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.
The American critic Malcolm Cowley, attempting to define the so-called “Lost Generation,” once drew up a list of “literary childhood diseases” which he published in Canby’s Literary Review of October 25, 1921. These afflictions begin with “a bad case of Chesterton,” contracted at about age sixteen; Oscar Wilde is a complication; and before the patient recovers he is “overwhelmed” by Bernard Shaw. Health is not restored until the patient has “dipped into Freud and Marx.” [Hans Bal, Malcolm Cowley, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993, pp. 182-83]
[TDE Editorial comment: Yikes, I don’t know anything about Cowley, nor do I want to.]