British colonial rule in India" is rather vague, it dosn't even give the name of the essay in question. Also it is phrased in such a way as to suggest that this essay was Gandhi's sole inspiration.
Additionally a slightly different claim that Gandhi was inspired by The Napoleon of Notting Hill has appeared on that book's page. In my opinion these claims should be removed unless some evidence to back them up is provided. Iron Ghost 5 August 2005
- Seems to be true, I found a couple of cite for it and stopped looking. The better of the two was chesterton.org.
Yes, but do they actually give the name of the article in question? Or where Gandhi said that it inspired him? It isn't very encyclopedic as it stands.
I emailed the American Chesterton Society to ask if they could throw some light on it, If I don't hear from them by next week I'll take it down. Iron Ghost 13:16, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
- All we need to do is attribute it to the American Chesterton Society. Thats plenty encyclopedic. if you want to go and do the research, and cite another POV on the historocity of this, feel free. The American Chesterton Society is more than good enough a reference for our purposes here. ¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸ 04:22, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
- I find it a little bit questionable to have such a momentous claim backed up only by an organization devoted to creating interest in Chesterton. I'm not sure that it's fair to leave it in a factual article without another reference or POV.
Agreed. I emailed the ACS to ask if they could throw some light on this claim but they didn't get back to me. I'm removing the Gandhi claim, it can be restored if and when some more detail is provided. Iron Ghost 14:48, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's the citations: http://americanchestertonsociety.blogspot.com/2009/01/gandhi-reference.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 14:37, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
- I've added this again - this time with references (Furbank and Green). StAnselm (talk) 05:32, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
A couple of important points need to be made with respect to accusations of anti-Semitism. I write this as a huge Chesterton fan with a number of relatives murdered in the Holocaust for being Jewish. The first distinction is that Chesterton died before the Holocaust. Some of his statements about international Jewry, Jewish bankers, etc., seem much more ominous after the Holocaust than they probably did before. Secondly, while he believed and spoke about a "Jewish Problem" frequently, he never advocated a violent solution, but rather a separatist solution - the same solution advocated by Zionists. Citing a single instance is a bit silly; it's like citing a single reference to "Jesus" in the New Testament. I've just finished Chesterton's What I Saw in America, and before that read The New Jerusalem. In both of them, statements that today will sound filled with hatred or suspicion of Jews were meant only to be commonplace observations: the disproportionate numbers of Jewish people in finance, that a disproportionate number of Russian revolutionaries were Jewish, etc. Such comments didn't raise eyebrows in his days, and in a vacuum do not need to in our days - but we do not live in a vacuum. We live after the Holocaust, and Chesterton lived before it. I have sectioned the Anti-Semitism paragraphs off from the Chesterbelloc section for two reasons: firstly, to highlight them, which is what section headings are for, and secondly to prevent what may seem to be anti-Semitism from seeming central or foundational to Chesterton and Belloc's friendship and collaboration. They were not anti-Semites as we would understand anti-Semitism in light of the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism was not central or foundational to their relationship. Withouthavingseen (talk) 05:29, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Is there any source for the accusations of anti-Semitism? Chip Unicorn 00:45, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, in 1934 Chesterton wrote the following:
"In our early days Hilaire Belloc and myself were accused of being uncompromising Anti-Semites. Today, although I still think there is a Jewish problem, I am appalled by the Hitlerite atrocities."
Iron Ghost 12:03, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Where's that quote from? -Caufman 05:58, August 28, 2005 (UTC)
It is from page 216 of Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton, by Michael Coren (1990, Paragon House). Iron Ghost 12:08, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
The anti-Semitism accusations should not have been included without reference to their spuriousness. See the Dale Ahlquist Lecture on "Irish Impressions" on the Chesterton Society's website. Primary source references to follow.
- That's wrong. Chesterton said some things that are anti-Semitic. Ahlquist is hardly unbiased. Charles Matthews 08:26, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
- I'll put the Ahlquist link on the page. It's not a very cogent argument. Charles Matthews 13:08, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
Then reference his supposed anti-Semitic statements and make sure you are not quoting A.K. Chesterton.
- Bernard Levin's article references the third verse of  (sometimes suppressed) and the second verse of . Levin writes '… since Mr. G. C. Heseltine … even has the gall to claim that Chesterton was not anti-semitic, I had better stop for a moment and demonstrate that he was'. I can't see why any fan of Chesterton would want to have all this on the page. No one here is in the slightest confused between G. K. and A. K. Contesting the point all the way will merely fill the page with more quotes. This has already happened over at Hilaire Belloc. Those in denial about what these guys did wrote (in GKC's case, rather casually) end up making this issue more and more central. Charles Matthews 09:03, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree that a debate about this will just inflame the issue out of proportion, which is why I think it should stay on the discussion page before something like a concensus can be reached. I agree the sentiments expressed in the first poem are unseemly, but the poem is being spoken by a character (The Logical Vegetarian), not the writer. Should Shakespeare be blamed for the attitudes of Iago? The second poem isn't anti-Semitic at all. It uses the expression "Jew" instead of "Jewish person", but that was the parlance of the time. Was Martin Luther King a racist for using the term "negro" or the NAACP for using the term "colored"? BTW - many people (not necessarily here) do confuse AKC and GKC.
- I for one am very tired of the anti-semite tarbaby being foisted on as many wiki-bios as possible, often in the intro or TOC. Sam Spade 23:14, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
The point is not the settle the issue; but to report, proportionately and fairly, on controversy over it. So, editing the page to say 'the issue is settled' is out. Debating on the page whether the late Bernard Levin is wrong about anti-semitic content is not what we do. He was Jewish, as no one will be surprised to find out, and is clearly entitled to an opinion on the matter. He is right to say that Chesterton and Belloc are different cases; I believe strongly that one cannot understand what is being said without being clear about what they did and did not have in common on this. (I also think that the timing matters; the early 1920s and the late 1930s are the key times; but going into all that is too much in Chesterton's case - he was casual about anti-Semitic remarks, which was common enough at the time and looks quite bad now. Cf. for example W. N. Ewer.) Charles Matthews 08:55, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting debating it on the page; I'm saying that we should talk it out here. Even the accusation of anti-Semiticism can be devastating to one's reputation. If GKC was falsely accused of it, then the spuriousness of the charge must be included. I keep asking for quotes from GKC that are anti-Semitic and all I get in reply is 'well so and so said he was anti-Semitic'.
- Well, it's in our charter that we handle it that way. It is part, though obviously not the whole, of NPOV. Charles Matthews 22:19, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
I would have thought that the quote I gave above proves fairly conclusively that although he did not regard himself as anti-semetic, he held opinions that today would be regarded as such. Iron Ghost 23:04, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
- Well, its been about a century. This conversation reminds me of a page (it may have been deleted by now) called "list of white supremacists". That may or may not seem an acceptable article title to you, but I would hope we could agree that a certain editor was in the wrong when they insisted Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln be included as white supremacists. Times change, as do acceptable opinions. The fact is G. K. Chesterton was not a notable anti-semite. Sam Spade 16:58, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
- I like what A. N. Wilson writes: by treating him as a sage, we lose a lot of his essentially playful flavour. I think this applies. Those like Dale Ahlquist who have a stake in GKC as a sage (I have his book on my shelves) have to deny the clay feet. Wilson is correct that setting him up that way you actually do him no favours, and a pedestal is the wrong place. Charles Matthews 17:05, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
- I don't know of any authentic sages who are utterly humorless. Either way, if he was or was not an anti-semite is anything but clear, well sourced or notable. Sam Spade 18:15, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
What we want and need is what Chesterton said. So far no one has produced any actual anti-Semitic statements from the man. Without them we are simply accomplices in slander.
