Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Was Chesterton Mysteriously Quiet on the Subject of.....


I was just reading Ben Hatke's interesting article in the latest (Sept. 2006) Gilbert magazine on beverage drinking in Italy. Ben was telling us that he had recently been introduced to a new beverage: coffee. And he seemed to think that Chesterton didn't have much to say about the subject.

And yet, in my mind, I picture Chesterton lingering over meals, having long conversations, whilst sipping coffee late into the night.

Or maybe I associate Chesterton with coffee because of the mug I own, from the Chesterton Society, which helps me get up each morning with a Chesterton quote on the outside, and a cup o' the strong stuff on the inside.

But Ben's article got me thinking: Is Chesterton really silent on the subject of coffee?


  1. "Mr. Bernard Shaw's philosophy is exactly like black coffee -- it awakens, but it does not really inspire."

    [Chesterton. William Blake]

  2. Certainly not complete silence:

  3. The above quote says it all. Inspiration is due to the mystical qualities of “spirits.”

    Coffee was an Arabic or Islamic invention. It was adopted by Christians only after the Battle of Vienna, when the defenders discovered the mysterious bags of coffee abandoned by the retreating Turks. (A gift like the Trojan Horse?)

    Physiologically, coffee is a stimulating drug, and, both shorter & longer term there is a price to pay for every such stimulation, especially for severe and chronic overstimulation. Like most people, I like the taste, (yes, there are some who don’t like the taste, like a friend of mine), but I think it makes sense to limit the intake and wisely choose the moments when one needs to be stimulated.

    Decaf anyone?

    Wild Goose

  4. "American history is haunted with the shadow of the Plebiscitary President; they have a tradition of classical architecture for public buildings. Their cities are planned upon the squares of Paris and not upon the labyrinth of London. They call their cities Corinth and Syracuse, as the French called their citizens Epaminondas and Timoleon. Their soldiers wore the French kepi; and they make coffee admirably, and do not make tea at all." What I Saw in America. (There are 172 mentions of coffee in the Chesterton works, according to the ACS Quotemeister.
    ~ JOhn Peterson

  5. He was also not silent on the subject of "eeffoc" - see here for details.

    Alas - I almost did research on Watson-Crick palindromes in RNA... so sometimes I forget I'm reading English DNA daer sdrawkcab.


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