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Chesterton House

A Center for Christian Studies at Cornell

About Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers of all time. This British journalist's 100 books, 200 short stories, and over 4000 newspaper essays include history, philosophy, theology, economics, social commentary, and literary criticism. His best known works include Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday, and the beloved Father Brown detective stories. Chesterton's balance of wit and wisdom with humor and humility makes his style as unforgettable as his person. According to one description, Chesterton "weighed about 300 pounds, usually had a cigar in his mouth, and walked around wearing a cape and a crumpled hat, tiny glasses pinched to the end of his nose, swordstick in hand, laughter blowing through his moustache."* For his ability to make others both think and laugh at the same time, he was greatly admired even among debating opponents such as George Bernard Shaw, who called him a "colossal genius." One of the most quoted writers in the English language, Chesterton was a defender of the poor, of the amateur, of common sense, and of Christian faith. First a Unitarian, later an Anglican, and finally a Catholic, Chesterton wrote with broad appeal. His works inspired Mohandas Gandhi to challenge British colonial rule in India, and C.S. Lewis to become a Christian. Chesterton attended art school but never went to college. *Dale Ahlquist, American Chesterton Society