- I am trying, quite hard, to stop this going to 'Chesterton's day in court'. So, firstly, please, the legalism is counterproductive, and slander against the dead is not possible. The point about not saying make the case on the page is twofold: firstly it is entirely against Wikipedia policy to draw a conclusion such as GKC was/was not an anti-Semite. That is not what we do; we do a 'judge's summing up' rather than the 'foreman of the jury speaks', if you must have it that way. Secondly, any contest to see what evidence inevitably involves digging up the strongest arguments; it will be adversarial, and it will stay on the page, and it will tend to dominate the page. Sam is quite right to say that is undesirable. But, if there are enough people around trying 'refutation', it will happen. Bernard Levin was probably the UK's top columnist for a period in the 1970s and 1980s. Here's Bernard Bergonzi, a literary critic: Chesterton's attitude to the Jews doesn't seem to have developed much beyond a kind of rowdy schoolboy prejudice. A few lines before, thoug, he says that his and Belloc's anti-semitism was obvious and deplorable. But adds, As Orwell once remarked, there have been very few English writers who were not to some degree anti-semitic. Charles Lamb is a good example, the darling of a previous generation. There is no controversy about it, because he wrote (too honestly for our tastes) about going to a London synagogue and feeling uncomfortable about it. There is no controversy, because people don't try to defend him. Charles Matthews 19:44, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
As much as I detest the argument that the more we fight injustice, the worse it will be, I concede that the allegation can be included in brief if it is well referenced. Sam Spade 21:16, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
I did not use the word "slander" in its narrow legal sense, as anyone can see from the context. I've also refrained, for the moment, from making any changes to the article itself to prevent the anti-Semiticism charge from being blown out of proportion. However, if the charge is groundless, then the lack of evidence in support of it must also be stated. Anyone can accuse anyone else of anything; that doesn't mean it should be included in an article. For example, some people insist Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. The Clinton article handles that point well by saying, "some talk show personalities fomented conspiracy theories about Clinton's involvement in the death of long-time friend and aide Vince Foster, which was later ruled a suicide in an extensive investigation". Something like that is appropriate here - a single sentence that notes the utter lack of credible evidence of anti-Semiticism. After all, I'm still waiting for the actual anti-Semitic quotes from Chesterton himself - to be placed here in the discussion page. Instead I get 'Orwell said there were lots of anti-Semites' and 'Charles Lamb was an anti-Semite and no one tries to defend that' and Bergonzi and Levin . . . but no proof it was anything but groundless nonsense.
- Well, there is the song of quoodle, a rather damning semination of virulent antisemitism... or not... ;) Sam Spade 02:01, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Actually it probably is a libel on (i.e. an attack on the professional standing of) Bernard Bergonzi, who has written extensively on early twentieth literature including Chesterton, to say that he would so express himself on no evidence. Charles Matthews 08:31, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
- Your argument is based on the premise that such a claim is being made, and that if it were it would be inaccurate. That has not occured here however, and I suggest you refrain from hinting at legal threats when making fallacious arguments. If someone makes an observation, it isn't libel against some other person who made an opposite observation, regardless of their standing. Sam Spade 20:06, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
- Come on now, I explained exactly what sense I was applying to the word. Charles Matthews 22:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I understand you wern't making a legal threat, but I still think it was rather hyperbolic. Sam Spade 00:28, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
- Very much so. Just curious, are you one? Sam Spade 14:57, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, you could look who compiled List of books by G. K. Chesterton. Actually I think he was never the same after 1914, and I'm selective in my admiration. Charles Matthews 21:05, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
- OK, lets wrap this up. I am fine w including:
- "In our early days Hilaire Belloc and myself were accused of being uncompromising Anti-Semites. Today, although I still think there is a Jewish problem, I am appalled by the Hitlerite atrocities."
- Wherever it fits, so long as it can be cited.
- This whole anti-semite tossup is silly however, and potentially neverending. For example, I was watching Shakespeare w the kids today (a normal event in our household) and decided to look uo the wiki article. The wikipedia article informed me that not only was shakespeare an antisemite, but he was also likely a pederast as well!
- This sort of thing eventually shocks the readers so early and so often that they become desensitized, and either end up becoming more accustumed to such aspects in others, mistrusting your information, or both. I'm not so sure this is the path we want to follow w some of these (less then notable) accusations. Sam Spade 00:47, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Chesterton on Jews
I happen to be reading Everlasting Man now. It seems Chesterton has a high regard of Jews and Judaism. E.g.,
- It is true in this sense, humanly speaking, that the world owes God to the Jews. It owes that truth to much that is blamed on the Jews, possibly to much that is blameable in the Jews. We have already noted the nomadic position of the Jews amid the other pastoral peoples upon the fringe of the Babylonian Empire, and something of the strange erratic course of theirs blazed across the dark territory of extreme antiquity, as they passed from the seat of Abraham and the shepherd princes into Egypt and doubled back into the Palestinian hills and held them against the Philistines from Crete and fell into captivity in Babylon; and yet again returned to their mountain city by the Zionist policy of the Persian conquerors; and so continued that amazing romance of restlessness of which we have not yet seen the end. But through all their wanderings, and especially through all their early wanderings, they indeed carry the fate of the world in that wooden tabernacle, that held perhaps a featureless symbol and certainly an invisible god. We must say that one most essential feature was that it was featureless… (p. 95)
- …The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence for the greatness of the Prophets of Israel. As it was, while the whole world melted into this mass of confused mythology, this Diety who is called tribal and narrow, precisely because he was what is called tribal and narrow, preserved the primary religion of all mankind. He was tribal enough to be universal. He was as narrow as the universe. (p. 97)
- …What civilization meant we shall consider more fully in the chapter that follows; when we note how the power of demons nearly destroyed Europe and even the heathen heath of the world. But the world’s destiny would have been distorted still more fatally if monotheism had failed in the Mosaic tradition. I hope in a subsequent section to show that I am not without sympathy with al that heath in the heathen world that made its fairy-tales and its fanciful romances of religion… (p. 97)
I spent time typing this since it doesn't seem to make sense to call a man anti-whatever when there are a lot of his writings that seem to show the opposite and there is very little to show that he is anti.--Nino Gonzales 15:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
- Look at it this way. Chesterton, consistently, would argue for Home Rule for the Irish, and Zionism for the Jews. However, he didn't manage to treat the cases equally. You won't find him putting the same conditions on the Irish as the Jews. And that, pretty much, is a religious and economic matter for him. He's not prepared to treat Jews as Europeans, on the same footing. Bryan Cheyette's recent book shows how GKC went on about the 'Jewish International' to Rufus Isaacs, made a big deal of Jews anglicising their names, and so on. Charles Matthews 16:06, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
On the editing side, it seems better if the anti-semitism section is proportional to its volume in the author's writing, or its impact to society. For instance, Mark Twain was a anti-imperialist who supported Philippine Independence. The article on him mentions this in one paragraph, and probably rightly so, since Mark Twain is primarily a novelist rather than a political writer. Chesterton is primarily known as a Christian apologist (I think). I guess he has a lot of writings on politics. He is also anti-a lot of things (check out Heretics). I think these should probably be given more space than the anti-semitism that he is accused of. He is very vocal and unambiguous with these other antis while the anti-semitism thing, from the New Jerusalem quotation above, seems to be something which he though some people accused him of, rather than a clear political stance. If no one objects, I'll try to do this, or at least put some proportion, to the article... once I have the time--Nino Gonzales 15:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
- The way to maintain the proportion is to expand the rest of the article, obviously. Charles Matthews 16:08, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree at either making cuts from the article or, if none can or will be made, then even putting it into a different article in which Chesterton and Belloc can be refered to fairly and equally, without having to naturally bias GKC. Out of the sixteen books that I've read that were written by Chesterton, both fiction, non-fiction, and biography, the only things that might be considered Anti-semetic were in the one book referred to, and one line in his autobiography where he says himself that what he says was out of proportion and misconstrued.Ross Lawhead 12:36, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
- No, that would be extremely bad for NPOV. And putting GKC and Belloc in the same boat is undoubtedly unfair to GKC. Belloc basically raved on about Jews in private conversation. He was an obsessive bore on the subject, and had opinions of the French type. There is nothing very like that in Chesterton. By the way, there is a 50 page chapter on this in the book I referenced above, which is a very solid academic treatment. The reason the section here grows is the obvious one: people say 'fuss about nothing', and within WP policy all that can be done is to report on the opinions of others. (Selective quotation is treacherous, so longer quotes are safer). Charles Matthews 13:15, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
But why can not what what you basically said above not be put into the article? Why spend so much time defending a charge which was ungrounded to begin with, and of which had very negligible influence or interference with Chesterton's life? Even 50 pages within the vast sum total of what has been written about Chesterton could be argued disproportionate. (I'll add here that I am not directly challenging you or demanding you remove something or make changes you don't want, I am interested in you perspective on this case, as you obviously are very knowledgable about it and it isn't something that I have come up against much)Ross Lawhead 13:27, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Reading the quotes in closer and more critical detail, I think it would be quite easy to take them down and still give the full meaning of what was intended. For GKC's quote, and as much as I love reading him and the eccentricity of that quote in particular, all of the salient information is contained in the first two sentences. For the second, I think that a creative use of ellipses could be used to bridge some of the political statments to bring the focus to GKC and his alleged 'illness'.Ross Lawhead 13:38, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
- No, the 'charge' was not 'ungrounded'. However there is a Wikipedia way of dealing with controversial matters. Which is that the matter should be presented to the reader without any serious slant, with opinions on both sides. A scholarly opinion exonerating GKC here would of course be most welcome.
