G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton LCCN2014686602.tif
BornGilbert Keith Chesterton
(1874-05-29)29 May 1874
Kensington, London, England
Died14 June 1936(1936-06-14) (aged 62)
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Resting placeRoman Catholic Cemetery, Beaconsfield
OccupationJournalist, novelist, essayist, poet
EducationSt Paul's School
Alma materSlade School of Art
GenreEssays, Fantasy, Christian apologetics, Catholic apologetics, Mystery, poetry
Literary movementCatholic literary revival[1]
Notable worksThe Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)
Charles Dickens: A Critical Study
The Man Who Was Thursday
Father Brown stories
The Everlasting Man
SpouseFrances Blogg
RelativesCecil Chesterton (brother)


Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936), was an English writer,[2] poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox".[3] Time magazine has observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."[4]

Chesterton is well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown,[5] and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man.[4][6] Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, his "friendly enemy", said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius."[4] Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin.[7]

Early life

G. K. Chesterton at the age of 17

Chesterton was born in Campden Hill in Kensington, London, the son of Marie Louise, née Grosjean, and Edward Chesterton.[8][9] He was baptised at the age of one month into the Church of England,[10] though his family themselves were irregularly practising Unitarians.[11] According to his autobiography, as a young man Chesterton became fascinated with the occult and, along with his brother Cecil, experimented with Ouija boards.[12]

Chesterton was educated at St Paul's School, then attended the Slade School of Art to become an illustrator. The Slade is a department of University College London, where Chesterton also took classes in literature, but did not complete a degree in either subject.

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