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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 2. 1964.

Chestertonian Wildeniana

Chestertonian Wildeniana

Those who enjoy the Readers Digest's "quotable quotes" and "deft definitions" will find this book an epigrammitic joy. Chesterton, whose work often shows wit similar in spirit to Wilde's, was familiar with the value of the pointed and temporarily unanswerable epigram. This was just one of the devices which as a fully armed apologist, Chesterton commanded.

In fact, It is in the verbal technique of the writer rather than in his ideas and arguments that the chief interest of these extracts lies. One realises immediately that Chesterton is a virtuoso in the use of English. Of particular interest is his use of paradox. He says: "Of one thing I am certain, that the age needs first and foremost to be startled: to be taught the nature of wonder." Chesterton attempted to do this by original and compelling use of paradox.

However, from our vantage point in the 1960's, Chesterton's labours in defence of Christian orthodoxy seem ineffectual and reactionary.

A. L. Maycock's introductory essay gives a concise and fair review of Chesterton's achievement. He examines his work under two aspects: as a journalist and as a Christian apologist. The extracts have not previously been published in book form.