Edited by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
This next volume in Chesterton's series of collected works contains four of his books and four shorter "English" essays. Three of the books are accounts of his travels, two to Ireland and one to Palestine via Egypt. The fourth book is Chesteron's own effort to explain English history to Englishmen as well as to other interested parties, particularly the Irish. All of these books date from about 1920, except Christendom in Ireland, which concerns the 1932 Dublin Eucharistic Congress, which Chesterton attended.
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This wasn't the volume of Chesterton's works that I'd actually ordered via InterLibrary Loan ¿ they sent me the wrong one ¿ but I read it anyway. And I'm glad that I did. Chesterton was a too-little-known British Christian thinker, much along the lines of C. S. Lewis, and with plenty of the same wit, though whereas Lewis became an Anglican, Chesterton became a Roman Catholic. This volume contains some of Chesterton's writings on England and on other countries. Thus, it contains his A Short History of England, notable for its complete lack of reference to dates, as well as his New Jerusalem about his trip to the Holy Land (prior to the establishment of the modern state of Israel) and his Christendom in Dublin about attending a massive Catholic meeting in Dublin as a journalist. (There are other works included as well.) One wouldn't expect these sorts of works to be full of wit and insight, but they are. That's simply how Chesterton works. For instance, these works contain his wonderful remark, ¿I do not admit that theological points are small points. Theology is only thought applied to religion; and those who prefer a thoughtless religion need not be so very disdainful of others with a more rationalistic taste¿ (276), as well as his famous and oft-quoted quip, ¿I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder¿ (463). I was delightfully surprised by how interesting even this volume was, which makes me all the more excited to read others.