Book Review: The Defendant by G. K. Chesterton (Four Stars)

Book Review: The Defendant by G. K. Chesterton

Four Stars

“Every great literature has always been allegorical … of the whole universe.”

This collection of essays was first published in 1901. If you forget that, the wonder of Chesterton’s wisdom and timeliness will diminished. This book collected his iconoclastic essays on various topics, some surprisingly relevant over a century later. Rather than bore you with my opinion of his opinion, I’ll share some pithy quotes. (Though most make better sense in context of their essay.)

“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.”

“It is always the secure who are humble.”

“There is no problem in finding good in what humanity rejects: the difficulty is to find it in what humanity accepts.”

“Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.”

“Mankind in the main has always regarded reason as a bit of a joke.”

“Imagination has its highest use in a retrospective realization not so much to make settled things strange as to make facts wonders.”

“The enormousness of fatuous and useless truth which fills most widely-circulated papers … is certainly one of the most extraordinary kinds of emotional and mental pabulum on which man ever fed.” (Add television and the internet to the scope.)

“So much artistic literature [is] a refuge indicating the dullness of the world.”

“The democrats made the appalling mistake of decreasing the human magnificence of the past instead of increasing it.”

“We shall never make anything of democracy until we make fools of ourselves.”

“The literature of joy is infinitely more difficult and rare than the black and white literature of pain.”