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Inscribed Poem and Chapter One

A study of a book by GK Chesterton.

Jumping Ahead

Postby Kanakaberaka » 08 Jan 2006, 19:25

Boyd Britton wrote:
(PS -- Syme: A cockney pun on Same?)


In one of the later chapters Gabriel Syme makes just that pun by answering "The syme". It's one of my favorite parts of this story.
so it goes...
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The Ecumenical Chesterton

Postby Kanakaberaka » 11 Jan 2006, 09:58

One interesting comment made by Gabriel Syme was in reply to Gregory's question if it were true that Syme had a religion. Syme smiled and replied "we are all Catholics now".
This has me wondering what Chesterton meant. This novel was published in 1908 and Chesterton did not convert to Roman Catholisism untill 1922. Was Syme refering to being "catholic" in the "universal" sense? Or was it Roman Catholisism he was refering to since he did use a capital "C"?
Even more interesting that Gregory insists that Syme swear to whatever gods he belives in before showing him a secret.
so it goes...
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Re: The Ecumenical Chesterton

Postby lee_merrill » 15 Jan 2006, 03:28

Hi everyone,

One of my favorite stories, this...

Kanakaberaka wrote:One interesting comment made by Gabriel Syme was in reply to Gregory's question if it were true that Syme had a religion. Syme smiled and replied "we are all Catholics now".

Maybe this is just more fine blustery weather? Atmospheric, you know, like what was mentioned about a delightful start, being in and out and up and down and topsy-turvy like the whole rest of the book.

And it seems a connection with Orthodoxy has not yet been proposed, it does seem to me that TMWWT is Chesterton's illustration of this other book, as "That Hideous Strength" is Lewis' illustration of "The Abolition of Man."

"He listened to all my words without speaking or even stirring. I poured out my most passionate appeals, and asked my most eloquent questions. Then, after a long silence, the Thing began to shake, and I thought it was shaken by some secret malady. It shook like a loathsome and living jelly. It reminded me of everything I had ever read about the base bodies that are the origin of life—the deep sea lumps and protoplasm. It seemed like the final form of matter, the most shapeless and the most shameful. I could only tell myself, from its shudderings, that it was something at least that such a monster could be miserable. And then it broke upon me that the bestial mountain was shaking with a lonely laughter, and the laughter was at me. Do you ask me to forgive him that? It is no small thing to be laughed at by something at once lower and stronger than oneself.” (TMWWT)

"Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth." (Orthodoxy)

That's one example!

Blessings,
Lee

P.S. These quotes are both taken from the Chesterton available at ccel.org, a great resource, by the way...
"As Macdonald said, 'No one loves because he sees reason, but because he loves.'" (C.S. Lewis)
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Re: The Ecumenical Chesterton

Postby lee_merrill » 18 Jan 2006, 02:49

Well, not that I like posting back-to-back, but I thought of another parallel with "Orthodoxy"...

Spoilers ahead, so skip this post, if you haven't yet read all the book...

The anarchists are all just the portrait Chesterton makes of the madman in "Orthodoxy," their view is contracted, though consistent. It is a complete view, but the world "has shrunk."

The whole book is about there being more than there appears to be, to the real anarchist (Syme understands at the end one critical point Lucius had missed, which alters the whole picture), and also the appointed, policemen dressed-up-as-anarchists had the same problem, their view was a consistently complete explanation, only there was much more!

That may be why the last scene has a costume ball.

And also, the madmen are drawn convincingly. You could see how there might be a person such as The Bull, and the Secretary, though incredible in one sense, does not leave us incredulous. Chesterton does understand madness, it seems, and also sanity.

That brings to mind a comment I read once, for someone asking about how to seek more sanity, the reply was "Read Chesterton." Though he is not for everyone, I would also say that...

Blessings,
Lee
"As Macdonald said, 'No one loves because he sees reason, but because he loves.'" (C.S. Lewis)
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re: Inscribed Poem and Chapter One

Postby magpie » 03 Feb 2006, 22:10

I am late in posting (family issues) but here goes. When I first read this chapter, it occurred to me that Syme and Gregory were two sides to one personality, the self and its shadow as it were. Syme and Gregory seem almost like a photo and its negative which nonetheless contain the same picture. This might account for their initial attraction and subsequent conflict. Also like the yang and yin, each shows a hint of the other in faint and subtile ways.
"Love is the will to extend one's self in order to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth."
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