I'm still trying to understand Chesterton. He's a mystery. Since he was a genius, and I'm not, there's little mystery as to why I'm still attempting to understand him. But the fascintation is there and I understand, from other educators, that one can get a college-level education from reading G. K. Chesterton. So my quest for the complete college-level education continues...
Here's my abridged scoop on the famous G. K. Chesterton. It's by no means the whole bucket, just a scoop, but, at least, you'll be able to nod your head knowingly when someone more educated than yourself mentions him in conversation. You will feel more knowledgeable. And knowledge is a good thing.
"Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) cannot be summed up in one sentence. Nor in one paragraph. In fact, in spite of the fine biographies that have been written of him, he has never been captured between the covers of one book. But rather than waiting to separate the goats from the sheep, let’s just come right out and say it: G.K. Chesterton was the best writer of the 20th century. He said something about everything and he said it better than anybody else. But he was no mere wordsmith. He was very good at expressing himself, but more importantly, he had something very good to express. The reason he was the greatest writer of the 20th century was because he was also the greatest thinker of the 20th century. " ~ Dale Ahlquist
Chesterton has a society and website: The American Chesterton Society which supplies a "basic, basic course" entitled Chesterton 101. Why! he even has his own blog: The Blog of the American Chesterton Society. It's a daily dose of Chesterton wisdom---a back-from-the-grave virtual reality experience, if you will---that only the Internet and Chesterton can give us. Imagine that!
The parent-friendly magazine Heart and Mind has a unit study offered on Chesterton's epic poem Lepanto (scroll down to Unit Studies) written by Nancy C. Brown: author of a study guide on one of Chesterton's famous Fr. Brown Mysteries: The Blue Cross available at Hillside Education.
This study guide was actually my first full, unabridged study of a work by Chesterton. In it, Mrs. Brown supplies the beginning Chesterton-enthusiast with a synopsis, story history, author brief, suggested study schedule, and the complete story. In the study material section, the parent, student or educator finds a complete guide for the vocabulary words, language parts, and grammar study. There is a section for the "writer's craft" and a section covering "poetry of words"---Chesterton was a poet. Ms. Brown offers the reader basic reading questions, critical thinking, and optional acitivities centered around the story.
Chesterton was as bright and literate as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. They were all considered "genius" by their friends. Reading and analyzing Chesterton's work can be a mystery because a genius and his work are usually a mystery to the rest of us. Armed with The Blue Cross study guide, the common person in search of an introduction to Chesterton's work will not be lost or ill-equipped. Through The Blue Cross Mrs. Brown gives us the tools and clues to help us solve the mystery of a master.
Nancy C. Brown also gives us more insight in her informative article Introducing Chesterton to Children.
For the ever inquisitive, curious reader, there is the Gilbert Magazine which will give you that up-to-date Chesterton college education.
If you ever run into any college professor who has a love of Chesterton, you might want to throw this scoop of Chesterton knowledge into the mix: Chesterton was a convert to Catholicism. It's good to know the spirituality behind a man's philosophy.