One University Geographically Dispersed: Utah State University Regional Campus and Distance Education and New Opportunities for Students

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Distance Learning






Information Age Publishing

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Although G. K. Chesterton was one of the most prolific and versatile writers of his time, producing thousands of pages of commentary on art, literature, religion, ethics, and politics, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of the Father Brown detective stories and The Man Who Was Thursday or as the apologist for the Catholic faith who wrote such books as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. The essays and books on Victorian literature and authors that made him famous- Robert Browning and Charles Dickens for instance- go largely unread, and Chesterton's critical reputation has similarly languished, though a small coterie of devotees has attempted to salvage it by various means, primarily by defending him against charges of excessive optimism, slovenly scholarship, and theatrical stylistics,1a s well as by attempting to demonstrate that he anticipated some of the critical approaches later employed in New Criticism and other schools of twentieth-century criticism. But neither Chesterton's attackers nor his defenders have adequately considered the audiences to whom he addressed his criticism or the purposes for which he addressed them, crucial questions in determining whether Chesterton's writing deserves to be called criticism at all, or rather some form of journalism, popular biography, or pure propaganda.