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 recently 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.
Two Shorts Today:
1. Chesterton had a profound influence on the prose style in which Thomas Merton wrote his 1948 best-seller, The Seven Story Mountain. According to Merton’s biographer Michael Mott, Chesterton epitomized the kind of consciously literary, urbane, and “chatty” writing style that he, Merton, labored to avoid at all costs. [Seven Mountains, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984, 229, p. 249]
2. In 1985 the heavy-metal rock band Iron Maiden released an album with the cheerful title, Live after Death. One of the songs included therein bears the title “Revelations”; and barely decipherable there, amid the successive detonations of electric guitar, someone is singing the words of Chesterton’s famous 1905 Christian hymn, “Oh God of Earth and Altar.”