Keith Chesteron, (29 May 1874 – 14 June
1936) was one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century.
His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry,
biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction.
Chesterton has been called the "prince of paradox". Time magazine,
in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style:
"Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings,
proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out." For
example, Chesterton wrote the following:
"Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become
their property that they may more perfectly respect it."
Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics and even those who
disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as
Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as a political
thinker, cast aspersions on both liberalism and conservatism, saying:
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and
Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes.
The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being
Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and
came to identify such a position with Catholicism more and more,
eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism. George
Bernard Shaw, Chesterton's "friendly enemy" according to Time, said
of him, "He was a man of colossal genius".
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