Monday, June 02, 2008

C.S. Lewis vs. Chesterton

My kids were apparently having a discussion this weekend with some other homeschooled kids about who is more of a demi-god, Lewis or Chesterton. I have to admit, I prefer to read Lewis, but I'm not convinced he is the greater mind of the two. As I've said before, my problem with Chesterton is often style, and not content. Anyone have an opinion?


Love2Learn Mom said...

I don't know if this helps answer the question, but I suppose it's at least relevant - and interesting quote on Chesterton by C.S. Lewis...

It was here that I first read a volume of Chesterton's essays. I had never heard of him and had no idea of what he stood for; nor can I quite understand why he made such an immediate conquest of me. It might have been expected that my pessimism, my atheism, and my hatred of sentiment would have made him to me the least congenial of all authors. It would almost seem that Providence, or some "second cause" of a very obscure kind, quite over-rules our previous tastes when It decides to bring two minds together. Liking an author may be as involuntary and improbable as falling in love. I was by now a sufficiently experienced reader to distinguish liking from agreement. I did not need to accept what Chesterton said in order to enjoy it. His humour was of the kind I like best - not "jokes" imbedded in the page like currants in a cake, still less (what I cannot endure), a general tone of flippancy and jocularity, but the humour which is not in any way separable from the argument but is rather (as Aristotle would say) the "bloom" on dialectic itself. The sword glitters not because the swordsman set out to make it glitter but because he is fighting for his life and therefore moving it very quickly. For the critics who think Chesterton frivolous or "paradoxical" I have to work hard to feel even pity; sympathy is out of the question. Moreover, strange as it may seem, I liked him for his goodness.

---from Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis

(as recently posted on Chesterteens)

W. said...

Greater mind is also hard to judge considering what Anscombe did to Lewis and his argument in Miracles, after which he not only rewrote a key part of it but also said he would no longer engage in philosophical treatises/arguments.

Chesterton did not ever get refuted like that. And from what I know, he did not have any type of experience like that.

Because he was not wrong or because he did not enter into areas he could not sufficiently defend and had not thought through the possible challenges? I do not know, but either way each are signs of a mind that knows what it can do and/or what it can't ... and thus possibly a sign of a great mind.

Daniel Montgomery said...

They both are have been absolutely critical to my thought-life. But, Lewis led me to Chesterton. I don't know if it could work the other way around.