This study examines a selection of Chesterton’s novels, poetry, and literary criticism and outlines the distinctive philosophy of history that emerges from these writings. Looking at Chesteron's relationship with and influence upon authors including William Cobbett, Sir Walter Scott, Belloc, Shaw, H.G. Wells, Christopher Dawson, Evelyn Waugh, and Marshall McLuhan, McCleary contends that Chesterton’s recurring use of the themes of locality, patriotism, and nationalism embodies a distinctive understanding of what gives history its coherence. The study concludes that Chesterton’s emphasis on locality is the hallmark of his historical philosophy in that it blends the concepts of free will, specificity, and creatureliness which he uses to make sense of history.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 The Critics and Chesterton's Philosophy of History 2 Influences and Contemporaries 3 The Critical Lens 4 The Creative Lens 5 The Critical and Creative Legacy: Dawson, Waugh, and McLuhan 5 A Note on Modern Historiography Conclusion: Locality, Patriotism, and Nationalism, and One Lens More
Joseph McCleary is Superintendent of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School District near Boston.