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G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study   By: (1891-1918)

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First Page:

G. K. CHESTERTON

UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME:

W. B. YEATS BY FORREST REID

J. M. SYNGE BY P. P. HOWE

HENRY JAMES BY FORD MADOX HUEFFER

HENRIK IBSEN BY R. ELLIS ROBERTS

THOMAS HARDY BY LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE

BERNARD SHAW BY P. P. HOWE

WALTER PATER BY EDWARD THOMAS

WALT WHITMAN BY BASIL DE SELINCOURT

SAMUEL BUTLER BY GILBERT CANNAN

A. C. SWINBURNE BY EDWARD THOMAS

GEORGE GISSING BY FRANK SWINNERTON

R. L. STEVENSON BY FRANK SWINNERTON

RUDYARD KIPLING BY CYRIL FALLS

WILLIAM MORRIS BY JOHN DRINKWATER

ROBERT BRIDGES BY F. E. BRETT YOUNG

FYODOR DOSTOIEVSKY BY J. MIDDLETON MURRY

MAURICE MAETERLINCK BY UNA TAYLOR

[Illustration: G. K. Chesterton.

from a photograph by Hector Murchison]

G. K. CHESTERTON

A CRITICAL STUDY

BY

JULIUS WEST

LONDON MARTIN SECKER NUMBER FIVE JOHN STREET ADELPHI MCMXV

I HAVE to express my gratitude to Messrs. Burns and Oates, Messrs. Methuen and Co., and Mr. Martin Seeker for their kind permission to quote from works by Mr. G. K. Chesterton published by them. I have also to express my qualified thanks to Mr. John Lane for his conditional permission to quote from books by the same author published by him. My thanks are further due, for a similar reason, to Mr. Chesterton himself.

TO J. C. SQUIRE

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. INTRODUCTORY 11 II. THE ROMANCER 23 III. THE MAKER OF MAGIC 59 IV. THE CRITIC OF LARGE THINGS 76 V. THE HUMORIST AND THE POET 91 VI. THE RELIGION OF A DEBATER 109 VII. THE POLITICIAN WHO COULD NOT TELL THE TIME 136 VIII. A DECADENT OF SORTS 163 BIBLIOGRAPHY 185

I

INTRODUCTORY

THE habit, to which we are so much addicted, of writing books about other people who have written books, will probably be a source of intense discomfort to its practitioners in the twenty first century. Like the rest of their kind, they will pin their ambition to the possibility of indulging in epigram at the expense of their contemporaries. In order to lead up to the achievement of this desire they will have to work in the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Between the two they will find an obstacle of some terror. The eighteen nineties will lie in their path, blocking the way like an unhealthy moat, which some myopes might almost mistake for an aquarium. All manner of queer fish may be discerned in these unclear waters.

To drop the metaphor, our historians will find themselves confronted by a startling change. The great Victorians write no longer, but are succeeded by eccentrics. There is Kipling, undoubtedly the most gifted of them all, but not everybody's darling for all that. There is that prolific trio of best sellers, Mrs. Humphry Ward, Miss Marie Corelli, and Mr. Hall Caine. There is Oscar Wilde, who has a vast reputation on the Continent, but never succeeded in convincing the British that he was much more than a compromise between a joke and a smell. There is the whole Yellow Book team, who never succeeded in convincing anybody. The economic basis of authorship had been shaken by the abolition of the three volume novel. The intellectual basis had been lulled to sleep by that hotchpotch of convention and largeness that we call the Victorian Era... Continue reading book >>




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