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Oct 11, 2023·edited Oct 11, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

You surprisingly managed to elicit in me an even deeper appreciation of Chesterton (and I am already an avid fan). Thank you for linking "The Drift from Domesticity"; I will print and read it over breakfast. I have "Defiant Joy" sitting on my shelf, but never got around to reading it, but will certainly place it on my current "books to read mountain". Thanks again for your excellent posts Joel!

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Thanks for reading, Ruth!

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I loved this piece. As a guy that writes a Substack about books that are hidden and their meanings are not obvious, I really enjoyed hearing about Chesterton’s fence in particular! What a metaphor for my own work!

As someone who is woefully ignorant about Chesterton. Do you think jumping off with The Man Who Was Thursday, which I do have, is a good start?

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Yes! That’s the first of his I ever read. My mom had a copy with an insane cover (a cartoon man in a bird costume). I was intrigued and took it with me to school and read it between classes. It’s a lot of fun—and quite funny. For easy access to his nonfiction, I’d say The Quotable Chesterton is the best place to start, but be prepared to purchase a couple more books once you get going: one thing always leads to another.

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Oct 11, 2023·edited Oct 11, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I agree with Joel - The Man Who Was Thursday is a perfect introduction to Chesterton. I also like The Club of Queer Trades, a collection of short stories about people who have odd occupations. It's very funny. Joel, thank you for this terrific essay. And thank you for helping get The Quotable Chesterton published. It must have been difficult to figure out where to stop each quote. Whenever I read something of his, I find myself underlining every sentence!

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I’ve never read Club of Queer Trades, but I used to have a copy. Not sure what happened to it! Re Quotable Chesterton, Kevin Belmonte did all the hard work on that one. It’s a great bedside book.

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Oct 12, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

Club is included in this huge collection ($1.99!): https://www.delphiclassics.com/shop/g-k-chesterton-us-version/

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I’m going to give it a go. Thanks both!

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Please report back!

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Are you aware of Paul Vanderklays YT channel? Just found your work but I have a feeling you might appreciate it

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No, I’m not. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

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Enjoyed the two posts on Chesterton. I have a 1953 collection of his works entitled A Handful Of Authors, good source for his essays/ reviews of authors, such as George Bernard Shaw (as you mentioned). I was surprised by his ”Louisa Alcott,” in which he talks about his trepidation for writing about women/girls.

“I for one will willingly confess that the only thing on earth I am frightfully afraid of is a little girl.… Grown girls and women give us at least glimpses of their meaning. But the whole of the period between a girl who is six years old and a girl who is 16 is to me an abyss not only of mystery, but of terror. If the Prussians were invading England… The best they could do would be to send a long rank or regiment of Prussian girls of twelve, from which I should fly, screaming.”

Hey says interesting things about women authors, too, in the essay.

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LOL

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I can't think of a more quotable writer than Chesterton, and I weirdly reference his fence rather often in my ordinary life, from making a case for reading old books to liturgy as worship on Sundays. Thanks so much for this deep-dive, Joel! A delightful read.

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Thanks, Tsh! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think he’s particularly effective in short form; his essays are always good.

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I know nothing about Chesterton other than Father Brown. I'm off to find out. Shall probably start with Quotes.

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He can be a lot of fun. I bet you’ll find plenty of interest there.

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Oct 12, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

The idea in this piece applies to so many areas of our society today. Sad part is the majority of the people no longer read, so they will never be exposed to it, the ones who do read, they would be afraid to mention it.

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It ought to be a gut check anytime a policy or institution is changed, answering the question: Why was this here to begin with? If you can answer that and still justify the change, go ahead. If not, then leave it alone.

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Oct 12, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

We can see what happened when they repealed the glass steagal act ..we got 2007 and credit swap derivatives

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Thank you Joel! Sharing with Chesterton friends if they're not here already. I ordered Orhtodoxy from Amazon a couple of years ago and it came in an Amazon reprint that did the writing no service. Dense and hard to read, unlike the writing itself. Perhaps if I use my pen and make it more my own with marginalia!

A favourite Chesterton quote in my file: "Logic, then, is not necessarily an instrument for finding truth; on the contrary, truth is necessarily an instrument for using logic—for using it, that is, for the discovery of further truth and for the profit of humanity. Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it."

G. K. Chesterton (Daily News, Feb 25, 1905)

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Argh! I hate those knockoff copies.

That quote! Classic example of his framing abilities. And totally correct. Logic is a means to an end; it’s not the end and—without an end such as truth—will lead one astray.

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I’ve been reading GKC for over thirty years. I’ve now collected all of his more than 100 books in early editions save one (his very rare illustrated profile of William Cobbett). My decades-long habit is to read “Orthodoxy” every January--along with Kuyper’s “Stone Lectures” and Calvin’s “Golden Booklet.”

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What a treasure. Reading Orthodoxy every January seems like a great way to start the year.

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Thank you for this. I believe the ability to see how similar things differ and how different things are similar is the basis of Solomon's wisdom. The Everlasting Man is another apologist's treasure. He nails the contrast between the daydreams and the nightmare. And The Ball and the Cross is beautiful social commentary.

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I also asked Trevin Wax about what Chesterton stories should be turned into a major motion picture. He suggested The Ball and the Cross.

Also re Everlasting Man, if memory serves that was an important book for C.S. Lewis and his slow conversion.

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I read The Ball and The Cross years ago, and am still pondering it. It seriously calls for a theological treatise to go with the paradoxial story. Two men with incompatible ideas each is willing to die for and to kill for, yet they develop a friendship they are willing to lay down their lives for. More generally, how does the created in-oneness of humanity survive in the gospel-caused in-twoness of faith and unbelief?

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Great piece. Thanks for making Chesterton so much more than a defender of fences for me!

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Hah! You’re welcome.

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In 1914, Robert Frost had a thing or two to say about the subject in Mending Wall.

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“Good fences make good neighbors.”

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

Great commentary. I’m going to grab my Chesterton off my shelf and revisit him! Thank you!

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Delightful! Glad you enjoyed the piece!

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deletedOct 11, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller
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Agreed. If policymakers would take it even just half seriously, we’d all benefit immeasurably.

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