Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul"

More Chesterton: in "Rethinking Chesterton" Jay Parini argues that GKC should be enjoyed by those outside his fan club of "Anglophiles, conservatives, and orthodox Roman Catholics." Parini's article for The Chronicle of Higher Education makes a good case and closes noting one of Chesterton's most attractive qualities:
...[F]or Chesterton, wonder was accompanied by joy: "The mass of men," he wrote at the conclusion of Orthodoxy, "have been forced to be gay about the little things, but sad about the big ones. Nevertheless (I offer my last dogma defiantly) it is not native to man to be so. Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul." ....

His good cheer was not baseless optimism: It arose from a deep conviction that the human imagination is glorious, has its origins in divine realities, and refuses to lie down. He believed, in a strange way, in belief itself as the ground of experience. As he once said, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." [more]
Rethinking Chesterton - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education