Waugh on Chesterton

March 26, 2010

Here’s a delicious little morsel: National Review Online has been unearthing archival material for the web, and a 1961 article by Evelyn Waugh, in which he reviewed Gary Wills’ book Chesterton: Man and Mask, has recently been restored to the sunshine.  Waugh did not think much of Wills’ book — and I dare say he would have thought even less of those that followed — but he did have some good things to say about our man Chesterton.  In praise of Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, Waugh wrote:

It is a great, popular book, one of the few really great popular books of the century; the triumphant assertion that a book can be both great and popular. And it needs no elucidation. It is brilliantly clear. It met a temporary need and survives as a permanent monument.

Fifty years later The Everlasting Man continues to garner readers, including me.  Not long ago it was the subject of one of the Book Notes that I carelessly toss forth from this earthy, rock-sheltered hollow.  If you’d like, you can read it, but I’d read Waugh first.

(Hat-tip: Insight Scoop)

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