Born on 29th of May 1874
Died in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
Died on 14th of June 1936
Quotes from GK Chesterton
'I believe in getting in to hot'... More
GK Chesterton was a Renaissance Man in every way except one: this philosopher, novelist, playwright, journalist, poet, artist and critic was not a scholar, and perhaps that was his greatest strength – he was his own man above all else, instinctively and intellectually insightful.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in Kensington on May 29 1874. After his schooling at St Paul’s he enrolled at the Slade School of Art, and attended some classes at University College London, but was not moved to gain a degree and drifted into work with a publisher and some freelance journalism.
This early art criticism led to more commissions, and he proved himself a consistently adept and often provocative journalist, using paradox to cast new light on a subject, and almost always writing with humour. In his career he published more than 4000 articles in newspapers and periodicals (including his own G.K’s. Weekly), and some 80 books including The Napoleon of Notting Hill which is at once humorous and thought-provoking, forcing the reader to think about his or her actions as the political machine grinds on.
Although he did not convert to Catholicism until 1922 Chesterton’s work is laced with Catholic thought: he wrote a highly regarded life of Thomas Aquinas, and a revered one of St Francis of Assisi; and serious works such as Heretics and Orthodoxy; but he also produced the amiable priest-detective Father Brown.
A very sociable man (reflected in his famous girth – he weighed well over 20 stone in maturity), he was friendly with many major literary figures of his day: Hilaire Belloc was a close ally (Chesterton illustrated some of his works); and Shaw, Bertrand Russell and HG Wells, while a world away from him in beliefs were on good terms with Chesterton.
Many writers cite Chesterton as an influence – Graham Greene, Dorothy L. Sayers, W.H. Auden, and Terry Pratchett among them.
Chesterton died on June 14 1936 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. In spite of his famous absent mindedness and bonhomie, and his production of many works with a limited readership, his estate was worth more than £1 million in today’s terms, a reflection of his prodigious output and the popular success of a good part of it.
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