Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chesterton and the young

One of the things I like to do is to search at random online for mentions of G.K Chesterton.

In a number of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Technorati, he shows up frequently – sometimes as officials sites dedicated to him or mentioning him, mostly as cited quotations.

But sometimes people write more in depth about him, quoting him at length, discussing his ideas, citing books of his they are reading (Orthodoxy seems to be showing up quite a bit lately).

I recently came across this entry by Stephanie in her MySpace blog:

G. K. Chesterton is one of my most favorite authors. It takes patience to read Chesterton because he writes in this long-winded Britishy speak and can drown you in minute details. But, in one of his books, he argues that the nature of the human is closer to the nature of God than to the nature of the animal. Chesterton doesn't base his theory on intelligence. He bases it on the fact that we humans have IMAGINATION. We express ourselves through poetry, stories, artwork, dance, song, and the like.

I think that's beautiful and true.

You can teach a dog to roll over, a parrot to speak, and marvel over the intelligence of the worker ant, but when is the last time a cat painted the Sistine Chapel? So, I say, the more CREATIVE I am the closer I am to God. Ahhh! That makes me even happier to be an artist!

Nice. I chuckled at the mention that he writes in “long-winded Britishy speak.” But her point about imagination is a good one.

A lot of young people are discovering Chesterton. That gives me hope for them – and the future.

In the Catholic world, there is even a youth-oriented Chesterton blog just begun on June 19 – Chesterteens.

Created by Ria, gilbertgirl and Margaret, they describe it as “an unofficial society for teenage Chesterton fanatics.”

In her first entry, Ria wrote, “I hope that I will soon be joined by other Chesterton loving teens This is going to be fun!!!!!”

I certainly hope so. Chesterton can be a lot of fun - even in a "long-winded Britshy speak" way.

Check them out and encourage them. So many blogs start out with grand ideas, then fade as reality (and life) intrude. I hope this is one that will succeed.

7 comments:

Eric said...

I did the same thing recently, Lee. I went to myspace.com and typed in "G.K. Chesterton." I got nearly 200 hits. Young people quoting him or listing him as their favorite author.

Of course, myspace has 75 million users, so maybe it's not overly impressive, but 200 is still 200.

Steve Case said...

She's got a point about the long-windy British speach though. Even in books like Manalive, it can sometimes run you down.

Steve Case said...

. . . or at least, run me down.

Chestertonian said...

"or at least, run me down."

Yes,speak for yourself, Steve. I see his prose as the literary equivalent of a lingering, slow-food dinner, starting with drinks; continuing with drinks and an appetiser; then the salad course; then the entree (steak, medium rare) with more drinks, preferably wine; and finally dessert and an after-dinner coffee. You take your time. Your goal is not so much to simply satisfy hunger, but to satisfy it in a way that appeals to all the senses and elevates the soul.

Anything less is eating from a trough. :-)

Agricola said...

Hey Steve,

You're not the first person I've heard say that GK's writing is sometimes tiresome. My own father is among those ranks. *sigh* However, I can't say that I've ever considered GK's writings long-winded; quite the contrary. I find him to be to-the-point... often so much so that it shocks. If his pace seems too fast, slow down. Take Chestertonian's advice and treat each read like a well planned meal... 'food for thought' as they say.

Slow down, read carefully, and enjoy. His style is not modern and doesn't have the wind-swept feel of the minimalists, but neither is it pagan and doesn't contain gaudy embellishments. If one looks carefully at his work, one can see that the artistry has purpose. For every elaboration and description there are allusions and meanings that are the spice a patient and attentive reader can savour and never tire of.

Regards

Anonymous said...

Myself and two friends recieved a scholarship last year to study G.K. We left our home school, Colorado College, and headed for London, Oxford, Beacondsfield and the like. We had the extreme honor of meeting the eminent Aidan Mackey, who I believe could pontificate on matters of Chesterton for days without so much as a break.

For our part we're doing as much sharing of Chesterton and his equals as possible. The "intellectual environment" here doesn't care too much for intelligent Christian dialogue, but we've had a few takers.

Humbly yours,
Garrett B.
TheCelticBard@hotmail.com

Nick Milne said...

Garrett B.: Would you and your two friends be willing to say a Rosary for me? For, you see, I am now drowned in the emerald sea of envy, and need all the help I can get.

In all seriousness, however, thanks for stopping by. I hope your studies were fruitful.