"Thats what dries a writer up..not listening. Thats where it all comes from. Seeing, listening. You see well enough. But you stop listening."
I'm grateful for my husband. Not every life is blessed with love that understands. My husband can defend my thoughts better than I myself can - and calls me to live them better than my own self-discipline ever will. I've been discussing Literature on many fronts recently, Literature and the value of art. In these discussions my husband has been my greatest support in clarifying and directing my thoughts, as well as curbing my tendency toward tactlessness, especially in conversation.
I owe him a lot in the development of my understanding of Literature, he's helped me immensely to move beyond a narrower definition fo Literature, and encouraged me to recognize the artistic qualities in all genres. He also helps me to be honest in my assessments and avoid rejecting true art simply because it doesn't coincide with my personal tastes. The ability to recognize and appreciate beauty should not be limited by the fact that some beauties are more attractive to me than others. I certainly haven't perfected any of this, but I'm grateful for his support and encouragement.
In my recent literary discussions, the writing of GK Chesterton has come up often. I'm not surprised, as many discussions are with fellow graduates of my own university, where Chesterton is very popular. When I first discovered him, I enjoyed Chesterton's writing immensly. I read The Man who was Thursday and adored the imagery, the symbolism, and the living writing. The male characters are interesting, the lone female, iconic, and the mythic tone of the tale allows this without flaw. As I followed his writing though, I became more and more dissatisfied. The Flying Inn was a disaster of prejudice and undeveloped characters: evil arabs, weak-women, and self-satisfied heroes who swoop in to expel the immigrants and rescue life-as-it-always-has-been from alteration. I loathed it. His non-fiction frustrates as much as the Inn, with the overall impression I came away with being that "Whats wrong with the world" is nothing more than women wanting to vote, work, and otherwise exist in reality, the discussion of ideas not his own, and art that can represent both modern and premodern mindsets. His writing seems primarily focused on ensuring that life as he knew it would never change, that there would be no development of thought. I'm not saying that his writing isn't impressive. Thursday is beautiful, artistic, and interesting. The Inn could have been, if he hadn't chosen to make it propaganda. His talent is obvious, but he seems to be working against it - as he writes against most art - in an attempt to hold his world in suspension.
My youngest brother, I'm sure, will disagree with my entire assesment. I hope he responds, and anyone else who really appreciates Chesterton. I'd like to hear his defense. I feel as though, because I know so many people who enjoy him, I must be missing something when I read him. What do you think of GK Chesterton, am I unjust?