Belloc and Chesterton

Belloc and Chesterton

Peter Hunt

I have just been reading the May issue of AD2000 and would like to offer a few comments. It is clear enough that Schmude's pamphlets were excellent when they were written and are still excellent now.

First, it is important for the reader to understand regarding Brother Moe's review that Karl Schmude's little booklets on Belloc and Chesterton were reprinted for the centenary of the Catholic Truth Society. They are not, though they may purport to be, simply "updated" versions of the original pamphlets.

I must say it is rather disappointing to find that very little work has been done on the present state of Chesterton-Belloc reading and studies, or on the influence of what has become the aptly named Chesterton Movement across the world.

Moreover, though it is hardly believable, Fr Ian Boyd, whose pioneering work is crucial, is not even mentioned in Schmude's script. It is as though the author does not believe that this late upsurge of interest and fecundity can go much further, but thinks the status and stature and greatness of Ian Boyd's vision and all the brilliant studies are set in a permanent acknowledgement of highlights by the public and critics.

Not only that, but the multiplicity of small groups and branches of the Chesterton Society draws on a huge clientele, for example even our own Defendant, not to mention such vivacious and significant writing as exhibited by Gilbert. Possibly what happened is that Karl Schmude attempted to graft the old on to the new.

In fact it would not be too much to say that the account given reflects more a late 1950s version of the work of these great figures than it does of the current state of affairs.

Apparently, according to Brother Moe, there has been no upsurge in Chesterton studies or world-wide interest. The truth is there has probably been no greater example of a rebirth of interest in a literary figure than that of Chesterton, and remember that the Chesterton Review has drawn into its contributors a very wide range and rich spectrum from every discipline.

Moreover, it is probable that this upsurge of interest will continue. In the case of Belloc remember that after all two major biographies have been published, that by A.W. Wilson and another by Joseph Pearce. In my view such is the amplitude of their work that it will continue to amuse and inspire all sorts of readers.

Franklin, Tas

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