Item description for The Autobiography of G. K. Chesterton by G. K. Chesterton & Randall Paine...
Overview Here is a special two-in-one book that is both by G.K. Chesterton and about Chesterton. This volume offers an irresistible opportunity to see who this remarkable man really was. Chesterton was one of the most stimulating and well-loved writers of the 20th century. His 100 books, and hundreds of essays and columns on a great variety of themes have made G.K. Chesterton the most widely quoted writers of modern times. Here is Chesterton in his own words, in a book he preferred not to write, but did so near the end of his life after much insistence by friends and admirers. Critic Sydney Dark wrote after Chesterton died that perhaps the happiest thing that happened in Gilbert Chesterton's extraordinarily happy life was that his autobiography was finished a few weeks before his death. It is a stimulating, exciting, tremendously interesting book. It is a draught - indeed, several draughts one after the other - of human and literary champagne." Full of Chesterton's wonderful and unique writing, humor, inspiration and humility, with some 40 rare photos, this book will be greatly desired by Chesterton fans, as well as by anyone interested in learning who this colorful and brilliant person was.
Publishers Description Here is a special two-in-one book that is both by G.K. Chesterton and about Chesterton. This volume offers an irresistible opportunity to see who this remarkable man really was. Chesterton was one of the most stimulating and well-loved writers of the 20th century. His 100 books, and hundreds of essasy and columns on a great variety of themes have made G.K. Chesterton the most widely quoted writers of modern times. Here is Chesterton is his own words, in a book he preferred not to write, but did so near the end of his life after much insistence by friends and admirers. Critic Syndey Dark wrote after Chesterton died that perhaps the happiest thing that happened in Gilbert Chesterton's extraordinarily happy life was that his autobiography was finished a few weeks before his death. It is a stimulating, exciting, tremendously intresting book. It is a draught - indeed, several draugts one after the other - of human and literary champagne." Full of Chesteron's wonderful and unique writing, humor, inspiration and humilty, with some 40 rare photos, this book will be greatly desired by Chesterton fans, as well as by anyone interested in learning who this colorful and brilliant persons was.
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G.K. Chesteron was born in 1874. He attended the Slade School of Art, where he appears to have suffered a nervous breakdown, before turning his hand to journalism. A prolific writer throughout his life, his best-known books include The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), The Man Who Knew Too Much(1922), The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) and the Father Brown stories. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922 and died in 1938. Michael D. Hurley is a Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St Catharine's College. He has written widely on English literature from the nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on poetry and poetics. His book on G. K. Chesterton was published in 2011.
G. K. Chesterton lived in London. G. K. Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936.
G. K. Chesterton has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton?
A witty, insightful chronicle brimming with wisdom, experience, and more than a few life lessons learned the hard way. Nov 5, 2006
Completed only a few weeks prior to the close of the author's long, successful and happy life, The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton is the life story of one the modern era's most prolific authors, credited with approximately one hundred books on topics ranging from philosophy, theology, poetry, literature, fiction, and history. Written in an amiable, accessible first-person voice, and illustrated with some forty rare black-and-white photographs, The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton is a "must-have" for researchers and students of Chesterton's literary work, and highly recommended for college and public library collections. A witty, insightful chronicle brimming with wisdom, experience, and more than a few life lessons learned the hard way.
The Restless Victorian Jul 25, 2006
Like many English majors upon graduation I was sick to death of Enlgish lit and sold my books off at the local used book store. As "classic rock" seems to be whichever moldy oldies a radio station wants to play, so "classic lit" is similarly a mixed bag of whatever gets shoved into the Norton Anthologies.
Much later I found out how politically motivated such anthologies are (especially the non-fiction ones) and as usual, the Oxford Press ones proved to be far better collections. But reading Chesterton's autobio, I realized how little I got out of my one Victorian lit class, and how much more there was to this era than Thomas Hardy and George Eliot.
Being more and more known as a Chesterton fan-atic and having garnered three pages of notes, bon mots and one-liners from this book, why do I give it four stars? Simply because I require Randall P. or some other competent commentator to provide far more copious footnotes of all things Victoriana. A great deal of history and literature (Victorian pop culture)is herein lightly touched on or briefly referred to by G.K.C. as if readers actually knew what he was talking about.
