After reading and discussing Animal Farm by George Orwell, I found the first talk on Saturday, Inside every thin man is a fat man struggling to get out; Chesterton and George Orwell, especially interesting. Not that it improved my opinion of GO very much, I didn't know much about him before and I can't say that to know him is to love him. Anyone that says Chesterton's ideas, such as the idea that people would like to be self-sufficient, are ridiculous is rather odd, especially if he then goes and does them. George Orwell did that. He said that Chesterton was quite wrong in thinking that people would want to be self-sufficient and then he went and tried to be self-sufficient for many years. To be fair, Animal Farm was interesting, although far from my favorite book in the world, and I'm sure others are too.
Let us turn to a brighter subject, that of Sigrid Undset, on whom the next talk was based. Geir Hasnes is a Norgwegian bibliographer and has a really cool accent, and his talk was fascinating. I really knew next to nothing about Sigrid Undset, but I have learned a great deal and so far I love her. How could you not love someone who read old Norse legends to her dying father in the old Norse language when she was only ten? She first discovered Chesterton when she read his book on Dickens. Then when she read Orthodoxy there was no way back, she was on her way to Catholicism. And so in 1924 on November 1st she became a Catholic. Her literary output earned her the Nobel Prize (the money she earned, she gave to mentally retarded children and to Catholic schools in Norway) and also the less comfortable position of number 1 on the Nazi extermination list in Norway, although it was complementary to her work I would say. This postition caused her to flee to America. There is of course much more to her story, but I'm not the one to tell it.
Thanks to this talk, I am now very interested to read her books now, which are, so I hear, a good cry.
More to follow shortly (within the year) on what came next.