A man with extraordinary heart and intellect, born on this day in London, England, writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) drew caricatures of his teachers in school and drifted from art to literature as a young student.
"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere," he once said.
During his prolific career, Chesterton wrote over 100 books and articles that included poetry, essays, novels, and biographies.
His successful detective-priest Father Brown mysteries were made into films in 1934 and 1954. The popular rotund writer and radio broadcaster was known for his jovial personality and optimism.
"The really great person is the person who makes every person feel great," he said. Calling paradox "truth standing on its head to gain attention," his poetic essays examined and celebrated the beauty of life.
"I believe is getting into hot water," said the master of irony. "I think it keeps you clean."
Friend to George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, Chesterton was also a highly-acclaimed biographer, his writings included studies of Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and others.
His life evolved from a well of deep spirituality. His book St. Francis of Assisi demonstated Chesterton's ongoing faith in God and mankind.
"Every man in the street is a great might-not-have-been,” wrote Chesterton in Orthodoxy (1908), a classic that inspired others to celebrate Christianity and led the way for his conversion to Catholicism.
"I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and that the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself," he observed.
More CHESTERTON Quotations