Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton

Joseph Pearce

Wisdom and Innocence

Described by his critics as 'naive', by his wife as the 'jolly journalist' and by Dorothy L. Sayers as a 'beneficent bomb', Chesterton is one of the most enigmatic figures of the early twentieth century. On the 60th anniversary of his death and drawing on much previously unpublished material, Pearce's biography surveys the celebratory life and prolific writing which made him a household name. In his rapid rise to fame at the start of the century, Chesterton took Fleet Street by storm, writing a huge number of essays, biographies, poems, novels, plays and, of course, the much loved Father Brown stories. He debated with all the great names of the day, disdaining conventionality, championing the Liberal cause and prophesying the wars and catastrophes that the century would witness. A modern intellect, he strove for integrity, his religious faith and conversion to Catholicism affecting every area of his life and profoundly influencing C.S. Lewis, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene. At the heart of the man who aroused critical acclaim at home and abroad, is someone who loved the friendship of children, idolised his wife and was sustained by his great friendships with Hilaire Belloc, Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. A large man in every sense, perhaps his greatest discovery was that 'the secret of life lies in laughter and humility'.