- By all means try to boil down the quote from The New Jerusalem. Quoting Chesterton at length ought to be most fair. Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of 'the Jew' in English literature and society (CUP 1993) is what I was talking about above. It is very thoroughly researched, and I largely agree with the conclusions, but too prosecutorial in detail to be good to include here (in my opinion). Charles Matthews 13:51, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate your fairness and candor. Ultimately we need to give people a swift and neutral account. There's a way to be fair, comprehensive, and brief (I hope). We'll get there, we just need to keep batting it around a bit.Ross Lawhead 13:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
- Thanks for the bits on Wilde and Shaw, by the way. It all helps to improve the article. Charles Matthews 14:43, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks a lot. I'll just say one more thing, after considering this during lunch, which is that if we had written as much on one of GKC's books, then that would justify a seperate article. I'm really going to try to encourage you to make another article to give you (and others) the amount of space this subject deserves to hash this out and 1) not to worry about length and 2) to be able to pull in contrasts between Belloc, etc. I'm beginning to see that a lot has been said on this (which is not even one book, but one article) and I would like to see a good article on this. I think you're the guy to do it. (In other words, go forth and multiply ;) )Ross Lawhead 14:51, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
At the time of this great man was living, many genocides were being did by jews such as Trotsky, Lenin, Lazar Kaganovich,etc.Chesterton never supported eugenics and any racism against the jews or against anyone.Nobody becomes and angel or a devil, because he is jew.Agre22 (talk) 03:45, 6 May 2009 (UTC)agre22
Reminiscent means recalling things past, given to or concerned with retrospection. Not the meaning its insertion in the article can carry. Please don't insist. Charles Matthews 12:56, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
As all of the people under discussion are historical figures, then arguably we only can be reminded of them. I accept your disputation however. It is not the remeniscince I am insisting on, merely the fact that GKC did not follow Wilde and Shaw. Please do not insist on that. -RL --Ross Lawhead 13:00, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I think in the deployment of paradox he did. The cases are otherwise very different. Reading what Maisie Ward says about Shaw and GKC, it is hard to escape the conclusion that GKC took plenty from Shaw, up to around 1909 when he wrote a whole book on Shaw, got it out of his system, and made a clean break with the Fabians. Charles Matthews 16:23, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
But a shared artistic style or form of speech is not the same thing as a shared viewpoint or perspective. Further, I don't think that you could argue that the use of paradox or irony originated with Shaw or Wilde. I agree completely that there are many similarities, but nearly all of them are superficial in nature, and to say that Chesterton 'followed' them is to badly state the case, and hint that Chesterton was an acolyte or inferior to OW & GBS, when for purposes of clarity and fair-handedness, we must describe him as a contemporary. On the surface you could state the case above, but to actually read GKC's writings, Heretics and his GBS biography in particular, is to show how much he disagreed with GBS on a very fundamental level.
- Shaw born 1856, GKC 1874. No, not a real contemporary. Charles Matthews 16:52, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Shaw's first work was 1892, Chesterton's was 1900... that's fairly close. Plus, Chesterton died a couple decades before Shaw. There was probably a little cross-influencing going on there. My only point is that, although they are similar stylistically, underneath it, they are saying two very different things.Ross Lawhead 16:59, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
- Oh, I don't think anyone would confuse their directions. Wasn't Cashel Byron's Profession 1885? Charles Matthews 17:58, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
People would confuse their directions if we confuse them. Aren't we to assume people are not familiar with the subjects in the articles we edit? Should we not aim for accuracy in our descriptions?Ross Lawhead 18:13, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
- I've worked on that paragraph some more. Charles Matthews 20:02, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. Ross Lawhead 09:42, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Chesterton the debater
It says "Chesterton was usually considered the winner". I would like to know more about this. What is the source of this claim? I wonder about the truth of this. Eiler7 11:26, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
- Hmm. It seems that this page is the source. Does not seem like an unbiased source. How about I expand this claim to make it more specific? Eiler7 11:36, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
You can just cut it. WP should be understated: it adds to credibility. Charles Matthews 15:03, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Also, "Chesterton loved to debate, often engaging in friendly public debates with such men as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Clarence Darrow. According to his autobiography, he and Shaw played cowboys in a silent movie that was never released."
...seems to me to be a non-sequitor. Maybe an additional line in there to make the segue from his debate partners, to the fact that he considered most of them his friends and using the (unreleased) film as an example. Also, we should cite the film perhaps? Is an IMDB citation enough?  Or should we go LOC? --184.108.40.206 18:36, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
- I think its best not to include a referrence to Rosy Rapture, as it is unclear whether or not this was the film that Chesterton was referring to in his autobiography (there could have been more than one film). Best simply to cite Chesterton's autobiography, where the claim comes from. --Iron Ghost 21:41, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Chesterton and Wilde
"As a Christian, and in the end a Catholic, his conclusions were often diametrically opposite those of Wilde and Shaw."
Wilde was also a Christian (and eventually a Catholic) so this doesn't really make much sense. Should I get rid of this sentence? Iron Ghost 03:34, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
- The edit by User:Lavintzin adding Wilde and Shaw to the sentence seems to be negative. The 'opposite' conclusions were opposite to the tone of the satire: against the extremity of the aesthetes' approach, pro 'ordinary life'. Yes, there is a bit more common ground with Wilde, and with Shaw. That got lost in trying to accommodate what User:Ross Lawhead was arguing. I think I'll move the para on Dickens up, so that the whole thing can give a reasonably balanced view. Charles Matthews 08:30, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
The evidence that Wilde's point of view is different enough from GKC to be completely distinct can be shown in Heretics by GKC. He describes Wilde's POV thus:
'In this cult of the pessimistic pleasure-seeker the Rubaiyat stands first in our time; but it does not stand alone. Many of the most brilliant intellects of our time have urged us to the same self-conscious snatching at a rare delight. Walter Pater said that we were all under sentence of death, and the only course was to enjoy exquisite moments simply for those moments' sake. The same lesson was taught by the very powerful and very desolate philosophy of Oscar Wilde. It is the carpe diem religion; but the carpe diem religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people.'
This is far, far from Chesterton following in Wilde's footsteps, this is GKC pointing out a fundamental flaw in Wilde's thinking. From our point in history, it is easy to look back and see that yes, Wilde was a witty speaker and a converted Catholic and that yes, GKC was a witty speaker and a converted Catholic, they must have shared the same viewpoints, but this really is not true if you have really read Wilde, and really read GKC. Shall we create a heading expalining this in the article body?Ross Lawhead 11:23, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I never suggested that Wilde and Chesterton shared the same views, only that the text, as it stood, suggested that Chesterton's differences of opinion with Wilde were due to his Catholicism, which is plainly not the case. Iron Ghost 00:35, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I understand, and I see it was unclear. Is it better now? Ross Lawhead 07:54, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I have no problem with the text as it now stands. Iron Ghost 15:42, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Now that the main part of the article is in better shape, I think those bullet points can be sorted out. Some should go into the existing sections (eg the Dickens comment with the quote on GKC and Dickens), and the others can form a 'trivia' section. Charles Matthews 07:35, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
It is stated in the article that Chesterton thought there was a 'Jewish Problem', but it is not stated what he thought that problem was. It could be anything from how badly the Jews were being treated to his believing they wanted to take over the world. Could whoever wrote that please explain what Chesterton throught he 'problem' was? DJ Clayworth 05:02, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
- In 1901 in The Speaker he was writing about the 'Jewish plutocratic problem'. (Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of 'the Jew' in English literature and society, p.189, asserts this). Charles Matthews 09:12, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
- OK found a reference and added it in. DJ Clayworth 14:36, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Messed up edits?
