author of The Man Who Was Thursday
G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874 –1936) was born in London. After what he himself described as a very happy childhood in a freethinking Protestant family, he attended the Slade School of Art in London, where he underwent a somewhat mysterious but apparently painful crisis of belief and conscience that ultimately led him to a discovery of Christianity. Chesterton was thereafter a practicing Anglican until his reception into the Catholic Church in 1922, followed a few years later by the conversion of his beloved wife, Frances,
Chesterton’s almost unbelievably prolific literary career began with work as a book editor and journalist, and his enormous oeuvre includes scores of books and (literally) thousands of critical essays and opinion pieces on biographical, literary, political, economic, artistic, historical and religious subjects, as well as highly regarded and influential works of poetry and fiction.
With regard to fiction, Chesterton’s light-hearted yet profound sense of paradox, coupled with a revolutionary narrative inventiveness, has had a lasting influence on several genres and any number of writers, from C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien to Franz Kafka, Graham Greene and the proponents of the so-called “Magical Realism” school. The mystery genre, for example, was forever stamped with a Chestertonian imprint with the creation of the much-imitated but inimitable Father Brown, the first in a long literary line of priest-detectives whose skills as an amateur sleuth owe even more to his ability to read souls than to read clues.