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Heretics

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,711 ratings  ·  138 reviews
In this 1905 collection of articles Chesterton exposes the faulty thinking underlying popular modern "heresies" such as negativism, relativism, neo-paganism, puritanism, aestheticism, and individualism. The book includes one of his best essays: "On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of Family." With his characterstic wit and wisdom, Chesterton brilliantly critiques ...more
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Published January 1st 2012 by Authentic Media (first published January 1st 1905)
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Jonathan

4.5 Stars

The Oxford English Dictionary

Heretic: noun
a person believing in or practising religious heresy.
a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.


Heretics is by G.K. Chesterton's own admission, a work that merely serves to point out the 'heresies' contained within the popular veins of thought surrounding him in society. It seems odd that such a word as 'heretic' could be applied to what is popular, when it is known that heresy normally tends to be the opinion against p
...more
John Mlinar
Chesterton, let's face it, is thematically ataxic. He can't keep to one idea; in the words of an acquaintance of mine, he sidesteps issues by making sense. Reading Orthodoxy was an experience analogous to hearing an inebriated genius swerve through celestial ideas. The book's only lack is that its subject demands a structure it doesn't provide.

Heretics is a different story. Here Chesterton is truest to his form. He's free to roam the world of his improvised ideas as he surveys what he considers
...more
J. Aleksandr Wootton
Within a very short length of time, Chesterton went from "a famous writer I'll get around to reading one of these days" to "that writer I'm always bringing in to conversations and trying to get other people to read," and this bundled edition of Heretics & Orthodoxy is largely at fault.

Orthodoxy is the better book of the two, by far, but Heretics lays extremely helpful groundwork for it: Heretics is more work to read and understand, but it can be valued by its own weight and your investment p
...more
Tim
I'm just finishing this book for the third or fourth time. Chesterton blows my little mind. He has such wonderful insight into what it is to be human. I think of him as a humanist that was a Christian. One of my favorite lines in this book is that "what is valuable and lovable in our eyes is man--the old beer-drinking, creed-making, fighting, failing, sensual, respectable man." For Chesterton, man is incurably an idealist, a romantic, a thinking, feeling, paradoxical being. However, what is most ...more
Tess
G.K. Chesterton was such a genius. He blows my mind repeatedly in his books, and gets me thinking about things in a completely different light from that which I am used to thinking about them. Amazing. Here are the greatest hits from this book, at least as far as I'm concerned:

-- For with the removal of all question of merit or payment, the soul is suddenly released for incredible voyages.

-- And this gay humility, this holding of ourselves lightly and yet ready for an infinity of unmerited trium
...more
Josh L
Chesterton was a jovial, good-natured man, known for his raucous laughter and his love for naps and good beer. But Chesterton was also criticized for his joy, particularly criticized for how many jokes he made at his opponents’ expense. Heretics exhibits that style of jovial criticism, as in its pages Chesterton contests the philosophies and the philosophers of his day, but does so with wit and flair.

The chapters of this book are each devoted to a different writer or thinker of Chesterton’s day,
...more
Shane Saxon
This book contains some really fascinating ideas, but it also has some really confusing ones. It would have helped if I had a more thorough understanding of the philosophies of Chesterton’s day. Also, I’m looking forward to reading Orthodoxy which might explain some of what I read here. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but when reading Chesterton you have to remember that he is primarily a philosopher not a theologian. However, here are some of the ideas which I thought were particularly thought pro ...more
John
Despite the hyperbolic-sounding title (which makes this book sound like something written by Ann Coulter), HERETICS isn't the condescending, accusatory work you might expect. Always in contrarian mode, Chesterton uses this book to criticize certain highly-regarded authors and popular literary trends that he thinks misguided or erroneous. Yes, he can be quite nit-picky in that regard (for example, one essay is written with the aim of pointing out the frivolity in referring to America as a "young" ...more
فاروق الفرشيشي
(English level -9999 sorry -_- )
Being a Heretic is not something to be proud of, but being a Heretic doesn't make someone disrespectable. Going through the different meanings of Heresy, Chesterton, studies, a group of the most famous men of literature of his time, as well as many of what used to be, I guess, serious problematics at the time. Being a Heretic is being wrong, according to Chesterton's point of view, which is very Christian, very Liberal and very Imperialist. But,the good thing, is
...more
Bruce
The book that made me a Chesterton fan, wherein he lampoons a variety of contemporaries and near-contemporaries, and in the process reveals his life-affirming, fantastical, yet level-headed theology.
Peter
A common hesitation in our day touching the use of extreme convictions is a sort of notion that extreme convictions specially upon cosmic matters, have been responsible in the past for the thing which is called bigotry. But a very small amount of direct experience will dissipate this view. In real life the people who are most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all. The economists of the Manchester school who disagree with Socialism take Socialism seriously. It is the young man in
...more
Sandra
Dec 20, 2011 Sandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nicola
Shelves: christian, philosophy
This was the first book I read from Chesterton and I have to admit that, even though it was a bit difficult to follow, I found it genius. It is very difficult to classify this book, but I believe it is a great source of criticism to some modern addictions such as progress, beauty, democracy and anti-religion. I liked it very much by the fact that he manages to criticize in a very respectful and objective way. He destroys the ideals of several important novelists and philosophers by using charact ...more
Mariano Hortal
El señor G. K Chesterton creó hace casi un siglo "Herejes", libro en el que se dedica a repasar todas les herejías del tiempo que vivía, entiendo herejía como "envenamiento intelectual de todo el pueblo", y el retrato que propone es tan vigente hoy en día que abruma. Excelente ensayo del rubicundo escritor donde se despacha a gusto con las personalidades literarias y políticas a costa de sus pensamientos o falta de ellos. Los temas de su literatura están presentes aquí en todo su esplendor, desd ...more
Darwin8u
Funny and flamboyant. Quotable and often Quixotic. Chesterton is one of those writers (I think of Christopher Hitchens) I read not because I agree with him always, but because he forces me page after page to pick up, look at, and sharpen my beliefs. He is like a literary gypsy, who quoting parables about fairies and singing odd paradoxes about the Universe, comes into my room and offers to sharpen the edges of all my dogmas. After finishing his books most all my doctrines are wickedly sharpened, ...more
NaomiRuth
I was given this as a gift (kinda' a... strange happening) and I finally finished today. It is filled with all sorts of notes and such. I enjoyed it. And I love the aspects of humor. He really thinks turnips are hilarious, apparently. I am convinced. However, turnips aside, I felt like sometimes his argumentation was a little too... Journalistic. He wasn't as philosophical as I was hoping for. Sometimes I just felt like there was something off in his logic. That thing where you use one thing to ...more
Caio
I'm not going to talk about the book subject “per se” because it's not why I read it. I only wanted a better picture of Christianity, and to better know the face of Chesterton, the man (in some degree) responsible for the conversion of - the Brazilian author - Gustavo Corção, who is, by turn, responsible for my own conversion.

