Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most original minds of the twentieth century. He was a gifted journalist, essayist, biographer, poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, debater, and defender of common sense, of Christianity, and of the Catholic faith. He was truly an influential man of his time, writing thousands of essays and hundreds of books. Today he remains one of the best and most quoted writers of the English language.
In this book of essays, Father James V. Schall, a prolific author himself and a prominent Catholic writer, brings readers to Chesterton through a witty series of original reflections prompted by something Chesterton wrote—timely essays on timeless issues. Like Chesterton, Schall consciously leads the reader to the reality of what is, of what is true and what is at the heart of things. It is a handbook of how to take up almost any essay or chapter or paragraph of Chesterton's many works and, upon further reflection, come to realize that he was a profoundly wise man who still teaches vividly and accurately a century after he wrote. Schall easily captures Chesterton's fondness of life and laughter, and at the same time, makes readers aware of Chesterton's extreme insight and rigorous understanding of ideas and truth.
Included in this book is an introductory chapter on Chesterton as a "journalist," which is how he identified himself, and a concluding chapter that provides an extended reflection on Chesterton's world. Forty-one essays comprise the heart of the book. They range widely in subject matter, from the Catholic Church as the "natural home of the human spirit," through such topics as virtue and honor, horror and detective stories, toys and Christmas, right and wrong, to the shocking conclusion that indeed "dogmas are not dull."
James V. Schall, S.J., is author of more than twenty books, hundreds of articles, and monthly columns in Gilbert! and Crisis. He is professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. His book At the Limits of Political Philosophy: From "Brilliant Errors" to Things of Uncommon Importance was published by CUA Press in 1996.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"Schall on Chesterton sends us rushing back to Chesterton's own writings with new insights and renewed enthusiasm. It is the guide to the twentieth century's wisest and most misunderstood prophet."—John Peterson, editor, Gilbert!
"One of the great themes in Father Schall's book derives from his insistance that good literature provide a moral illumination for ordinary life. Because of the vast number of books and articles which Chesterton wrote, few people can claim and exhaustive knowledge of his writings. Father Schall is one of that small company. He shares with his hero something that Chesterton attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas—an intense interest in the significance of everyday existence, a quality which Chesterton called "a fury for life.' "—Rev. Ian Boyd, C.S.B., editor, The Chesterton Review
"Who could be more appropriate to write about Chesterton than so subtle and prolific an essayist as Father James V. Schall? Like Chesterton, he is a skilled presenter of eternal truths."—Prof. John P. McCarthy, Fordham University
"Father James Schall excels as an essayist whose critical discriminations and insights are invaluable to readers in search of literary and political and religious understanding of the more vexing problems of the modern world."—Prof. George A. Panichas, editor, Modern Age
"This is a new book of essays about Chesterton, the master of the literary essay. And the author, James Schall, is himself a considerable essayist and author of several books.... L