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The Defendant

G. K. Chesterton

Book Overview: 

A collection of reprinted articles on a wide-range of subject, all in the unique style of G. K. Chesterton. Using wit, paradox, and good humor he “defends” a series of seeming harmless things that need no defense, and in so doing he exposes many of the broken assumptions and dogmatic notions of secular humanism and other trends of his age and of ours.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e end of all this is that maddening horror of unreality which descends upon the decadents, and compared with which physical pain itself would have the freshness of a youthful thing. The one hell which imagination must conceive as most hellish is to be eternally acting a play without even the narrowest and dirtiest greenroom in which to be human. And this is the condition of the decadent, of the aesthete, of the free-lover. To be everlastingly passing through dangers which we know cannot scathe us, to be taking oaths which we know cannot bind us, to be defying enemies who we know cannot conquer us—this is the grinning tyranny of decadence which is called freedom.

Let us turn, on the other hand, to the maker of vows. The man who made a vow, however wild, gave a healthy and natural expression to the greatness of a great moment. He vowed, for example, to chain two mountains together, perhaps a symbol of some great relief, or love, or aspiration. Short as the mo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An amusing collection of essays, all of which are entitled "A Defence of something". Indeed the introduction is "In Defense of a New Edition."

All sorts of topics. Penny dreadfuls, skeletons, baby-worship, china shepherdesses. . . .

With his usual wit. Such as

One would think it would be most unwise...more

I have such a crush of G. K. In this collection, he sets out to find the "diamonds in the dustheap"--all the good in the things that we think are silly, or sentimental, or useless (babyworship, for example, or idealistic pastoral). He is awfully clever. I love optimism.

Occorre una buona dose di allegria per persistere nella ribellione

“Il pessimista viene generalmente considerato un uomo in rivolta. Non è così. Innanzitutto, perché occorre una buona dose di allegria per persistere nella ribellione, e in secondo luogo perché il pessimismo si rivolge al lato debol...more

"Ci farebbe bene a volte essere come una semplice finestra: aperti, illuminati ed invisibili." (Difesa dell’umiltà, p. 79)

Not one of his best, but it is always enjoyable to read Chesterton. His observational skills partnered with his wit and skill in purveying his observations is unsurpassed.

My only complaint is his final paragraph in which he drops a racial epithet that seems to come straight outta left field. Was...more

“Every great literature has always been allegorical … of the whole universe.”

This collection of essays was first published in 1901. If you forget that, the wonder of Chesterton’s wisdom and timeliness will be diminished. This book collected his iconoclastic essays on various topics, some surprisi...more

G.K. Chesterton in defence of all sorts of things and, as usual, laying it down.

It's hard to imagine anyone being so actively engaged with the world as Chesterton was. Not only did he have a strong opinion on absolutely everything (no matter how trivial), his opinions never conformed to any one ideology. And yet, one couldn't call him predictably non-conformist, either. He w...more

Che c'è da dire? E' Chesterton. Ogni parola, ogni virgola, sono oro puro. Questa è una raccoltina minore e deliziosa.

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