Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of 20th century England’s leading men of letters. Born in Kensington, London, he was educated at St.Paul’s school and later studied art at the Slade School. In the 1890’s while in his twenties, he became involved in the publishing industry writing book reviews and journalism.
Though he always considered himself a journalist, he was also a noted essayist, illustrator, novelist, poet and apologist. His marriage to Frances Blogg, a devout Anglican and his striking up a friendship with Hilaire Belloc, a staunch Roman Catholic, played a part in forming his view on Christianity. Father John A. Hardon wrote of Chesterton: “Although his writings are so numerous and their range so broad, they reflect certain basic themes that are typically Chestertonian. He taught the primacy of the intellect, the purposefulness of human conduct, and his religious teaching insisted on commitment based on possession of the truth. He opposed doubt in mind and lack of commitment in the will. And he strenuously fought secularism with an apologia that took religion- and Christianity- as the only sure guide for modern society.”
His warmth, intelligence and wit endeared him to such divergent personalities as George Bernard Shaw and H.G.Wells to Hilaire Belloc , Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. His writings helped a young C.S. Lewis to embrace Christianity.
After his death, Chesterton’s work sank into obscurity, but during the past twenty years there has been a revival of interest in his writing. More of his books are being reprinted and the growth of local Chesterton societies are spurring this new appreciation of the man who was GKC.