G.K.Chesterton: an argument for his status as a serious creative writer in the mainstream of English Romanticism, with a discussion of his possible influence on the novelist and poet Charles Williams
Brown, G. M. (1983) G.K.Chesterton: an argument for his status as a serious creative writer in the mainstream of English Romanticism, with a discussion of his possible influence on the novelist and poet Charles Williams. MPhil thesis, Thames Polytechnic.
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There are two concurrent arguments: firstly, that the Edwardians found in Chesterton the same kind of liberating imaginative experience that earlier readers found in the first Romantics (1790-1830); secondly, that, contrary to recent opinion, he was an artist of some depth.
The first chapter describes this case against Chesterton and the real problems to which a critic must address himself. Chapter 2 identifies his position among the different post-Romantic movements in Victorian society. Chapter 3 shows his special debt to William Morris's ideas; but also illustrates that the best of Chesterton's historical writing is fresh and not derivative.
The next four chapters deal with Chesterton's original achievement; in which, paradoxically, he is also most recognisably Romantic in his imagination and in his sensibility. Chapter 4 describes how his strange imagination developed from childhood to adulthood and ultimately shaped his whole career. The darker side of this imagination, his awareness of supernatural evil, is the subject of Chapter 5. Chapter 6 shows the newspaper journalist bringing all kinds of strong and tender feelings to bear on public life, and compares him to Haslitt and his contemporaries. Chapter 7 shows how this imagination and sensibility combined to produce perceptive literary criticism.
Chapter 8 argues that the novels of Charles Williams show widespread signs of Chesterton's influence, and that this illustrates his power to permeate a younger mind. Finally Chapter 9 sums up: Chesterton is like pre-Victorian Romantic writers in his passion, his idealism, and in the imagination which perceives a miraculous universe behind the physical world. He expresses this view with the sensitivity and subtlety of the artist. Finally a rationale of Chesterton's apparent frivolity, based on his own metaphysics, is proposed as necessary to a just evaluation of his work.
|Item Type:||Thesis (MPhil)|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||G. K. Chesterton, William Morris, metaphysics, romanticism, victorian writers, Edwardians, Victorians|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain|
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
|School / Department / Research Groups:||School of Humanities & Social Sciences|
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of English & Performance Studies
|Last Modified:||26 Sep 2012 14:32|
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