Something's wrong at the end of the section on Chesterton and his contemporaries. (Searchs for "the great Gales of Ireland", which I suppose was Gaels anyway.) I don't have the time to track down where that came from or what happened, but it should be fixed. --Lavintzin 19:00, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I've tidied up, fixed and formatted that odd sentence. It looks like a residual edit, but I don't know from where. It looks nice, but I'm ambivalent as to wether it should stay or go. I think someone added it just because they liked the quote, not necessarily that it throws a different light on GKC... although it does show him having a view on history, race, art, etc. I'll let someone else make the call. (you're right about 'Gaels' incidently. Let's keep an eye on this word) Ross Lawhead 08:15, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
- Thanks for the fix. What you said is true, and relevant, that GKC could hardly write without dropping epigrams along the way. There are dozens of other quotes I might have preferred, but I have no objection to this one. --Lavintzin 14:25, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I note that there are no criticisms of Chesterton's books, notably Orthodoxy. If it is indeed a religious classic, I suspect that someone will have written about the fallacies and other flaws they see in it. Does anyone plan to add a criticisms section with details of ideas countering Chesterton's views? Eiler7 21:58, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
- If there is to be a section criticizing his views, it might be good to first have a section expounding them. And Orthodoxy would indeed be a good place to start. This could get pretty long even for an encyclopedia article, but it should be fun.
- How about, for starters: "...scientific men do muddle their heads, until they imagine a necessary mental connection between an apple leaving the tree and an apple reaching the ground. ... They feel that because one incomprehensible thing constantly follows another incomprehensible thing the two together somehow make up a comprehensible thing. Two black riddles make a white answer." So how should one respond instead? "Granted, then, that certain transformations do happen, it is essential that we should regard them in the philosophic manner of fairy tales, not in the unphilosophic manner of science and the 'Laws of Nature'. When we are asked why eggs turn to birds or fruits fall in autumn, we must answer exactly as the fairy godmother would answer if Cinderella asked her why mice turned to horses or her clothes fell from her at twelve o'clock. We must answer that it is magic. ... A tree grows fuit because it is a magic tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched. ...I deny that this is fantastic or even mystical ... this fairy-tale language about things is simply rational and agnostic. ... the materialist professor (though he conceals his tears) is yet a sentimentalist, because, by a dark association of his own, apple-blossoms remind him of apples. But the cool rationalist from fairyland does not see why, in the abstract, the apple tree should not grow crimson tulips; it sometimes does in his country." Somebody want to argue with that!?
- --Lavintzin 22:56, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
The Everlasting Man
Is this racist?
- for example in the short story The God of the Gongs a Negro is described as having "apish teeth", and "the brains of a European, with the instincts of a cannibal". The boxer called Nigger Ned is head of a voodoo cult among his "fellow-barbarians" and murders people at crowded events as a sacrifice.
Please explain why this is racist. I think only the PC-hypersensitive-Americans find this racist. --Nino Gonzales 05:20, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
- You'd be wrong about that. Charles Matthews 15:16, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
- I think that would be considered racist by most peoples' definition (including mine). Iron Ghost 19:39, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
- OK, I suppose most of the 21st century west would find this racist. But I'm really sincere in asking for an explanation. Is it the usage of "Nigger" or "brains of a European"?--Nino Gonzales 01:43, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- Using words like nigger, apish and barbarian in relation to a black person demonstrates a racist attitude. It was just as racist then as it is now, the only difference being, that when Chesterton was writing racism was more accepted. Iron Ghost 02:17, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- Will it be racist if you use them to describe a white person? I am asking this because it seems the racist usage of these words is based on some context--a context which not everyone in the world shares. I don't think I share this context, coming from a people who have not been part in the atrocities against the African people. I think Chesterton also doesn't share this context, in spite of his being English, since it seems the conciousness of this evil is not as strong as today (according to the racism article the word racism came to being only in the 1930's). If he lived today, I'm pretty sure he woulnd't use these terms. Isn't our labeling these writings as racist similar to a Christian in the Middle Ages calling the Ancient Greeks a bunch of Sodomites?--Nino Gonzales 03:27, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- Using words like nigger, apish and barbarian in relation to a black person demonstrates a racist attitude. It was just as racist then as it is now, the only difference being, that when Chesterton was writing racism was more accepted. Iron Ghost 02:17, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Let me put it another way: From what you are saying and from the racism article, it seems there are two ways one could be a racist:
- Declaring that there is such a thing as race, that there are significant differences between races, and that some races are superior
- Using racist slurs
I do not know if Chesterton declared the 3 things in #1, but the quotation above definitely does not qualify as a declaration of support for racism.
Nigger is clearly a racist slur in contemporary English. But was it a racial slur in Chesterton’s time? Negro, it seems, is also a racial slur in contemporary English. My 10 year old cousin uses Negro to refer to black people all the time. But in her mother tongue (Cebuano), Negro doesn’t carry all the historical baggage it does in English; it just means “black person.” I don’t think it’s right to call my 10-year cousin, as well as Chesterton, a racist.--Nino Gonzales 07:30, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- I've answered the question once. Chesterton was writing in the idiom of his time, which was certainly racist. Don't try to exculpate him just because you think highly of him in other ways. (I have just spent two weeks in Uganda - please don't tell me that this is all some artefact of 'European' imagination.) --Charles Matthews 12:17, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- I am sorry but I totally have no idea of what you mean by “artifact of ‘European’ imagination.” Chesterton may have used language which we now consider racist, but I don’t feel it is right that the morality of a person’s writing should be judged by the criteria of another age. If racism is to be pointed out in early 20th century English language, it shouldn’t be with regards to one man’s writing but the entire language and society. And I don’t see how my opinions about other aspects of Chesterton have to do with whether or not some of his writing should be labeled racist.--Nino Gonzales 16:41, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- Well, try to explain that to my African, Catholic friends, before telling us that GKC was some sort of great apologist. without the clay feet. --Charles Matthews 10:15, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Moreover, I do not think that you can determine a racist attitude by the description of 1 or 2 fictional characters. He describes a red-headed character in the Man Who Was Thursday as looking like a cross between an ape and an angel... but this isn't meant to be a slur against all red-heads. He describes another in that book as looking supernaturally evil because the character is wearing a pair of sunglasses... which isn't meant to say that all sunglasses-wearers are supernaturally evil. Or to leave GK alone for a minute, Shakespeare describes all kinds of white people as fools and idiots in his plays, with no intention of saying that white people on the whole are all fools and idiots. If I write a story with a fictional antagonist who happens to be a black person, that doesn't make me racist. If my story needs an bad, dumb or ugly character, it needs a person, of which I have only a handful of races to choose from, and my arbitrary decision to make him black or Chinese or white (or a lawyer or a banker or a doctor or a king) is by no means to say that all people of his race (or class) are evil, stupid, or homely. The charge of racism simply cannot be supported by that singular quote. What would be required is some sort of quote where GK says that all Black people are bad/dumb/ugly. Or better yet, to satisfy NOR, find an outside source that calls GK racist and quote that. Don't just pick a line or two from one of his short stories and report how it made you feel, that violates the OR policy. David Bergan 21:12, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
- I rewrote the section to make it clearer that its being offensive is a POV. However, it still sounds like OR. As David Bergan says, it needs a source of someone accusing Chesterton of racism. The previous paragraph about the source of the accusations of anti-semitism also sounds OR.--Nino Gonzales 07:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I say, go ahead, be bold and remove both. We should never keep unsourced accusations in an article. David Bergan 15:03, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
- I have restored the disputed paragraphs and provided references to suport the fact the Chesterton was accused of being an anti-semite, both in his own time and today. In future please do not make such drastic changes to the text without giving people adequate time to respond to your concerns. Iron Ghost 18:29, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
- Regarding the anti-Semitism, I was out of line in my removal. However, regarding racism, you haven't added anything new to the singular quote from a short story besides a link to where one can find the complete story. The text isn't prima facie racism. It's merely a description of one Negro character, which cannot be generalized as his opinion of the whole race. And without an outside source, the charge of racism based on one (or two) wikipedian's reading of a story is a violation of the OR policy. Kindly, David Bergan 04:13, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that racism is anything like as important an aspect of Chesterton as the anti-Semitism discussion (which certainly matters). When he is writing about Africans, it is hard to see his as doing other than writing out of complete ignorance (and therefore from prejudice). If I read some of the things he wrote in the 1920s about the Japanese, for example, I get the feeling that he is a mere journalist spinning out material from very little (and this diminishes him). Perhaps the article doesn't need to say all that. --Charles Matthews 10:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
You have to understand this historiographically. For his time period, the man was not racist. You do realize that by this same inane reasoning that racism is absolute and eternal for all time that Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi were racist, too, right? These terms you find offensive were not slurs in the time period they were written. Dysphemism and language drift occurred. While the story is racist by modern standards and is rather dated to an almost horrifying degree (and honestly not one of the better Father Brown stories), understand that that kind of implicit imperial racism was fairly rampant in English culture at the time (1914). Also, realize that voodoo stories were pretty formulaic, esp. once they began appearing in pulp and serialized fiction - so almost every short story writer had one at some point.
