Christianity, Patriotism, And Nationhood

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This book links the concepts of patriotism, Christianity, and nationhood in the journalistic writings of G.K. Chesterton and emphasizes their roots within the English attachments that were central to his political and spiritual persona. It further connects Chesterton to the vibrant debate about English national identity in the early years of the twentieth century, which was instrumental in shaping not only his political convictions, but also his religious convictions. Christianity, Patriotism and Nationhood explores his changing conception of the English people from an early, menacing account of their revolutionary potential in the face of plutocracy to the more complex portraits he drew of their character on recognizing their political passivity after the First World War. As Chesterton was above all a journalist, the study considers some of the varied outlets in which he expressed his ideas as a distinctly Edwardian man of letters of a strongly patriotic persuasion. His connection with The Illustrated London News over more than three decades proved pivotal in strengthening his patriotism and discourse of nationhood vilified elsewhere, not least in advanced Liberal organs such asThe Nation. Julia Stapleton shows that he was increasingly distanced by fellow Liberals before 1918, on account of the priority he gave nationhood over the state, and patriotism over citizenship. But she argues that his English loyalties were the last echo of an aspect of Victorian Liberalism that had been progressively eroded by loss of confidence among elites in the democratic aptitude of the English people. Christianity, Patriotism and Nationhood emphasizes that Chesterton upheld a cultural rather than racial conception of national homogeneity, in keeping with the Victorian sources of his thought and the popular patriotism of Edwardian England. It argues that his anti-semitism was ancillary, rather than integral to his understanding of England, and that it was matched by a similar conception of the ant

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Editorial Reviews

This is an intriguing and interesting study of one of the more intriguing men of letters of the early twentieth century.
Stephen R.L.Clark
This is a splendid, detailed, well-balanced and intelligent account of G.K.Chesterton's defense of ancient English ideals and loyalties, against imperialism, futurism and social Darwinism, and of the English people against plutocracy. Dr. Stapleton has done much to help restore Chesterton to his proper place as a well-informed and witty political philosopher.
Adam Schwartz
Julia Stapleton's well-researched, insightful study is a significant contribution to Chesterton criticism and to British intellectual history. Her substantive and stimulating analysis sparks fresh understandings of the relationship between Chesterton's faith and his politics, and of constructions of British national identity in the early twentienth century. This pioneering integration of hitherto parallel discourses is a great service to scholars of modern British thought and culture; it deserves a wide and appreciative audience.
ELT Journal
This is an intriguing and interesting study of one of the more intriguing men of letters of the early twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739126134
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Stapleton is a reader in the Department of Politics, University of Durham.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Creeds and Identities Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Liberal Journalism and the Patriotic Cosmos Chapter 4 Chapter 3: The Insularity of English Art, Ethics, Politics, and Thought: Chesterton's Critique of theFin de Si├Ęcle Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Liberalism, Democracy, and the English Nation Chapter 6 Chapter 5: The Dissident Liberal Chapter 7 Chapter 6: Authenticity, the English, and the Jews Chapter 8 Chapter 7: Prussianism, Teutonism, and the Literary War Chapter 9 Chapter 8: History versus Historians in the First World War Chapter 10 Chapter 9: Nationalism, Internationalism, and the English Past after 1918 Chapter 11 Conclusion

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