.- Ignatius Press has announced the release of two books profiling author G.K. Chesterton, who is considered to be the “most widely quoted writer of modern times.” The two books, an autobiography and a work analyzing the insights of Chesterton are expected to reignite popular interest in one of the greatest writers of the modern age.
G.K. Chesterton was born in Campden Hill, London, where he studied to become an illustrator and a writer – though he never actually completed a degree for either. He began to work as a freelance critic of art and literature, and married a woman named Frances Blogg. Chesterton also took over a weekly column in The Illustrated London News; a column which he wrote until his death 34 years later.
Although he is considered the catalyst and greatest contributor to the revival of modern Christian literature, his path was not always straight. As a young man, Chesterton was deeply interested in the occult, even using Ouija Boards.
His wife, however, was a devout Catholic and eventually succeeded in converting him to Roman Catholicism; a conversion that would have a significant impact on Christian Literature for the rest of the century. Chesterton’s many writings centered on Christ and the Church. One such work was cited as having contributed to C.S. Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. When Chesterton died in 1936, he was named a “Defender of the Catholic Faith” by Pope Pius XI.
The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton, the first of Ignatius Press’s new books, was written by Chesterton during the last few years of his life and he only finished it about three weeks before his death. The company describes it as, “brimming with Chesterton’s wonderful and unique writing, humor, inspiration and humility.” The book also has a collection of forty rare photos.
Ignatius Press calls the autobiography, “the best account of the doubts and darkness of his youth.” The work is considered to be a more direct look at the prolific author who typically expressed his views through editorials, scholarly writings, prose, fictional novels, and more. “Chesterton’s other famed writings use various genres to make their civil or moral points; in this book he finally turns to himself,” the company said.
The second new book, written by American Chesterton Society President Dale Alquist is titled, Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton. The book is described as, “an account of wonderful insights as seen through the eyes of Chesterton.” The book uses Chesterton’s perspective on life to tackle several civil and moral issues.
Ahlquist describes his new book as “inhabiting (Chesterton) like a large house so that we can see the world through the windows he provides.” Ahlquist said that in preparation for writing the book he immersed himself in what he calls an ocean of Chesterton’s thought. An ocean which, “is deep, it is dangerous, it is delightful, it is refreshing, it is full of surprises, it is full of life.”
The book aims at recognizing Chesterton as a writer who was a true “generalist” as opposed to a “specialist.” Says Ahlquist, “the world is growing weary of specialists who know more and more about less and less.” “Chesterton has a way of informing every other discipline. He is ripe for re-discovery!”