Uncommon Sense
The Podcast of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, where we talk about everything under the sun with a Chestertonian perspective, as well as the writings and legacy of G.K. Chesterton himself. The podcast is hosted by Grettelyn Darkey and Joe Grabowski. Want to give us feedback? Email podcast@chesterton.org.

In 1914 Chesterton is stricken by a mysterious illness that puts him in a weakened state and mostly in a coma for almost five months. When he reawakens, the world is still at war, and he begins writing about the war and in support of the war effort, and in criticism of the war too. His brother Cecil goes off to war, and unfortunately dies, crushing Gilbert.


Gilbert goes on lecture tours to Ireland, Jerusalem and then America, giving a huge number of speeches. His father dies, another blow for Gilbert. He finally decides to convert, even without Frances, proving, to Father O’Connor, that he was really doing God’s will. For the first time, the BBC broadcasts a speech Gilbert makes at a restaurant. His book St. Francis of Asissi is published to great acclaim and becomes a best seller. He begins publishing his own paper, G.K.’s Weekly, and we’ll talk more about that next time as we get into the Distributist League.


There were six works—one book and five pamphlets— specifically written as propaganda for the war and they are:


The Barbarism of Berlin (free on Project Gutenberg)

Prussian v. Belgian Culture (pamphlet)

Letters to an Old Garibaldian (CW 5)

The Crimes of England (CW 5) (book)

The Martyrdom of Belgium (pamphlet) 9 pages

How to Help Annexation (CW 5)


His volumes of ILN columns during the war years are in Collected Works Volume 30 which covers 1914-1916

Volume 31 covers 1917-1919

Wade Center: https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/wadecenter/



Direct download: US123_ages_40-50_-_9_26_19_4.20_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

Chesterton ages 30-40; 1904-1914--At 30 years of age, Chesterton’s popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Suddenly, he’s in demand as a writer and a speaker. He meets Father O’Connor, the priest who’s the inspiration behind the Father Brown mysteries. Chesterton’s brother-in-law’s mental illness will affect this decade. Chesterton’s first novel, The Napolean of Notting Hill is published. His most respected work of literary criticism is published, his book on Charles Dickens, for which he is credited as creating a resurgence of interest in Dickens. His two books The Man Who Was Thursday and Orthodoxy are published, both well received. Orthodoxy will entice many an unsuspecting reader into the sunny country of Christianity.


His brother-in-law commits suicide, his wife has a nervous breakdown, and the Chestertons need a change of scenery and move 20 minutes outside of London to Beaconsfield. Chesterton and Shaw begin their great rivalry and friendship, the first Father Brown story is published. The Ballad of the White Horse is published, Lepanto is published, Chesterton’s great autobiographical novel Manalive is published. The Marconi Scandal happens, his first play Magic is performed. As the world hovers on the brink of war, Chesterton is forty years old, severely overweight, and he collapses into what will become a very long illness. And that, my friends, is a very busy ten years, and we can perhaps see why Chesterton was overworked and exhausted.


So next episode will pick up here, ages 40 to 50, the years 1914 to 1924. Until then, thanks for listening, and God bless you.


Gilbert and Frances Chesterton, pray for us!


Direct download: 122_GKC_30-40_-_9_24_19_11.38_AM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

This episode responds to certain arguments put forth by Catholic podcasters Dr. Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon (“TnT”) along with their guest, Dr. Jay Richards of Catholic University, against the Distributist thesis. The arguments presented and responded to are taken as typical, in tone and substance, of many of the critiques Distributism receives from within the Catholic intellectual world by those committed to a different (namely, pro-Capitalist) interpretation of the Tradition and the Catholic Social Magisterium.

Specifically, the episode delves into how Distributists differ in their understanding of the rights associated with private property, pointing out that Distributists do not simply treat property ownership and use as coextensive or coterminous, but rather make important distinctions especially vis a vie certain particular questions such as the right of contract; the episode also treats of the fundamentals of the question of what role the State has in principle in assuring equitable distribution and achieving distributive justice. And we also discuss why the Wizard Saruman was not a Distributist. 

Show notes and references available at Joe Grabowski's web site joegrabowski.com/distributism

Please email Joe directly with questions or comments at jlg@joegrabowski.com



Direct download: Joe_distributism_4_critiques_-_9_23_19_4.06_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55pm EDT

Summary of today’s episode: Chesterton from age 20 to 30, Chesterton had a dark night of the soul, ending in a glorious vision of God where he talked to God face to face. His vision resulted in a new gratitude towards life, a sense of wonder and joy that would essentially never leave him again. He began his writing career, met the love of his life and married her, and began writing notable columns in the papers that made him a household name. He was commissioned to write a biography of Robert Browning (poet and playright, husband of Elizabeth Barret Browning) and then wrote a book on painter and sculptor G.F. Watts. He is a rising star in the firmament of London.

If you have questions or comments, write me at uncommonsensepodcast@gmail.com  Obviously, I’m skimming over and trying to pick highlights. There’s much, much more in the biographies about each stage of Chesterton’s life. I recommend reading a biography or two, I’ve used six biographies to write this, including:

Maisie Ward’s G.K. Chesterton and Return to Chesterton

Joseph Pearce’s book: Wisdom and Innocence.

Denis Conlon’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Reappraisal

William Oddie’s book: Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy

Ian Ker’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Biography


Fr. Ker’s talk in London: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chesterton-and-humour-a-talk-by-fr-ian-ker-tickets-69985936821


Instagram @chestertonsociety

Reddit  r/GKChesterton



Direct download: 120_Chesterton_20_to_30_-_9_19_19_6.39_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

We follow Chesterton from grade school through high school, and the founding of the Junior Debating Club, which was to serve such an important role in his youth, to his college years when he became severely depressed.


Direct download: 119_Ages_10_to_20_-_9_17_19_6.31_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

This series begins by taking Chesterton's life decade by decade to discover the highlights of his life.

This episode contains highlights from the first ten years of Chesterton's life.



Biographies used:

Maisie Wards G.K. Chesterton and Return to Chesterton

Joseph Pearce’s book: Wisdom and Innocence.

Denis Conlon’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A reappraisal

William Oddie’s book: Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy

Ian Ker’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Biography

Free Course on St. Thomas Aquinas: https://aquinas101.thomisticinstitute.org

Direct download: 118_ages_0_to_10_-_9_16_19_3.56_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01pm EDT

Edward and Marie Louise Chesterton are important to understand as the parents of G.K. Chesterton. Their lives and the warm and loving household in which they brought up their children influenced GKC and so let's find out more about his parents.



Direct download: 117_Edward_Chesterton_-_9_15_19_9.50_AM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56am EDT