Everlasting Man Paperback – 31 Dec 1999
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What--if anything--is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards "civilization" is simply and flatly inaccurate. "Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world", he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.
As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) "very plain and emphatic". He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, "in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life". Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he himself writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart's own knowledge. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England, in 1874. He went on to study art at the Slade School, and literature at University College in London. Chesterton wrote a great deal of poetry, as well as works of social and literary criticism. Among his most notable books are "The Man Who Was Thursday", a metaphysical thriller, and "The Everlasting Man", a history of humankind's spiritual progress. After Chesterton converted to Catholicism in 1922, he wrote mainly on religious topics such as "Orthodoxy" and "Heretics". Chesterton is most known for creating the famous priest-detective character Father Brown, who first appeared in "The Innocence of Father Brown". Chesterton died in 1936 at the age of 62. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then I read Chesterton's Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense . . . I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive "apart from his Christianity." Now, I veritably believe, I thought that Christianity itself was very sensible "apart from its Christianity." (Surprised by Joy p.223)
When asked what Christian writers had helped him, Lewis remarked in 1963, six months before he died, "The contemporary book that has helped me the most is Chesterton's The Everlasting Man." (God in the Dock p.260.)
The book has two parts. The first is titled "On the Creature called Man." It uses the available evidence from paleontology, an! cient history, comparative religions, etc. but brings it together in remarkable ways. The questions he asks (and to some extent, answers) are the ones we continue to brood over: How is man different from other animals? Why are there so many religions? How do we make some sense out of our long and tumultuous human history?
The questions raised in the first part receive a more definitive answer in the second: "On the Man called Christ." It is not that Jesus gives a step by step response to each of the queries. Rather he begins by throwing us into an even more perplexing quandary. Chesterton asks what it would really be like to read the Gospel free of all preconceptions. The effect would not be "gentle Jesus, meek and mild," but rather someone who jars our sensibilities.Read more ›
I have little to add to previous comments and recommendations for Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man", though I would add, as an aside, that you don't have to be a Roman Catholic, or an Orthodox Christian in order to appreciate its arguments. The common-sense writing is witty and mostly good-humoured, though some youngsters might find the style a little archaic. (C S Lewis, in "Surprised by Joy", describes GKC as a most sensible author, and I certainly agree).
But, looking for a hard-cover version, I bought a recent publication of this work from "Wilder Publications" and now wish I hadn't. I would advise others to avoid it; it has many typographical mistakes and astonishing truncations. For example, most of Chesterton's wonderful (and crucial) introduction has been left out; "h"s have been printed as "b"s where the spell-checker would not notice ("had" becomes "bad", for instance); chapter headings are missing from the tops of pages within the chapter (always annoying); lines of text are too long and awkwardly spaced; punctuation marks improperly placed; in my view, all symptoms of a rather poor standard of publishing.
It is inexcusable, in my opinion, for great works of literature to be marketed in such feeble condition. Whatever happened to proof-reading and quality control?
So I suggest you look elswhere than to "Wilder's" amateurish effort for your copy. Let's hope that the "Second Edition" (if "Wilder" should ever print one) will at least be correct and unabridged.
He is a mastermind. He builds arguments and explains his positions in intricate ways.
This book is very good, but not one that can be read casually, very thought-provoking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good Service. Nice format. The size of the fonts is also very nice, especially to these agony eyes.Published 29 days ago by jose miras
This is a book which had a big influence on C S Lewis. Apparently Lewis said it was the book that 'baptised his intellect' in the same way as he said that the writings of George... Read morePublished 2 months ago by arboroff
It's a good book but this edition has too many spelling errors in it.Published 7 months ago by David Stewart
A rather heavy, repetitive book. However, its conclusion is positive and instructive in the truth of Christianity.Published 11 months ago by Brian Parkman