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.
In his diary of 1922 through 1927, C. S. Lewis mentions reading four Chesterton books: Eugenics and Other Evils, St. Francis of Assisi, Magic, and The Lunatic at Large (by which he presumably meant The Poet and the Lunatics). [All My Road Before Me, New York: 1991] Aidan Mackay writes from England that “This was clearly one of those odd tricks of memory, for there was a very popular book named A Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston. It was published in 1899, reprinted many times, and was the first of a series, being followed by The Lunatic at Large Again (1922), The Lunatic Still at Large (1923), and The Lunatic in Charge (1926).”
Happy birthday, GKC: May 29, 1874.… Read the rest