- The thing is, the moment you approach Chesterton with the words "historiographically" or "for his time period", you're instantly flying at high speed out of the door... "I refuse to talk to people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday simply because it is Thursday", or similiar (I have no accurate quotations, sorry...) I'm inclined to think that while Chesterton in heaven is but a little at gentlemanly friendly disagreement with those who call him a racist danger to the public, he may be even a bit sad about those who "understand him historiographically, in accordance with his time period". Do not take this as insult, please; but I really think Chesterton would feel this way.
- Hence, at least because Chesterton wishes so, what he wrote must be judged on its metaphysic content. [Also, let us put some distinction: there is a difference in "being racist" and "having acted racist".]
- What is racism? Note first that racism is not the conception of human races (which certainly Chesterton used at times). We know that because racism is a word for a wrong and despicable doctrine (it is used as such), which the conception of human races is not. It certainly is not racist when the Catholic Church in official prayers prays for unity among the races. (The moment you look out and see certain, existing, differences between men, most of the time inherited, which language describes under the term of "race", race exists. The importance of race in biology or elsewhere, which seems to be quite little, has nothing to do with it; Chesterton would have been the very first to vividly assert that the difference between races are nothing compared to the difference between the sexes.) - Racism is the doctrine that one race has a right to dominate another, that human dignity (or the prospect of Heaven) depends on the race, or the ideology of superiority. None of these attitudes have been hold by Chesterton.
- He did, vividly, assert a Western cultural supremacy (in lines that could be quoted); but not one stemming from biological origins, but from a) the centuries of Christian influence, b) the accident of having formed a civilization, c) the mixtures of a) and b). It is in this sense that words like barbarian are to be understood, at first hand not derogatory but objective, such as not long ago at least the word "primitive" was understood (which however also is taking derogatory meanings...)
- As for the actual quotation, "Nigger" in this respect is part of a name of a, well, artist name (originated with or without the consent of the one so called, but then, this was not Chesterton's concern when writing so). Who has read the story knows that the words "the brains of a European" are the very words that constitute the insult. Civilization (and on the principle thought on Western supremacy, which even if critisized is not racism, see above) turned to bad ends, that's what Chesterton despises; in an other place, he says that cannibalism as well is not found in really primitive cultures, but only in higher civilized ones.
- The boxer is unfriendly described, but that's not because of his race, but, let's face it, because he's the villain of the story. --220.127.116.11 (talk) 14:23, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
- In the Northern United States, blacks were nearly invisible to most people until about 1960 or so. I would be surprised if Chesterton had seen, much less met, many blacks in England in his life. I think this is the dialect of the age. He shares the Victorian/Kipling idea (with little or no knowledge whatsoever) that whites are superior to blacks, and probably Asians, while we are at it.
- His wording is out of simple ignorance. (or maybe creating a villain. I can't argue that point). It would be unthinkable to him to "promote" racism or to be thought of as promoting racism.
- If I think that people today who have an IQ of 50 are "mentally challenged" and it turns out later that they are all mathematical prodigies and are are paid more in the year 2100 than anyone else, does that make me (retroactively) a bigot? I'm just reflecting what we think we know today. Student7 (talk) 23:17, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
- However, you're wrong in saying that Chesterton shares the Victorian/Kipling idea that whites are superior to blacks. Maybe, when pressed to answer the question, he'd have said that, he guessed, without proof, that whites are a little superior, but just a tiny little bit if any. Provable fact (though I have not the time to prove it) is that he was not at all interested in the question. He thought the West was supreme because it was intellectually right (as opposed to wrong) in its philosophy, inheritated by Christendom (and because it is a civilization, inherited from the Roman Empire with Greek culture). "Forgive me, after all we [the West] have done to you, for being right after all", as Innocent Smith said to the Chinaman. --18.104.22.168 (talk) 13:09, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
- If I think that people today who have an IQ of 50 are "mentally challenged" and it turns out later that they are all mathematical prodigies and are are paid more in the year 2100 than anyone else, does that make me (retroactively) a bigot? I'm just reflecting what we think we know today. Student7 (talk) 23:17, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Major revisions needed
Now that we've (hopefully) reached a conclusion to the ongoing saga of the Anti-semitism section, perhaps we can make some headway with the rest of the article. In the last couple of days I've reworked the introduction and bulked out the Life section but there is still alot more work to do. In particular the Writing section, which should form the core of the article, has barely been touched in over eight months and is in dire need of attention. With a writer of Chesterton's importance and prolificacy it really should be much longer and ideally contain sub-headings for poetry, prose fiction, journalism, biography ect.
Additionally the Views and Contemporaries section is currently disproportionately long and contains to many block quotes (none of which are referenced) and doesn't really deal with his views (Eugenics, Imperialism, Irish Independence ect).
There are a great deal of quotations and anecdotes throughout the article, almost none of which are referenced. Perhaps the people who added them could add the references in, or at least give the details of where they are from on this page so that I can do it. Also there is a great deal of information in the influences section that needs referencing.
I will get to work on the Writing section tonight, but obviously, the more people who contribute the better. If we all start pulling in the same direction I'm sure that before long we can work this article up to Good Article Status, and eventually to Featured Article Status where it belongs. --Iron Ghost 17:06, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
The sentence "Ker treats in Chapter 4 of that book Chesterton's thought as largely growing out of his true appreciation of Dickens, a somewhat shop-soiled property in the view of other literary opinions of the time." seems odd to me. What exactly is the "shop-soiled property" being referenced here? In fact, what is this sentence suggested at all? --22.214.171.124 19:13, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
- I think the "shop soiled property" is a reference to Dickens' reputation at the time. However I agree with you, that whole writing section, which should be the focus of the article, is in pretty grim condition and, in my opinion, needs a complete rewrite. --Iron Ghost 21:29, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
The famous "What's Wrong with the World?" reply (cited here in reference 19 back to Philip Yancey who doesn't himself cite any source!) is, I think, a misattribution. You can see this on GKC's wikiquote page. Can I remove this or even better, add a note to say that a lot of paradoxical-sounding aphorisms are commonly attributed to him even by prominent modern writers? MichaelEditeur (talk) 09:52, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
- It's easy to remove it, and I think we should. But to say that he didn't say it would require a reliable source. It certainly goes much further back than Yancey's 2002 book, though the earliest result I can find on Google timeline is from 1995. StAnselm (talk) 12:06, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
- OK, I've found the reliable source: Kevin Belmonte, Defiant joy: the remarkable life & impact of G.K. Chesterton. StAnselm (talk) 12:16, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
The following sentence:
- He is one of the few Christian thinkers who are admired and quoted equally by liberal and conservative Christians, and indeed by many non-Christians.
has been changed twice to read "thinkers who is admired". 126.96.36.199 and dbergan, who made the changes, seem to think this grammatically necessary or at least better. dbergan says: 'grammar, "are" --> "is" What's the subject? "Who" Does who refer to a singular or plural noun? "Singular" Which one? "He" So do we use are or is for a singular subject? "is" Q.E.D.'
I've reverted it twice. Putting "is" in instead of "are" gives the following result: "There are few Christian thinkers. C is one of those few. Additionally (and this is awkwardly expressed), C *is* admired and quoted by all sides." This is factually incorrect (there are in fact not just a few Christian thinkers), besides grammatically awkward. (Would you write "She is one of the few surviving Ainu who was educated at the University of Kyoto"?)
Leaving "are" is much more coherent and more probably what was originally intended. "There are few Christian thinkers who *are* admired and quoted by all sides. C is one of those few." "Who" does indeed refer to a plural noun, "thinkers". This is (at least relatively) graceful syntax, and has the added advantage of being true. --Lavintzin 15:08, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
- See, and I read the sentence as:
- Chesterton is admired and quoted equally by liberal and conservative Christians, and indeed by many non-Christians.
