They sound like interesting books. The line above resonates with me as I look through personal effects and think about “simplifying” and as parents pass and you wonder what to keep and what to sell or donate. And of course, it is true in relationships. Who to trim from your facebook friend list. What relationships become more pain than gain. What bothersome things we accept in people and know people accept in us.
I just got this book today and I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. He’s a great horror comedy writer and he digs really deep into things like literary and film critique and brings up a lot of issues within horror tropes and how they reflect a nations fear.
Sort of how you see fear and shame, in horror films like the German made 1920s “Nosferatu” that was released shortly before Hitler’s rise to power and WW2. Part of the fears tied into that goes all the way back to the Black Death. During the European Black Death you can read of lots of Jewish massacres. Jewish men and women were often wrongly blamed for the bubonic plague. But they also speculated fairly quickly because of all the rat corpses that corpses that perhaps they were how it was spread as well. So when Nosferatu was made they based there vampire off of a rat like appearance. Big nose, big ears, and sharp big front teeth. Throughout the film when Count Orlok showed up so did a lot of rats. They believe that this design accidentally helped generate the offensive Jewish stereotype cartoons that filled propaganda released by Hitler’s Nazi germany.
But the author, Hendrix, is good at highlighting these cultural fears and tropes and I’m curious exactly what’s all focused on this book.
GK Chesterton fans, where would one start with his books? I have limited background knowledge of him but have read how he was influenced by universalism and orthodoxy. Is there anything important to know about the context of his books? Would the order they are read matter? I’ll honestly probably dip my toes in the water by watching a few episodes of Father Brown since we’ll be busy moving and resettling for the next few months
I have “the Chesterton Collection” on my Amazon Kindle account - I can’t remember what I paid for it, but the fact that I have it means it probably didn’t cost any more than a few bucks (or maybe was even free).
I can only speak to what I’ve read: “Orthodoxy” if you really want to dive into his serious stuff. Also “Heretics”. But watching the recent Father Brown series is really fun too. I haven’t read any of his other books and so can’t speak to where would be the best place to start. His novels will no doubt be rich with serious content. But I do remember enjoying “Orthodoxy” and “Heretics” as good serious reads and feeling like I had good handle on Chesterton after those two titles.
I’m intrigued. Is this a series on PBS? There are so many stations these days the odds it’ll be on one we get are very small.
Is the father Brown character inspired from the work of Chesterton? Does it come from fiction he wrote?
Thanks @Mervin_Bitikofer! That’s helpful. @MarkD Father Brown is a series by Chesterton, although I’m not sure if they’re a collection of short stories or novels, but I’ve heard they’re quite thought provoking!
Yes, I highly recommend it… I have it on Kindle. They are a collection of short mystery stories where Father Brown is a humble, accidental detective. There are at least 2 TV series adaptations, many of them good stories but quite changed in the last one. They still show some good morals. Everyone has their faults, and Chesterton kept some views from his age which I hesitate to read to my kids yet, as they are anti Semitic and some racist in appearance. (filtered out in the movies). He also seems to dislike Protestants, Scots, and Americans, so at least he isn’t narrow. However, he also calls racism a work of the Devil, and praises some American things…so you would have to read it for yourself to see what I mean.
Yes, it is on PBS
If I recall correctly, he dabbled in the occult before he became a Catholic. He was an artist. I posted a thread which some folks wrote about him on here Musing On G K Chesterton
I have to read more. I would be interested in what you think.
I do recall that thread and found many of the excerpts interesting. It is interesting to find writers from different times and locations whose command of the language allow you to peer back into another mindset. It isn’t uncommon to find bits of racism mixed in with evidence of good situational insight. At one point I must have read all of Gerald Durrell’s books at one point and he definitely has some racist moments but he so funny one can fail to notice. PBS also carried a series based on his humorous biographical books about his family life on Corfu. But some of the books based on his animal collection are not only unapologetic about stealing animals from their habitats for our amusement but very often turn the native people he encounters into clowns.
That’s a good one , and a very good example of that sort of thing. I remember reading that book I think, many years ago, and my wife watched some of the series
Between the marriage of my childhood and my current one I had a good female friend who would read passages from the Corfu books to me which made me laugh to the point of not being able to breath. Honestly the books are so much better than the series adapted for television. While some of the situations are inherently funny his turn of phrase amplifies the humor exponentially.
Another writer I got hooked on even earlier, probably high school, was William F. Buckley Jr. who I first encountered on television through the Firing Line program. While he is the very embodiment of snooty it was his precise use of English that attracted me. It probably helped me later in studying philosophy. Leastwise it helped me get through Kant though Heidegger was always elusive. From the excerpts shared on that thread it seemed to me that he belonged in that elite group along with Twain for whom their way with language was as enlightening as the points they shared.
I love the Durrells series! I’m very interested in reading Gerald Durrells’ work now.
I hope you’re not disappointed. I was in my early/mid twenties at the time so my sense of humor was pretty much as unsophisticated as the rest of me. With any luck you’ll find them at the library. My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods are available in a single trilogy volume now.
Too slow for those who Wait,
Too swift for those who Fear,
Too long for those who Grieve,
Too short for those who Rejoice,
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
– Henry van Dyke
Alternate last line:
Time is eternity.
Edward Thring, Headmaster of Uppingham School
George Robert Parkin
God’s great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour [and comfort], has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see his “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you. M&E
See also Psalm 73