Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
On November 30, 1911, Chesterton debated Bernard Shaw at London’s Memorial Hall, The Shaw v Chesterton series of debates is described from the Shavian point of view in Michael Holrod’s 1989 biography of Shaw. Holroyd agrees with other writers on the chronology that begins the series in 1911 with Shaw’s May 29 lecture, “The Religion of the Future,” delivered to the Cambridge Heretics Society. Chesterton was invited to reply, and spoke on “Orthodoxy” on November 17 with Shaw defending the resolution, “That a Democrat Who Is Not Also a Socialist Is No Gentleman.” Chesterton countered Shaw by stating that Socialism and Democracy are distinct ideas, that Shaw is no Democrat, and that it is impossible to state what Shaw means by “a Socialist.” Incidentally, Hilaire Belloc served as Chairman of the debate. The two then faced off against each other on November 30 at London’s Memorial Hall. Their last debate, entitled “Do We Agree?” was held at Kingsley Hall in October of 1927 and was broadcast by the BBC. Holroyd’s interesting point is that the key to the success of these contests was Chesterton’s amiable acceptance of Shaw as a good man with flawed ideas, an attitude that reassured audiences and made Shaw’s impieties seem less threatening. [Allan Chappelow, Shaw—”The Chucker-Out,” New York: AMS, 1969, pp. 244-45; Holroyd, Bernard Shaw, New York, 1989, II, pp. 216-210]Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList