Chesterton on “The Dragon’s Grandmother”

A delightful rant on the sanity of fairy tales and the drabness of modern (and postmodern) lit:

Folk lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is–what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is–what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos.

Two sort of people hate escapism: contemporary lit critics and jailers–and for the same reason.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “There are some refusals which, though they may be done what is called conscientiously, yet carry so much of their whole horror in the very act of them, that a man must in doing them not only harden but slightly corrupt his heart. One of them was the refusal of milk to young mothers when their husbands were in the field against us.”

    May God bless the cause of this most Christian gentleman!

    • kmk1916

      Ivan, where is that quotation from, please?

      • ivan_the_mad

        It’s found in the document linked above; at the top it notes that the essay is published in a collection entitled Tremendous Trifles by GK Chesterton.


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