Described by his critics as "naive," by his wife as the "jolly journalist" and by Dorothy Sayers as a "beneficent bomb," Chesterton is one of the most enigmatic figures of the early twentieth century. Drawing on much previously unpublished material, Pearce's biography reassesses the celebratory life which took Fleet Street by storm and made him a household name.
As well as writing a huge number of essays, biographies, poems, novels and plays, Chesterton debated with all the great names of the day, disdaining conventionality and championing the Liberal cause. He strove for integrity, his religious faith and modern intellect profoundly influencing C. S. Lewis, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene. He, in turn, was sustained by his great friendships with Belloc, Shaw and H. G. Wells. A large man in every sense, his greatest discovery was perhaps that "the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."
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