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These essays first appeared in June of 1910 and though some of the subjects may seem a bit stodgy, the writing is still fresh and riveting and the insights are clear and powerful. In fact, some of the moral issues are perhaps more vital today than they were in Chesterton's time. He seemed to foresee that the diminution of our moral standards would lead to the dehumanization of mankind, he foresaw woman's suffrage and the dangers of the burgeoning corporate oligarchy. All of these essays are memorable, touched with Chesterton's often dazzling verbal legerdemain. In "The Insane Necessity," he writes, "...discipline means that in certain frightfully rapid circumstances, one can trust anybody so long as he is not everybody." There are so many memorable more, like "Oppression by Optimism," "The Unfinished Temple" and "Sincerity and the Gallows" that are each in their turn, breathtaking in both their focus and scope. If you've never read G K Chesterton, this is a fine place to start and if you've read some of his other works and enjoyed them, you'll love this one.
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography,Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the "prince of paradox". Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories-first carefully turning them inside out."For example, Chesterton wrote the following: Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics and even those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as a political thinker, cast aspersions on both liberalism and conservatism, saying: The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify such a position with Catholicism more and more, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton's "friendly enemy" according to Time, said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius".
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