Chesterton’s defiant joy

January 6, 2011

Here’s a nugget of Chestertoniana to share: a new biography, Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K. Chesterton, by Kevin Belmonte, is published this week by Thomas Nelson. I do not know how many biographies of GKC have now been written, but I would not be surprised if there were a dozen or more. I can’t speak to the merits of this new one, having not seen it, but I thought I would at least note it. It appears that the book may be taking a special interest in Chesterton’s influence on other writers and thinkers, which is a very worthwhile topic for consideration.

The author, Kevin Belmonte, also has a short column this week about Chesterton in, of all places, the Huffington Post. I must say that it is slightly disingenuous of him to recruit T.S. Eliot as a Chestertonian; the two men were temperamental opposites, and I believe that Eliot found Chesterton, on balance, pretty annoying. The same cannot be said of the other writers Belmonte mentions: Shaw, Lewis, Updike, and Borges are all on the books as admirers. And we’re admirers too, aren’t we? Surely yes.

2 Responses to “Chesterton’s defiant joy”

  1. Mac Says:

    Where did I recently read a scathing remark from Eliot on Chesterton?….can’t remember…I suppose it could have been here. I’m not going to be able to quote it exactly, but the general idea was that Chesterton had an extremely active mind which never produced thought–meaning, I suppose, rigorously coherent thought. Which I think is unfair. I mean, it’s true that GKC wasn’t systematic, but he certainly was brilliant in short flights.

  2. cburrell Says:

    No, not here, I don’t think, but Eliot did make some comments to that effect. I’m not surprised that they didn’t see eye to eye. It is hard to imagine two men more different from one another.

    To my knowledge, Chesterton never made any comment on Eliot’s poetry, which is remarkable when you think about it. He commented on pretty much everything else.


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