Sub-Versive Poet

He has been called “the best writer of the 20th century.” Not easily measured and more a matter of opinion, I think, but there are others who’ve used similar descriptions to emphasize his genius. In a letter to his friend Sheldon Vanauken, C. S. Lewis described one of this man’s books (The Everlasting Man) as “the best popular apologetic I know.” Another writer, T. S. Eliot, described his poetry as “first-rate journalistic balladry.Three_acres_and_a_cow

If you haven’t guessed his name yet, he is Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton, a literary giant and dominant figure in twentieth century London, a man who is best known for his Father Brown mysteries, but was equally at home writing (and speaking) on a multitude of topics.

The self-portrait at right, Three Acres and a Cow, provides a hint of Chesterton’s great wit. A large man at 6 feet 4 inches and almost 300 pounds, Chesterton acknowledged his girth and borrowed this slogan to describe himself, though it was initially coined to describe the desirable size for an individual citizen’s sustainable land holdings. In another example of Chesterton’s self-deprecation, during World War I, a woman queried why he wasn’t “out at the Front” and he replied, “If you go round to the side, you will see that I am.” Continue reading “Sub-Versive Poet”

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