Novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, historian, journalist, Christian apologist, literary and social critic, G.K. Chesterton was one of the most protean and prolific writers of his age, perhaps of any age. Bernard Shaw called him a ‘colossal genius’. Most readers have certainly found him too big to see whole, and have therefore cut him in half. The ‘poet’ is severed from the philosopher; he is treated either as a phrase-maker or as a mystic; his quirky writings are enjoyed as an aesthetic end in themselves, or they are praised for their contribution to theology. In this close reading of his work, Michael D. Hurley brings Chesterton's divided selves together. Covering the full range of his diverse genres, Hurley shows how Chesterton thinks through language, in ways that confound attempts to read him as a thinker without first appreciating him as a writer.
Michael D. Hurley is a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Robinson College, Cambridge. He has written widely on English Literature from the 19th century to the present day, with an emphasis on poetry and poetics. He is the editor of the new Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Father Brown Stories.
216 × 138 mm
February 20, 2012
Writers and their Work