Oxford Oratory to host Chesterton library

London, England, Aug 1, 2012 / 04:08 pm (CNA).- A new library at the Oxford Oratory in England will host the archive and museum of the famous Catholic convert and writer G.K. Chesterton.

The G.K. Chesterton Library said Aug. 1 that many people think Chesterton was “one of the best – as well as one of the most amusing – writers and thinkers of the twentieth century.”

Organizers are preparing the collection to be opened in 2013 based on materials collected by Chesterton scholar Aidan Mackey, who was a friend of Chesterton’s secretary Dorothy Collins. The initiative has garnered substantial support from the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire.

The library intends to support and encourage the study of Chesterton, his contemporaries and his ideas “in close collaboration” with other Chesterton-friendly societies and organizations across the world.

Chesterton lived from 1874 to 1936. Under the influence of his wife Frances, he became a devout Anglican Christian. He converted to Catholicism in 1922.

He enjoys a reputation as a writer with a taste for wit and a love of finding truth in paradox.

The author wrote journalistic essays, novels, poetry, plays philosophical works and Christian apologetics. He created the character of Father Brown, a Catholic priest who solves murder mysteries.

His books include “Orthodoxy,” a defense of Christian faith, and “The Everlasting Man,” a reflection on the role of Jesus Christ and Christianity in history.

In the latter work, he stressed the power of Christianity to renew itself through Jesus.

“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died,” he said. “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

Chesterton devised a political philosophy called Distributism, whose ideal is the widespread ownership of economically productive property. He was also a staunch opponent of eugenics and birth control.

Those influenced by Chesterton’s writings include C.S. Lewis, Mahatma Gandhi and E.F. Schumacher.

The library’s collection includes a complete run of his newspaper “GK’s Weekly,” with some annotations by Chesterton. It includes many of Chesterton’s books, including some first editions. It has a background library of writers like Hilaire Belloc and Fr. Vincent McNabb, the U.K. journal Second Spring reports.

The G.K. Chesterton Library has launched an appeal to secure financial support. More information is available at: http://chestertonlibrary.blogspot.co.uk.

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