- "Thinkers" cannot be the subject because it is the object of the prepositional phrase "of the few Christian thinkers." Therefore, "is" would be correct in that sentence.
- But rather than bicker about one particular verb, let's just rewrite the sentence in such a way that satisfies us both. I propose:
- Unlike most modern Christian thinkers, Chesterton is admired and quoted by both liberal and conservative Christians, and even by many non-Christians.
- What do you say, Lavintzin? Kind regards, David Bergan 20:10, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
If GKC is one of the thinkers who are admired and quoted, of course it follows that he is admired and quoted. So are the rest of them. What ever does being the object of a prepositional phrase have to do with being the referent of a relative clause (a "who/which/that" adjectival clause)? ("Thinkers" is object of "of" in the first sentence in this paragraph, and is modified by a relative clause. No problem with that.) "Michael Jordan is one of the few athletes who are(/*is) supreme in their(/*his) sport(s)." Jordan is supreme in his sport, the (few) others are supreme in theirs. It's a perfectly good and normal structure. The version with singular verb and possessor is bad. It implies there are few athletes.
If the sentence is to be recast, I'd leave out the "Unlike ..." phrase, and just say he is admired and quoted. But I'd prefer to leave it as is.
--Lavintzin 22:02, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I put the question to the smartest English teacher I know, and this was his response:
- Good morning, David, and thank you for waking my brain with this interesting grammar problem. My conversational urge is to go for the singular verb, since G.K. Chesterton is the subject of the sentence and the only specific noun to figure prominently in our thinking as we say it. However, I will argue that the plural verb is the correct form. The dependent clause "who are admired..." grammatically modifies "thinkers," not "Chesterton." Proof: if the dependent clause were not present, the sentence would read "G.K. Chesterton is one of the few Christian thinkers," a position held only by snarky secularists. We are using the dependent clause to limit the class of Christian thinkers to which Chesterton belongs; therefore, the antecedent of "who" is "thinkers," plural, and the clause's verb must thus agree in number with that plural noun.
- Which is basically the same thing you had been saying. I am willing to go with both of you, and stick with "are". Thanks for your patience, David Bergan 16:35, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is a restrictive relative clause, "limit[ing] the class of Christian thinkers to which Chesterton belongs". Glad your English teacher, and now you, agree. --Lavintzin 18:51, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
For all this argument, is there any evidence for any part of this quote? Any evidence that he is cited equally by liberal and conservative Christian writers? That he is admired by more non-Christians than comparable "Christian thinkers"? Whatever it means to describe someone as a "thinker"?--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:41, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
"probably best remembered for his Father Brown short stories"
What are the bases for this judgment? It's difficult to imagine. Falling back on anecdotal sources for illuminating the question, I note that this Google search: ("g k chesterton" -"father brown") yields 1.2 million hits, and this one: ("g k chesterton" "father brown") merely 100 k. An identical usenet search of Google's archive yields about 43 k for the former, and a mere 426 hits for the latter. Sorting an Amazon search by bestsellers finds Father Brown nowhere in the top 12 books. An unambitious search for similar assertions finds a lot of "probably" and "perhaps," but little enough evidence that one suspects the claim is a serial one, uncritically received and passed on. I would urge that this particular claim be dropped unless anything stronger than the anecdotal evidence I cite can be raised in its defense.
rasqual 21:03, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I support this. I have read this sort of thing since back in the 70's, on the covers or introductory essays of Father Brown collections and perhaps elsewhere, but I also doubt its truth. The evidence given above is more than enough to warrant refraining from making the claim. I'll go ahead and delete it. --Lavintzin 23:36, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
- I also support this assertion. I'm pretty sure in terms of sales it was either "The Man who was Thursday" or one of the "Father Brown" books. They used to be phenomenally popular. Google hits are inaccurate as this author is no longer very popular. If you're an American or Brit Catholic or Anglican/Episcopalian and over 30, you've read a Father Brown book or two. Guinness4life (talk) 04:35, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
It may be a bit different in the UK, but all around the world, G. K. Chesterton is primarily, if not solely known through the Father Brown stories, and I think it is downright ridiculous that this name, which is, I think, one of the most famous fictional detectives of all times (and one of the very few true classics) is not even mentioned in the introduction right now. It is user-unfriendly, at least. Have a look at fr.wikipedia or es.wikipedia, or have a look at what the German National Library gives you as result to a search for Chesterton. The by far eminent result you'll always see is Father Brown over and over again (or Padre or Pater or whatever). --AndreasPraefcke (talk) 23:22, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Examining the earliest edits of the Spanish and French Wikipedia pages lends support -- not rebuttal -- to my theory that this claim is serial repetition (it matches old dust jackets verbatim). But this theory isn't itself the rationale for eliding the claim that Chesterton is best known for his Father Brown stories. I pose this theory as a possible explanation for why the claim persists despite his Father Brown stories being less popular at Amazon than, say, Orthodoxy (and other texts). As anecdotal evidence this still exceeds any evidence (which is none) for the original claim.
Perhaps what Chesterton is "best known for" could be divined (still anecdotally) by determining the relative proportion of memorable quotes (arguably an important way people are "known") from his varied works. A simple Google search for Chesterton quotes predictably turns up a few sites. Are they authoritative in some way? I don't think that's important. The pithy excerpts illustrate how Chesterton's work is known. Unless one posits a conspiracy by the proprietors of these sites to stack the deck of quotes against Father Brown, surely this corpus constitutes something like evidence of how GKC is "known."
I have no idea why a single library's card catalog should be considered even marginally relevant to the question. However, his Father Brown stories were -- and remain -- very popular. That they're not mentioned in the introduction does seem unfortunate. That he's not certainly best known for the Father Brown series does not mean these texts are not certainly well-known. How about replacing "and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction" with "and fiction, including various fantasies and the popular Father Brown detective stories."
On the other hand, under "Writings," this seems very well said: "His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel." However, no argument is given for those assertions either. The first seems self-evidently true, and though I'd like to believe the latter, I have no idea how I could know this. From anecdotal Amazon searches? Argh, they're moving targets from month to month. --rasqual (talk) 23:44, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
- Definitely need reliable sources. But the Father Brown books were extensively republished in paperback during the 1940s and were "best sellers" at the time. Like CS Lewis, he has become re-known for his more serious works which may now compete in selling strength to Father Brown. Student7 (talk) 23:02, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
The influence of GKC
The intro called GKC "influential." I changed this to famous and popular (in his own time at least), as I can't for the life of me think of any lasting influence he may have had. He contributed nothing to the great contemporary movement in Eng. Lit., which was modernism (think Henry James and Joseph Conrad); as an Edwardian, he was outclassed by the social realists and their ilk; even as a belle-lettrist, he doesn't rank with Wilde and Shaw or even the early Somerset Maugham (although Maugham's level is close). In his own day, he ranked with such as Saki; he lacked the intellectual clout of Shaw (whose own star has faded over time), the lasting legacy of Conrad. He was an interesting but second-rate author, a peer of Saki and Jerome K. Jerome, but not, definitely not, influential.(If you doubt this, then answer: who did he influence?) PiCo 13:07, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
- Well you seem to be working on the premise that "not influential to the people who win Pulitzers or Bookers" is the same as "not influential at all." There is other kinds of literature besides "literature assigned to English majors." Chesterton had a, generally accepted, influence on genre fiction. This is maybe most true with mystery, alternate history, and science fiction. His influence on Gene Wolfe, R. A. Lafferty, and several other science fiction writers of a Catholic religious outlook I think is much less debatable than most of the authors named in the article. He also was widely read among several Analytical Thomism philosophers, but the influence on them is maybe more debatable. There was also political/economic influence; mostly with Michael Collins, E. F. Schumacher, and varying others. (I hope this was acceptable as I did not say whether his Catholicism was good, bad, or even his level of devotion. Although I still did mention it, but that was necessary in order to mention what authors he influenced)--T. Anthony 10:04, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
- Well, there's a whole section on people who he influenced in the article. Iron Ghost 13:53, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
- Ok, fair enough. But those influences aren't terribly, um, influential. To begin at the top, CS LEwis is himself a second-ranking writer (which isn't to dismiss him as a nobody - I wish I could do half what he accomplished - but he isn't Graham Greene or Evelyn Waugh), and a contribution to Lesis' conversion isn't a literary influence, which is what I was meaning. GKC and Dickens: I doubt that this was really so; Dickens' popularity with general readers gradually declined over time, as is only natural, and has never really revived to the status it had while he was alive. There's no harm in that, it's to be expected. Dicken's critical fame has been rather a battleground: Leavis first said he was rubbish, then later said he was acceptable; Eliot was batting for Dickens at a time when Leavis was putting him on the shelf, and I think Eliot was just reaching for Chesterton to bolster his own argument (meaning I don't think Chesterton's opinion changed or influenced Eliot's); as for Ackroyd, I've just had the unpleasant task of reading his collected journalism, an my opinion of him as a slick hickster intent only on filling column inches has never been higher. Chesterton's writings praised by A,B and C, well, I praise them myself, I have the com plete short stories on my shelf, and they're good. I'm not arguing he's rubbish, I'm just questioning his influence, i.e., how did he change the way short stories, novels, etc were written? (In the field of the detective story a case could probably be made that he did, but elsewhere?) I've never heard of Neil Gaiman or Philip Yancy. What I mean is, what trace did he leave on literature, on society, on his own age and ours? I accept that the Influences section sums up the case, but it really makes him no more than a secondary figure. (Don't get me wrong, he's not a nobody, but he's not erally influential, either). PiCo 03:32, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
- "Influence" is a somewhat subjective concept... and for sure Chesterton's influence wasn't literary so much as spiritual. Part of it is that the way Chesterton writes; one cannot just read his book, put it back on the shelf, and say "That was a good read" without having sharpened his own spiritual beliefs. It's not like, say, Hamlet... where you have an outstanding story that is universally praised, deliciously spiced with timeless quotes, but ultimately just a tale. Shakespeare, better than anyone, paints perfect characters shaped by grand events... but he doesn't quite challenge the reader to come to terms with his own beliefs. Chesterton's non-fiction, on the other hand, traps the mind in spiritual dilemmas chapter after chapter. He blasts through superficial diversions and puts the core, raw choice front and center in the reader's brain. He converts non-believers.
