Monday, 29 June 2015

Review: 'G.K. Chesterton Quotes' by Bob Blaisdell

Not long after reading Chesterton's brilliant The Man Who Was Thursday I stumbled across Blaisdell's G.K. Chesterton Quotes on Netgalley. Part of the genius of Chesterton's prose was his strong sense of character and independence. So why wouldn't I want to read a book full of his quotes? Thanks to Netgalley and Dover Publications for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pub. Date: 17/06/2015
Publisher: Dover Publications
"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person," declared the philosopher and wit G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936). The extent and variety of the author's writings―comprising journalism, history, biography, apologetics, poetry, plays, and detective fiction―attest to his own diversity of enthusiasms. This rich and thought-provoking anthology draws from Chesterton's vast treasury of publications to present his most trenchant observations on education, humor, literature, religion, politics, class, and other topics. 
Editor Bob Blaisdell offers an insightful introduction to Chesterton's life and works and identifies the source of each quotation. Organized thematically, the quotes range from quips from Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries ("The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.") and novels ("Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.") to his newspaper columns ("An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.") and essays ("No man must be superior to the things that are common to men.… Not only are we all in the same boat, but we are all seasick.")
G.K. Chesterton was an Absurdist writer and a biographer, a Christian and seemingly a socialist. He wrote about almost anything, as long as it interested him, and he did so well. This book of quotes covers his whole career and does really well in showing from when and where the quote is. The main challenge that faced Blaisdell was how to bring this selection of quotes together in a way that doesn't feel uterly random and, maybe, even pointless. In this book, though, the quotes seem to naturally follow one another by theme and it means that it is actually interesting to keep reading them to see how Chesterton's mind changed throughout the years.

It's always an interesting question to consider to what extent personal opinion is interesting. It is a question I often come back to when writing for this blog as well. A personal opinion, it seems, is only interesting if it is well-informed, outside of the box or comes from someone famous. In this case, Chesterton is a bit of all of those. His opinions are interesting because some of them are out there, others because he is in a better position than us to judge and others simply because they come from him. His writing is funny, insightful and at times slightly ridiculous and his quotes reflect that. Some of them hit really deep, showing his dedication to what he is writing about, but also his willingness to mock himself and those around us.

I give this collection...

3 Universes!

If you're  a fan of Chesterton's writing than Blaisdell's quote collection will be great for you. Blaisdell's own introduction is also very interesting. G.K. Chesterton Quotes is the kind of book that would do great on a coffee table, ready to be picked up and browsed through at random times.


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  3. Nice compilation. Thanks for sharing!!