Monday, February 02, 2009

Dale Fights Back Against Literary, er, I mean, Personal Criticisms of Chesterton

Dale will be reviewing William Oddie’s new biography of Chesterton in the March issue of Gilbert.
Dale adds:
A. N. Wilson has reviewed the book for the Times Literary Supplement. Apparently William Oddie has written reviews of Wilson’s books in the past and panned them thoroughly. So Wilson returned the favor. However, he did no favors to the reading public. His review indicates that all of Oddie’s points could be lost on the very audience that might most benefit from this book. After Oddie has methodically and thoroughly smashed much of the conventional (and wrong) wisdom about Chesterton, the reviewer simply repeats the conventional wisdom, as if it were some sort of rebuttal. Certainly the most egregious suggestion of Wilson’s is that Chesterton was a repressed homosexual. His information is third-hand. Otherwise There isn't a shred of evidence. But if he had bothered to give Oddie’s book a fair reading, he would not have even raised such a ridiculous charge. It is abundantly clear that this was not one of Chesterton’s temptations. It looks like this is the next battle brewing, now that we have dealt with the anti-Semitism charge. The most aggravating thing about having to swat all these gnats, is the distraction they cause. But the battle goes on.”


  1. What a freaking tool. The "A" in A.N. Wilson stands for asshole. Sorry of that scandalizes some of you, but there it is.

  2. Wow. So Chesterton was no mere homosexual... he was rumored to be a REPRESSED homosexual. And this, because he had the tendency (rather typically, among young men) to hang closely with his friends!

    So... A.N. Wilson thinks himself to be a very clever fellow. Meanwhile, all those foolish Catholics presume to like Chesterton, merely because he was also a Catholic.

    I suppose that my faith in Christ's Church and my enjoyment of Chesterton come at a great price. I shall never know the joy of being like A.N. Wilson.

  3. How could anyone could read Chesterton's musings on redheaded women and decide that he was homosexual? Most guys don't spend huge amounts of mental energy thinking about types of women to whom they aren't attracted, especially if they aren't attracted to women at all.

  4. The quip about sunsets that Wilson finds 'priggish' is not directed against Oscar Wilde's 'sexual license' but rather his flippant cynicism. And while the 'perverted practices' of which Chesterton heard from Fr. O'Connor might have been secxual in nature, that's not as obvious to me as it is to Wilson.

    I do. however, share Wilson's skepticism regarding Oddie's claim that Sunday is identifiably God incarnate. But I'll certainly pick up Oddie's book and give his argument a fair hearing.

    I recently bought a paperback copy of 'Kidnapped' to read on the airplane -- and found the confident assertion in the book's preface that David Balfour and Alan Breck are homosexuals. Fancy my missing that on my half-dozen readings of the novel!

  5. +JMJ+

    Good grief! It's nothing short of character assassination.

    It's also so absurd that I don't think anyone saw it coming. =S

  6. Might some of you Chestertonians direct me towards some of the literature on Chesterton's alleged fascism and antisemitism?

  7. Timothy David, Gilbert magazine just devoted an entire issue to the charge of antisemitism. go to and request that issue and you will have plenty of reading material.

    Someone else will have to help you with the fascism issue.

  8. I'm curious what made GK react that strongly and why GK himself did not explain what made him react that strongly.

    Likewise, I'm curious about the unnamed "sin" CSLewis mentioned, and that he never explained.

    Whatever Wilson may make of such "secrets" that GK and Lewis never revealed, I remain curious as to what they were.

    St. Paul never mentioned what his "thorn in the flesh" was either.

    Religion seems to be filled with "secret sins" and "holy mysteries."

    (Bollocks I say.)

  9. Edward: I believe you are thinking wrongly about this. Hiding sins isn't a "religion" thing, it is a human thing.

    For example, I invite you now to tell us all your sins. What have you to hide from us? Come on, tell us. We really want to know. And not just your sins, but your most secret sins. We want to hear them, too. Please do tell us everything. A nice long list of sins.

  10. Timothy David2/08/2009 5:44 AM

    Thank you, Nancy.

  11. Stupidity marches on! My goodness, how rich! I can only say that the slander is a result of fear and is probably a good sign. We must be having an effect. Chesterton is attacked for the same reason he is not taught in public school; he is dangerously on point. Nothing is more maligned than the Truth that requires contrition & obedience. Christ said this sort of thing would happen; I am not surprised.
    Taste the heel, thou Serpent, that's all you get! (Satan's time to enjoy himself is short).


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