- Chesterton wasn't concerned with literary fads (which you refer to as "influence") any more than Thomas Aquinas was. He spoke the truth, and the truth influenced souls even if it didn't influence writing styles. I can't help but think that your comment that he and C.S. Lewis are "second-rate authors" shows that you haven't read either. Again, neither was concerned with ground-breaking style, but both certainly show a mastery of the language. (Check their wikiquote pages if you have doubts.) That, and the fact that Lewis ranks as #6 among contemporary home libraries (ahead of even Shakespeare) shows that the pair have influenced far more souls than Shaw, Conrad, or James (none of which make the top 75). David Bergan 15:21, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
- You seem to believe that GKC was a good Catholic and a great writer; the truth is probably the reverse. PiCo 08:26, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
- And by "truth" you are referring to your own personal opinion. But to me it seems like a guy should at least read a few of the man's books before talking derisively of him in public. Personally, Chesterton has had (and continues to have) a big influence on my intellect, and I think he is a top-tier writer. David Bergan 13:17, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
- He influenced most of the major ethical philosophers of the 20th century. And Borges. BORGES. If that isn't a major literary figure, I don't know who is. Oh, plus on the character front, he's clearly the heir-apparent to Dickens. Extremely influential in the mystery and detective genre too.
Poor English -needs rewrite
I think this needs re-writing (from views and contemporaries section):
The roots of Chesterton's approach have been taken to be in two earlier strands in English literature, Dickens being one. In the use of paradox, against complacent acceptance of things as they are, he is often categorised with Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, whom he knew well, as Victorian satirists and social commentators in a tradition coming also from Samuel Butler.
Chesterton's style and thinking were all his own, however, and his conclusions were often diametrically opposed to those of his predecessors and contemporaries. In his book Heretics, Chesterton has this to say of Oscar Wilde:
- You are correct, Tremello22, the first one, in particular, is so bad it is nearly incomprehensible. Would you care to have a go at fixing it? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 17:26, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
- I don't think the second one needs the commas - so that is easy to fix. I am not really knowledgeable on chesterton to be comfortable to change the first though. Tremello22 (talk) 20:01, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Why does Lavintzin (Talk | contribs) think “Depravity” is misunderstood by most modern English speakers? I don't necessarily disagree with him changing the word to "sinfulness" - I am more interested in why he makes this judgement. Deipnosophista (talk) 16:23, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
- Well, actually I was changing it *back* to "sinfulness", fwtw.
- My understanding of the Christian doctrine of human depravity (original sin, or whatever it's called) is that people are born with a natural bent towards doing what is wrong (i.e. towards sinning). An additional (and perhaps empirically more easily verifiable) doctrine is that people do in fact do what is wrong: they sin. ("A fact practical as potatoes", Chesterton called it.)
- I have talked to a number of people, a number of them Christians, and they have understood depravity as carrying all the weight of the modern word "depraved", i.e. they think that it means a total disposition to the most heinous sins, likely coupled with a total inability to think or do what is right, a conscience that is not disturbed by the heinous things one does, etc. Some of them even seem to think the Christian position implies all of that (whether they therefore reject the Christian position or grit their teeth and swallow it). I don't, and I don't think Chesterton did either. In any case, it's kind of irrelevant to the passage in the article we are talking about: the notion that humans (including Chesterton) are sinners is certainly sufficient to have been Chesterton's point.
- Right. In any case, people feel like whatever is depraved is at best a serious step below ordinary human badness. (Fortunately or unfortunately, the same process is happening to the word "sin". People see no contradiction in saying "Well, it wasn't right, but I don't think it was a *sin*.") --Lavintzin (talk) 14:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
- (Fortunately or unfortunately, "Well, it wasn't right, but I don't think it was a sin" is in some senses a correct statement, e. g. if said about smoking a cigarette or going out quite late. The bold Christian says or should say, reversely(!), "because it was no sin, it was quite right". But not everyone is as free with himself as such a bold Christian; and there are senses, ranking below (venial) sinfulness, in which such-like behaviours can be described as wrong.) --188.8.131.52 (talk) 00:19, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
- In my opinion, Paularblaster is most correct, depravity is closely associated in the minds of many christians with the five points of traditional Calvinism (TULIP) which GK vehemently opposed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 00:22, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
The huge, Anti-Semitism section
There seems to be a hysteric trend on Wikipedia to create or try to create a huge "HES AN ANTI-SEMITE!" section on many well known mainstream people living prior to WWII (especially if they're white, Christian and European), who happened to be non-ecumenical in regards to Judaism. While a sentence or two on such a subject, if particularly relevent should be included, whole sections seem to be very out of place. It would require creating an "anti-semitism" allegation/indulgence section on just about every other European prior to very recent times, as such it seems to be undue weight. It would be like going on a witch hunt and adding huge "anti-Christian" sections to every famous Jewish persons article. - Kilfeno (talk) 23:20, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
- I agree. The accusation doesn't seem particularly well founded, as demonstrated by the likely innocuous meaning of many of the statements which supposedly support the charge and the Jewish individuals and organizations who came to his defense. I think the section should be trimmed down substantially and should retain some info which reflects the dubious nature of the charge.Mamalujo (talk) 01:00, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
- The charge of anti-semitism against Chesterton hasn't arisen as part of a 21-century trend towards tarring people with this particular brush (and actually, anti-semitism was much more talked about in the 1960s and 70s than it is now). The best-known biography of him, by Maisie Ward (Sheed & Ward, London, 1945), discusses his problematic attitude towards Jews. But he was not anti-semitic in the Nazi sense - he had quite close Jewish friends, and some of these friendships were lifelong. Most of the negativity he expressed towards Jews was opposition towards the huge amount of control that the richest ones exerted over the world's finances. He was strongly in favour of Zionism. He was vehemently anti-Hitler. An American Jewish leader, Rabbi Wise, who described himself as a warm admirer of GKC, said, in the year after Chesterton's death:
- When Hitlerism came, he was one of the first to speak out with all the directness and frankness of a great and unabashed spitit. Blessing to his memory!
- Chesterton can be defended against the charge of anti-semitism, at least in its usual sense, and his biographers have generally served him well. But the fact remains, he needs defending. Koro Neil (talk) 16:58, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
"...one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century"
Come on, how many articles about authors say this?
