Everlasting Man

February 22, 2005 | 16 comments
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Chesterton’s Everlasting Man famously played a role in C.S. Lewis’ conversion.

Both Lewis and Chesterton fascinate me, so it’s a wonder I haven’t read the book yet. In answer to the question, will wonders never cease? I can now say, yes, this wonder will.

A friend from Notre Dame Law School (a Wheaton-educated evangelical, as it happens) has just finished reading Everlasting Man. He sent me this fascinating description that pulled me out of the chair and into my Catholic co-clerk’s office to borrow the book:

Everlasting Man is an amazingly easy read, which makes it very hard work to get through. Chesterton’s prose is so clear and accessible, and his argumentative style so easygoing and persuasive, that I find myself flying through pages of syllogism only to arrive at conclusions which, while well-stated, are of suspect content. So I have to stop, regress, and rewalk the ground over which Chesterton had so trippingly carried me, resisting at every moment the sweeping impulse of his literary talent, until I find the unstated presumptions hidden like raisins in the dough of his text.

It’s a lot of fun, now that I think about it.

It sounds like fun. I am interested in Chesterton’s views on how Christ fulfills and completes history. I’m also interested in his musings on the Incarnation. I’m just as much looking forward to the “sweeping impulse of his literary talent.” I have come to the conclusion lately that rhetoric contains as much truth as logic does, that Nibley was wrong. Of which more anon.

Anyway, expect some Everlasting Man inspired posts soon.

16 Responses to Everlasting Man

  1. Ryan Bell on February 22, 2005 at 7:43 pm

    Adam, I loved Chesterton’s Napoleon of Notting Hill and the Man Who Was Thursday. In fact, I recomment the latter for anyone interested in a book that can be consumed very easily in just a few sittings. The message is just so astounding, and the writing always excellent.

  2. annegb on February 22, 2005 at 10:27 pm

    Adam, I love CS Lewis, too, but I didn’t know that about him. I got a beautiful hard bound copy of some of his works for Christmas and have yet to read the ones I didn’t read yet.

    Thanks for the reference.

  3. Rosalynde Welch on February 22, 2005 at 11:00 pm

    Adam, you’ve always struck me as a John Henry Newman man, even more than a Lewis man. Thoughts on Newman?

  4. A. Greenwood on February 23, 2005 at 1:05 pm

    Like Cortez (or Balboa, or whoever), I have more or less just found the Newman Ocean. No swimming around yet. I’m still on the peaks of Darien, staring with wild surmise.

    Any recommendations?

  5. William Morris on February 23, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    “I have come to the conclusion lately that rhetoric contains as much truth as logic does…”

    Adam:

    Welcome to the dark side.

  6. A. Greenwood on February 23, 2005 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks. What’s the password?

  7. Steve Evans on February 23, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    Adam, the password is ‘[deleted]‘. You should read some history of rhetoric — you might enjoy it!

  8. A. Greenwood on February 23, 2005 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks, Steve. I deleted the password, on the theory that not everyone who reads T&S has a standing invite to the dark side. Am I wrong? I mean, it is a good blog and all, and I understand you want a wider readership, but still.

  9. William Morris on February 23, 2005 at 5:36 pm

    Pfft.

    There is no password.

    But there is a dress code. That’s why Steve was kicked out long ago.

  10. Steve Evans on February 23, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    William’s right about the dress code. Apparently for rhetoricians, appearance is everything :)

    Ahh, the glory days of studying rhetoric. It’s been awhile, but that was my undergrad emphasis. If you’re really hankerin’ for a dose o’ rhetoric, you might try The Forest of Rhetoric.

  11. William Morris on February 23, 2005 at 5:52 pm

    Ah, yes. The Forest.

    Just call me the King of Perissologia.

  12. A. Greenwood on February 23, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    What have I wrought? Steve, William, I hardly knew thee.

  13. Steve Evans on February 23, 2005 at 6:04 pm

    Wm, couldn’t you be the Prince of Pleonasm instead?

  14. William Morris on February 23, 2005 at 6:11 pm

    Sure, but I wanted something that also included my overall tendency towards circumlocution.

    Incidentally, there is a great Romanian phrase “a umbla dupa salcie” (to go in search of willows) that means to speak in a circuitious manner. And the town I grew up in — Kanab — is named after the Paiute name for the willow tree.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    —–
    Adam:
    It’s not that difficult. Really. However, the plaid vest is going to have to go.

  15. Steve Evans on February 23, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    By the plaid vested in him, I proclaim Adam the paranomasia of the day.

  16. A. Greenwood on February 23, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    Ah. Then the dark side will have to come to me.

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