A friend listened to this book on tape and his take on it was that unlike Orthodoxy and other Chesterton works which continually dazzle the reader, this one is concerned more with enlightening them. Rather than quote the whole book, as one may be tempted to do, I'll confine myself to this reflection on World War One, which Chesterton calls the Great War since this book from 1936 falls before WW II:
"What would the Kaiser, with his mailed fist and his boasts of being Atilla and the leader of the Huns, even in time of peace, have been like if he had issued completely victorious out of a universal war?...What has come out of the War?(?) We have come out of the War, and come out alive; England and Europe have come out of the War, with all their sins on their heads, confused, corrupted, degraded, but not dead....The only defensible war is a war of defence. And a war of defence by its very definition and nature, is one from which a man comes back battered and bleeding and only boasting that he is not dead."
Chesterton has done this reader a great service of actually making him interested in the Victorian era, and rekindled something of that spark for reading that being an English major plodding through a Norton Anthology nearly inevitably kills. He's done something more than breathed life into an oft-dismissed and dusty age, in his lust for life he holds out the promise of breathing life even into our own.
I cannot imagine that a better autobiography has ever been written Apr 9, 2006
Let me begin by saying that this is really not so much of an autobiography as the title Autobiography implies that it is. Chesterton, being a very humble man, chose not to talk about himself during good portions of this book. Of course, there is a lot of discussion of himself (otherwise it would not be an autobiography at all), but there is much that is simply about the world at his time and the thoughts that he has. It is almost more like Augustine's Confessions that a real autobiography (by this I mean an autobiography of his ideas rather than his actions).
In this outstanding book, Chesterton gives us his life story, starting with his childhood, leading into his slight involvement in occultism, then to his conversion (when he realized that all the things he thought he had discovered by thinking were what Christians had believed all along), and into his literary career and political activities. Along the way we get his views on materialism, determinism, naturalism, educations, science, Catholocism, evil, art, the common man, ethics, war, politics, truth, writing fiction, optimism and pessimism, nature, human rights, etc. You get the picture. Chesterton talks about just about everything that was a major issue when he wrote this (1936). He finished it right before he died and it was published posthumously. I personally liked it more than Orthodoxy, which I liked very much. This book is almost like an expanded version of Orthodoxy with some of Chesterton's life story mixed in. Definitely worth reading. It is probably one of my ten favorite books that I have ever read.
His discussion of optimism and pessimism near the end of the book was especially good. This was a major issue then, as modernism's Idea of Progress was clashing with the despair following the World War and the Great Depression. He ended up concluding that neither is the correct stance. He states that "The two sins against Hope are presumption and despair." He goes on to say that what we should really be doing is not presuming that things will go right, or despairing that they will go ill, but rather we should be appreciating what we have. Some things are perhaps hard to appreciate, but this book is not one of them.
Overall grade: A+
Chesterton lives what he writes Nov 13, 2003
As always, Chesterton here weighs in with mountains of brilliant insights and poetic experiences. This is a very broad book, covering the whole range of Chesterton's interests, which spanned literature and politics and myth and orthodoxy, among other things. As I progressed from chapter to delightful chapter, I found myself chuckling now and scratching my head again and racing to jot down my thoughts at the end. Few authors I have read carry such a solid understanding of so many areas as Chesterton, and certainly even fewer present it as accurately and as beautifully as Chesterton.
But you can get a lot of this insight in his other books. This book in particular was enjoyable to understand in a small degree how Chesterton lived out what he believed. It was very encouraging to see that all of these wonderful thoughts need not stay bottled up in the head; they must come out in jokes and essays, books and beer. It took Chesterton a number of years to believe in orthodoxy, and he made some blunders and learned many things in a difficult manner. But in the end, Chesterton lived as a manalive, and this was perfectly in keeping with his final philosophy. We would all do good to read this book and take some lessons from the wise man who was Chesterton.
Oh, one minor word of warning. Much of the book deals with rather obscure commentary on even more obscure English events in Chesterton's time. I'm sure all of it is incisive and trenchant material, but many times I couldn't make heads or tails out of what he was talking about. But it was nevertheless fun to read despite the mystery of it all.