Died on this day – 14 June 1936

Gilbert_ChestertonGilbert Keith Chesterton, better known as G.K. Chesterton, was born in 1874 and died on 14 June 1936. Chesterton was an English writer, lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist. Holidaying in France Chesterton visited Montmorillon and it was whilst admiring the broad range of crime fiction titles available at The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit that Chesterton died of congestive heart failure

Chesterton remains well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as a political thinker, cast aspersions on both Progressivism and Conservatism, saying, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.” Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton’s “friendly enemy” according to Time, said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius.”

Chesterton gained great popularity as a lecturer and frequently travelled about the country by train. He was also notoriously absent-minded and once, famously, sent his wife Frances a telegram bearing the message: Am in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Where should I be?

Chesterton’s body was shipped to England and he is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Beaconsfield.