Beginning Orthodoxy

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By G. K. Chesterton

Ahhh… Back to my reading list.

I’ve barely got through the introduction and I’m already wishing to quote large chunks of this fellow. He makes me laugh, and I like his analogies.

He reads rather like a blogger, which should be no surprise since he was a journalist and a debater for pleasure. He seems almost (again, like a blogger) to have unrestricted printing access. This makes him very free with word-count and self-amusing asides.

This book, Chesterton says, grew out of a challenge that the last book he wrote was incomplete in its scope.

It was perhaps an incautious suggestion to make to a person only too ready to write books upon the feeblest provocation.

Two things so far have caught my mind.

First, the (every) writer’s reality of rediscovering what (really) is already known,

I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before…. [This book] recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious.

And second, the question for both philosophers and writers:

How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it?

He says the book is meant to show how his faith (Christanity, Orthodoxy to use his title) answers

This double spiritual need, the need for the mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which Christendom has rightly named romance.

Chesterton writes, assuming this is a paradox each of us seeks for our own happiness.

The thing I propose to take as common ground between myself and any average reader, is this desirability of an active and imaginative life, picturesque and full of poetical curiosity, a life such as western man at any rate always seems to have desired….

[They] would agree to the general propposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable.

This is the fist time I have tried Chesterton, so I don’t know how it will go on, but so far I am quite intruiged.

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