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The literary giant G. K. Chesterton is often praised as the"Great Optimist"—God's rotund jester. In this fresh and daring endeavor, Ralph Wood turns a critical eye on Chesterton's corpus to reveal the beef-and-ale believer's darker vision of the world and those who live in it. During an age when the words grace, love, and gospel, sound more hackneyed than genuine, Wood argues for a recovery of Chesterton's primary contentions: First, that the incarnation of Jesus was necessary reveals a world full not of a righteous creation but of tragedy, terror, and nightmare, and second, that the problem of evil is only compounded by a Christianity that seeks progress, political control, and cultural triumph.

Wood’s sharp literary critique moves beyond formulaic or overly pious readings to show that, rather than fleeing from the ghoulish horrors of his time, Chesterton located God's mysterious goodness within the existence of evil. Chesterton seeks to reclaim the keen theological voice of this literary authority who wrestled often with the counterclaims of paganism. In doing so, it argues that Christians may have more to learn from the unbelieving world than is often supposed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Title page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Series Introduction
  2. pp. vii-ix
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xii-xv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1--Man as Holy Monster: Christian Humanism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy
  2. pp. 7-38
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  1. 2--Patriotism and the True Patria: Distributism, Hymns, and Christendom in Dublin
  2. pp. 39-68
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  1. 3--Militarism and the Church Militant: Lepanto, Defense of World War I, and “The Truce of Christmas”
  2. pp. 69-96
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  1. 4--The Waning of the West and the Threat of Islam: The New Jerusalem and The Flying Inn
  2. pp. 97-124
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  1. 5--Tyrannical Tolerance and Ferocious Hospitality: The Ball and the Cross
  2. pp. 125-154
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  1. 6--The Bane and Blessing of Civilization: Torture, Democracy, and The Ballad of the White Horse
  2. pp. 155-186
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  1. 7--The Nightmare Mystery of Divine Action: The Man Who Was Thursday
  2. pp. 187-222
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  1. Appendix to Chapter 1: Chesterton as the Daylight Scourge to the Ghoulish Dream of Eugenics
  2. pp. 223-226
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  1. Appendix to Chapter 4: Chesterton, Dawson, and Bernanos on the Setting Sun of the West
  2. pp. 227-236
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  1. Appendix to Chapter 6: Tolkien and Chesterton on Northernness and Nihilism
  2. pp. 237-240
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 241-332
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  1. Index to the Works of Chesterton
  2. pp. 333-334
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  1. Index of Names
  2. pp. 335-338
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  1. Subject Index
  2. pp. 339-342
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781602584426
Print ISBN
9781602581616
MARC Record
OCLC
769189745
Pages
358
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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