Friday, July 18, 2008

Chesterton the anti-semite?

Dale Ahlquist responds to an otherwise neat piece in the New Yorker, which raises tired old accusations. [Via the Curt Jester]
In the meantime, we regret the unfortunate turn in Mr. Gopnik's otherwise brilliant essay. There is something a little too desperate, too anxious in his attempt to prove that Chesterton is anti-Semitic. He is dancing as fast as he can to explain away Chesterton's Zionism and his outspoken stance against Hitler for oppressing the Jews. ("I will die defending the last Jew in Europe." What does it take to convince some people?)
But far more troubling is his argument that Chesterton, the Catholic convert, has this pervasive nastiness woven into the very fabric of his philosophy. Whether consciously or not, Mr. Gopnik has broadened his implication to include the whole Catholic Church. Perhaps some future literary critic will be discussing Mr. Gopnik's anti-Catholicism rather than Chesterton's anti-Semitism. He can only hope that he will one day be considered so noteworthy a controversialist.
Here's an abstract of the New Yorker article. I'm going to try and locate the full text.

And one could do worse than start with Mr. Ahlquist's little introduction to Chesterton, for those who have yet to discover him! This essay: Who is this guy and why haven't I heard of him is a good place to start as well.

No comments: