Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In case you missed it A.N. Wilson’s review of The Paradox Who Was Chesterton
New evidence about the development of G. K. Chesterton's ideas and his progress towards Roman Catholicism
By William Oddie was posted here.

Whenever I see a review of Chesterton’s work in the Mass Media I always hold my breath a little thinking that at any moment it will mention GK “Antisemitism” or his "unfavorable view of women” which usually has nothing to do with the work being reviewed. This review, thankfully did not mention any of those. It did however pick up a new dig against Uncle Gilbert, again nothing to do with the book, when Wilson interjected this little nugget:“(for there is bizarre talk of GK’s canonization)”. I guess they just can’t help themselves.

Anyway here is an except from the review:

"Chesterton’s fiction and journalism were dashed off at speed. This is not to say that they were not on some levels deeply considered. It could be said, truthfully as well as Chestertonianly, that he was never deeper than when he was being superficial. Many of his wisest remarks are the throwaways, but you do not necessarily preserve the truth of a throwaway remark by patching it together with other throwaway remarks to construct a Summa. Chesterton’s observation about angels – that they can fly because they carry so little weight – applies to his own writings."

And yes Wilson got the quote wrong the true quote is "Angels can fly
because they take themselves lightly."

4 comments:

Joe said...

Alan, you too are forgiven for an inexact quotation. The verbatim text is "Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly." (Orthodoxy, Ch.7 The Eternal Revolution). As Dr Thursday says, it is the "two-can" quote.

Joe said...

Alan, I do agree with you. "Carrying so little weight" just doesn't have the same meaning as "taking oneself lightly", unless I am missing some English connotation. I don't think Chesterton made "throwaway remarks". How can a biographer of GKC misunderstand him like this?

Lee Strong said...

Perhaps by "throw-away" he was referring to Chesterton's method of compostion - basically dictation what was to appear in print. He would seem to just throw out these remarks - though we have no way of knowing how much thought went into them.

But I agree, this comment shows a lack of understanding of Chesterton.

Anonymous said...

thanks Joe for the correction. i should know better than to work from memory with this crowd.

all my lunch,
alan