Chesterton and Paganism

An article published in the August-November, 1990, issue of The Chesterton Review

The sheer weight of Chesterton’s intellectual genius has tended to obscure a basic fact about his nature: he was fundamentally an artist. There has always been, of course, an abundance of evidence that he was a lover of visual imagery, ranging from boyhood doodles through a lifetime of humorous cartoons depicting the foibles of his contemporaries, to the cardboard characters which he created in later years for his toy theatre. There is also the fact that, when his friends went on to Oxford and Cambridge, he chose to attend an art school at St. John’s Wood and later the Slade School of Art. The real evidence, however, lies in the vivid metaphors and ingenious parallels produced during his career as a writer. They were drawn from a seemingly inexhaustible store of observed detail. He was a man who looked, and looked deeply, one who gradually came to understand the mysterious epiphany of meaning continuously uttered in creation. If he is more widely known as a philosopher at large, it is because the bulk of his creative output lies on the side of the printed word.

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