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ELT 42 : 4 1999 to the distress of the possessive Una. RH never lost her high opinion of herself and died in 1943 convinced that The Well of Loneliness was an unappreciated masterpiece and, quite correctly, that she had been the victim of a hypocritical British Establishment. Souhami has done well in telling the story of RH and, having obtained access to closed Home Office files, the "judicial lynching" of The Well of Loneliness. She dissents with Sally Cline on a few points, particularly (as previously mentioned) on Una Troubridge, who is portrayed as neurotic and manipulative, and is more sympathetic to Souline, RH's last great love. Like Cline, Souhami has produced an excellent study of RH which will long stand as the definitive biography of a complex personality and the significance of her great opus. J. O. Baylen, Emeritus ---------------------------------- Eastbourne, England Chesterton's Catholicism David W. Fagerberg. The Size of Chesterton's Catholicism. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998. vii + 214pp. Cloth $25.00 Paper $18.00 THIS IS A MOST unusual study of the thought and the writing of G. K. Chesterton, playwright, poet, novelist, literary commentator, editor , pamphleteer, apologist, essayist, and the author of the Father Brown detective stories. Of course, Chesterton is no ordinary literary figure. In his lifetime he confounded everyone with his opinions—those who felt he could not be taken seriously as well as those who could not understand his puns and who thus felt he had to be taken seriously. In spite of the liberal use of notes and other scholarly apparatus, David Fagerberg^ book does not read like a work of academic analysis. In some ways it is an account of Chesterton's spiritual journey from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church, but the events are not arranged in any historical , chronological sequence. Instead, the account is arranged according to themes and drawn from fourteen of Chesterton's own theological writings, among them Heretics (1905), Orthodoxy (1908), The Everlasting Man (1925), and Why I am a Catholic (1926), as well as his Autobiography . In the developing discussion Fagerberg draws on his reading of Chesterton's own works of theology and largely avoids consulting secondary sources. Instead, the illustrations taken from Chesterton have been "constellated" to create what Fagerberg calls a "mosaic" to recreate the effect of the original ideas. Fagerberg also appears to be emulating Chesterton's style of thinking and writing to some extent. The Chester468 BOOK REVIEWS tonian style is unmistakable. Chesterton's apology for the Catholic Church is so enthusiastic his crusade seems to have been something in the nature of a lark and not a series of narrow theological treatises. The reason for Fagerberg's interest in his subject becomes clear by the end of the book. How successful he is may be subject to some disagreement on the part of the individual reader. The biographical overview in the first chapter (called "The Amplitude of Mr. Chesterton") contains the basic facts of Chesterton's birth (1874), education, career, and death (1936). How early did Chesterton become a Catholic? Can we say he converted in 1908 with the publication of Orthodoxy or must we delay the time until 1922 when he was baptized by Father John O'Connor (the model for the priest detective Father Brown) and actually joined the Church? Following this introductory chapter there are seven thematic chapters: "The Fairy Godmother Philosophy," "The Ordinary Life," "Pan and Peter," "Practically Practicing Religion," "The Key in the Lock," "Room to Run Wild," and "An Out-of-Body Experience." The titles parallel Chesterton's own imaginative use of language and require no little amount of concentrated reading or thought to comprehend. By "The Fairy Godmother Philosophy," Fagerberg means the connection Chesterton makes between wonder and asceticism. For Chesterton, understanding the ascetic life or any of its aspects is impossible without taking into account the "possibility of wild, refreshing, bracing divine love." The "fairy godmother" phrase comes from Chesterton's "The Ethics of Elfland" in Orthodoxy (1908). Chesterton was no rebel and he did not feel inclined to oppose a rule only because he did not understand it. "The Ordinary Life" sketches Chesterton's defense...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 468-471
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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