Novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, historian, journalist, Christian apologist, literary and social critic, G.K. Chesterton was one of the most protean and prolific writers of his age, perhaps of any age. Bernard Shaw called him a ‘colossal genius’. Most readers have certainly found him too big to see whole, and have therefore cut him in half. The ‘poet’ is severed from the philosopher; he is treated either as a phrase-maker or as a mystic; his quirky writings are enjoyed as an aesthetic end in themselves, or they are praised for their contribution to theology. In this close reading of his work, Michael D. Hurley brings Chesterton's divided selves together. Covering the full range of his diverse genres, Hurley shows how Chesterton thinks through language, in ways that confound attempts to read him as a thinker without first appreciating him as a writer.
‘The choice of works studied is original and wide-ranging, and the analysis offered is of great interest. Hurley genuinely opens up new ground. It is also admirable how, even when looking at things that have often been studied, he finds something new to say about them…an excellent book, and an extremely important contribution to Chesterton criticism.’
The Modern Language Review
'Clear, readable and perceptive.'
Literature and Theology
'This delightful and beautifully written book should be in the hands of everyone who loves G. K. Chesterton…a dazzling discussion.'
The Chesterton Review
'Hurley’s discussion is unfailingly and extraordinarily valuable, informative, and judicious… It is a prime value of Michael Hurley’s fine book to make us grateful for Chesterton and his works and to send us back to the texts for refreshment and renewal.'
Essays in Criticism