Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I've been reading The Wisdom and Innocence by Joseph Pearce (and probably will be for quite a while) and I found these tidbits (and others too of course) regarding the differences between Chesterton and Belloc, quite interesting.

F.J. Sheed wrote:

Each had his own way of being himself. which means that they had they had their different ways of forcing gentlemen to listen. I shall tell a story of each, well known to men of my generation, not perhaps to our juniors.

1. Belloc was kneeling at Mass in Westminster Cathedral. A sacristan whispered to him, "Excuse me sir, we stand here."
Belloc: "Go to hell."
Sacristan: "I'm sorry sir, I didn't know you were a Catholic."
2. Chesterton was a vast man physically- over twenty stone, say three
hundred pounds. During the war a patriotic lady accused him of cowardice.
Patriotic Lady: "Why aren't you out at the Front?"
Chesterton: "Madame, if you will go around to the side, you'll see that I am."

The stories are typical- Belloc rude to the polite stranger, Chesterton
polite the rude stranger...

Frank Swinnerton drew a similar conclusion:

One reason for the love of Chesterton was that while he fought he sang lays of chivalry and in spite of all his seriousness warred against only wickedness rather than a fleshly opponent, while Belloc sang only after the battle and warred against men as well as ideas.

And finally Joseph Pearce observed regarding a quote of Belloc's:

It does not follow that one must wound people in order to provide weapons to wound and kill folly. It was a central tenet of Chesterton's outlook that one could kill folly without killing a person or his personal reputation.

Now I do hope I haven't done that seeing as this is my first post about Belloc. From what I have read I think I would have liked him very much. And please understand that the quotes appealed to me, not for the part about Belloc but rather the glimpse they give of Chesterton's remarkable character. The two were really great friends, hopefully I'll get a chance to post about their friendship before too long.


Love2Learn Mom said...

These are such great descriptions of who Chesterton was and connect some other pieces up in my head too - especially Chesterton's admiration for the charity and humility of St. Francis. Looking back, I think that his book on St. Francis might be my favorite work of Chesterton so far (it's so very hard to say, though!).

Thanks for finding this gem!

Lewis the Editor said...

You should read "Old Thunder" (the biography of Belloc) when you're done "Wisdom and Innocence". I really enjoyed it.

Mapaz said...

Hahaha! I didn't remember that part! There's another thing I love about Chesterton: his humility. How come the best men of all are also the humblest?

And about Belloc... I've never read anything by/about him. I know I should, though. There's his Joan of Arc I'd like to read, Europe and the Faith, Crisis of our civilization... and I've also been looking for that biography, Old Thunder, but I don't even know if it's been translated into Spanish.

Algernon said...

Great post! I wonder how soon Belloc went to confession for that.
It would also be interesting to to know what the lady thought!

Ria said...

Mom: I'm glad you liked them (I did too). I really do need to read St. Francis.

Lewis: I'll take a look for it. Thanks for the reccomendation.


"Pride flings frail palaces at the sky,
As a man flings up sand,
But the firm feet of humility
Take hold of heavy land. (from the Ballad)

Yes, you're absolutely right. I'm sure there are a ton of quotes about humility from many sources... perhaps you (or me) should concoct a post about that sometime(And I need to read more Belloc too. It really is quite sad, with how many books of his we have.)

Algernon: Thanks. hmmm... I wonder. One more thing I'd like to know if I get to heaven(-:

Good gracious what a rambly comment I've written!

Love2Learn Mom said...

I just stumbled upon this somewhat related quote from Evelyn Waugh:

"You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." -- Evelyn Waugh

Mamselle Duroc said...

I've always loved Belloc... I'd dare to say as much as I love Chesterton, though in a very different way. I haven't read a great many of his books, but what I have read I found simply fascinating.

I have heard, however, from a couple people, that reading an actual biography of Belloc can be disillusioning? I must admit it rather scared me away from reading anything about him, at least for the time being.

Would it really be such a unedifying experience to find out more about the man himself?

Lewis the Editor said...

I don't think so. His life was generally a bit sadder than Chesterton's. I think it depends on who the biography was written by, because there are some people who don't like him much.
I already suggested "Old Thunder" by Joseph Pearce in an above comment. Perhaps you should try reading it. I think you'd probably like it.