To say one is "one of the most" implies that there are not that many in that class, or else it is saying nothing (since if there are many in this class, than being "one" of such a big class doesn't really say much).
In my opinion, including "one" of and "most" implies one is in a select, small class at the top of a category.
Now I'm not an English major, but I've never heard of this individual. Maybe if I were an English major I'd agree that he one of a few, but I doubt it.
How about "was an influential writer" or something similarly less grandiose sounding.
- I was an English major and I have a grad degree in a related field. He's vitally important to 20th century British fiction, especially the mystery genre (Second only to Poe, Doyle and debatably third to Christie). He's one of the all-time greats at crafting characters too - after Dickens and Hardy. I doubt more than a handful of people know who George Boole, Alan Turing, or Kilby & Noyce are, yet they're probably the most important people in the development of modern computing.
- Layman prestige =/= reality. Who would the layperson say? Bill Gates? Steve Jobs? Guinness4life (talk) 04:48, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
- "Come on, how many articles about authors say this?"
- It's an encylopedia, people tend not to write articles about unimportant people or popular personages that haven't stood the test of time. I've read numerous absolutely atrocious late Victorian writers you've never heard of (their age's equivalent of Stephen King). Case in point - Bulwer-Lytton's page doesn't say that he's great.... Guinness4life (talk) 04:49, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Here is a lengthy article with citations and sources for the claim of his influence throughout the 20th Century: http://augustine.livejournal.com/7853.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 14:39, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
According to this article, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/propertyadvice/propertymarket/3305478/Dont-tell-Father-Brown.html GKC kept a mistress. Does anyone know is this is reliable information?
- While it may be The Telegaph, the article is about the house rather than GK's personal life and the mention of a mistress is incidental; a better source needs to be found before any mention of a mistress is added to the article. Nev1 (talk) 14:35, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Travel to the New World
Did GKC ever travel to the USA? In the story, The Mistake of the Machine, Fr Brown tells Flambeau that 20 years earlier the priest had been "chaplain to his co-religionists in a prison in Chicago -- where the Irish population displayed a capacity for both crime and penitence which kept him tolerably busy." Apparently, the prison's second in command, Greywood Usher, and Fr. Brown got to know each other, and enjoyed discussing theories, at least until Fr Brown showed Usher that his theory about detecting lies was all wrong.
Although, as Irvin S. Cobb points out in page 155 of "Europe Revised," the history (witches dunked in Illinois ponds), terminology ("convict house" and "governor" rather than "prison" and "warden"), slang ("rum affair," "larrikins"), and geography (no Sequah 35 miles from Chicago) are all off. http://books.google.com/books?id=QVluZOW80xoC&pg=PA155&lpg=PA155&dq=%22pilgrim%27s+pond%22+chicago&source=bl&ots=2mGoxon2Ya&sig=eUqtS6U_ud3oMUKLUqqLk-7ACbY&hl=en&ei=8UotTKjzMoO88gbixLWWAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22pilgrim%27s%20pond%22%20chicago&f=false
- Yes he did, hence the title of his book, What I Saw in America. As to Italy and other parts of Europe, a simple Google search should satisfy your curiosity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 00:28, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Writing - poetry
I removed the following paragraph from the "writing" subsection, and bring it here for discussion:
- Much of his poetry is little known, though well reflecting his beliefs and opinions. The best written is probably Lepanto, with The Rolling English Road the most familiar, and The Secret People perhaps the most quoted ("we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet"). Two other much admired poems are A Ballade of Suicide and The Ballad of the White Horse.
This is all just opinion, and in the absence of sources, it must be the opinion of the editor(s) who wrote it. This is not good. Our opinions do not matter, only the opinions of notable and reliable critics. Until this is sourced, it must remain out. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 13:34, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The anti-semitism charge should be removed altogether
This "tidbit," which, like many "tidbits" cluttering up many many wiki pages about how victimized the poor Jews are, seems like nothing more than anti-Christian propaganda. The propaganda begins with this: "Chesterton’s staunch Christianity arguably informed much of his writing and worldview." And then follows Chestertons supposed anti-semitism. Because antisemitism of course follows from people with Christian views.
Please remove this malicious, anti-CHRISTIAN propaganda, it is not relevant at all to anyone except malicious anti-Christian propagandists. Seriously, how many pages on wiki is an entire paragraph or more devoted to informing the public that Jews weren't spoken fondly of by the subject somehow, because they said something about Jews that was less than flattering "that one time." How boring and irrelevant. Seriously, what is the point? Is it really a "controversy" worth mentioning that someone blasphemed the Jews and didn't give them the reverence they apparently think they're entitled to? (judging by the slander campaign on wiki for anyone who failed to do exactly that?)
I don't understand, does "question to be explored" and "more detail, not less" mean that a biographical page on GK Chesterton is going to get hijacked like other wiki pages to be all about Jews? If I understood you correctly, then... that's a little nuts. A tad crazy. It's kind of... completely psycho. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 05:38, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
In the opening section of the article, it is said that Chesterton cast aspersions on both liberalism and conservatism - but it makes a mention to Progressives, not Liberals. In Orthodoxy, Chesterton states that he is a Liberal in a very off-hand way. As I understand it, progressivism and liberalism weren't linked in Chesterton's life, so I think that someone should change this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 01:32, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Removing antisemitism issue would be a distortion
Contrary to what has been said above, the charge of antisemitism against Chesterton hasn't arisen as part of a 21-century trend towards tarring people with this particular brush (and actually, antisemitism was much more talked about in the 1960s and 70s than it is now). All biographies of Chesterton, most of them sympathetic, discuss charges against him of antisemitism. He can be defended against the charge, but the fact remains that he needs defending. On the whole his biographers have served him well here. The article mentions the charge and offers a defence. To omit the issue altogether here would be a distortion. As it is, the article is balanced in its treatment of the issue.
The best-known biography, by Maisie Ward (Sheed & Ward, London, 1945), discusses his problematic attitude towards Jews in several places. But he was not antisemitic in the Nazi sense - he had quite close Jewish friends, and some of these friendships were lifelong. Most of the negativity he expressed towards Jews was opposition towards the huge amount of control that the richest ones exerted over the world's finances. He was strongly in favour of Zionism. He was vehemently anti-Hitler. An American Jewish leader, Rabbi Wise, who described himself as a warm admirer of GKC, said, in the year after Chesterton's death:
- When Hitlerism came, he was one of the first to speak out with all the directness and frankness of a great and unabashed spirit. Blessing to his memory!
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Maybe somebody has time to look that up: There is a Chesterton story (I don't know which, sadly) where figures an inn named The Green Dragon, including a rationalist who says: "There's only one dragon in ..., and that's green." Obviously this was somewhat literally cited by Tolkien at the beginning of the Lord of the Rings. --188.8.131.52 (talk) 16:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The "further reading" section is beginning to look like a page from the Ignatius Press back catalog. Would it be possible to list just the books about Chesterton, rather than all the books they publish in which he may be mentioned? --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:20, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
- Absolutely. I have removed the four that don't have "Chesterton" in the title. StAnselm (talk) 21:44, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
There are two sentences in the section "Life" that I think are rather misleading. They read: "According to Chesterton, as a young man he became fascinated with the occult and, along with his brother Cecil, experimented with Ouija boards. He later converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922." The superposition of these sentences may give the incorrect impression that Chesterton moved straight from occult beliefs to Catholicism in 1922, when in fact he was a Christian much earlier than this (though not Catholic); for instance Orthodoxy was written in 1908. It seems appropriate to add a sentence or two between the current sentences to explain his intermediate beliefs. Since I am a new editor I thought I would get feedback from the community before attempting any such changes myself. Thank you. Tygretus (talk) 21:50, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
- I made the changes I suggested in my paragraph above, which I hope clarify the religious beliefs Chesterton held over the course of his life. Again, any feedback would be much appreciated. Many thanks. Tygretus (talk) 19:26, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
"Defence" by Wiener Library
In light of this discussion on Wikipediocracy, I decided to look into the sources for the article's assertion that the Wiener Library has defended Chesterton against charges of anti-semitism, and the sources which have disputed this. The assertion has in fact been disputed in reliable sources, and is quite likely false. I have therefore replaced the assertion with a fully sourced account of the assertion's origin and the grounds on which it has been disputed.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 10:36, 14 October 2013 (UTC)