Chesterton is a serious intellectual and also a fool with penchant for fantasy. In a bit of a mystery, one quality unlocks the potential of the other in a perfect fit, and
...more
Russell
Chesterton's piercing intellect makes his works timeless. The master of paradox tackles the flawed philosophy of his day, but because nothing really has changed since then, his insights and wit apply just as much today as then. True to the nature of paradox, though he focuses on men and things long since gone, this book applies almost as much to today as it did then. This book could have been written today. Change a few names to more popular figures with the same arguments in hand, and the book ...more
Tony Beard
I doubt I can write a review of this book worthy of Mr. G.K. Chesterton's "Heretics." I've known of Chesterton for some time but have never taken on any of his works. His "Orthodoxy" was recommended to me first, but since this work was published first, I figured I ought to start at the beginning (The same thought led me to read C.S. Lewis' books in order of their writing and not in the order of their occurrence).

This book is often difficult for a modern reader. Though Chesterton's writing is smo
...more
Tom Nysetvold
Not Chesterton's best work, I'd say ("The Everlasting Man" and "Orthodoxy" are both far superior), but still written in his characteristic style and smattered with profound insights and quotable paradoxes. It talks about modern heresies, addressing relativism and modern attitudes towards religion, through the lens of literary criticism of various moderns. I frankly haven't read the same people as Chesterton enough, nor do I care enough for literary criticism in general, for his literary comments ...more
Allie
Read my review at This is the Forest of Arden.
Laurène Poret
This book felt like a political speech, with Chesterton trying to undermine his competitors. He says one or two nice things about them (to show he's not bitter and see their qualities as well as their flaws?) then attacks, often mocking them or what they would say. To me, it did felt bitter.
The biggest problem I had with this book is that Chesterton is absolutely convinced he has the truth, the one and only truth and that nothing even comes close to that truth, no other way of thinking could eve
...more
E
This is not a discussion of "classic" or historic heresies. Rather, it examines the worldviews of luminaries of Chesterton's time--Edwardian England. So, quite simply, each chapter discusses a different "heresy" or worldview--that of Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, George Moore, Lowes Dickinson. If you're not up on your 100-year old pop icons, some parts might be a little difficult (I certainly wasn't). But Chesterton makes up for it with his wit and insight, which transcend t ...more
Becca Nelson
Though I found this book to be a little harder to follow than Orthodoxy (one of my all-time favorites...) I still really enjoyed it. Chesterton has this tendency to go on and on about his contemporaries (most of whom I am familiar with, but don't know a lot about) assuming that we already know all about their views on everything, which gets a little annoying for the modern reader. Thank you, wikipedia. Nevertheless, my highlighter got a serious workout, because I still wanted to quote everything ...more
Lonnie Massey
The more I read of Chesterton, the more I like him. I can't wait to start on Orthodoxy again!
Jonathan
Decided to go back and read this one after Orthodoxy. This one is not AS timeless as Orthodoxy and there were parts when I didn't take notes as incessantly as O but I did take TWICE AS MANY pages of notes as O. The way that Chesterton "attacks" the words, thoughts, of his and our time is astounding. He breaths in paradox and strangely, they all make sense. I look forward to reading through my notes later but mostly I am glad that I have found an author that challenges my preconceived, all of our ...more
Christopher
I listened to this book on LibriVox.org.
K.M. Weiland
Insightful, punchy, enjoyable.
Jay
I'm not sure even where to begin in trying to review this book. My Goodreads friend, Christopher H, nailed it (as he usually does). So, dear reader, if you're out there, I highly recommend you read his review.

I'm taking the liberty of adding this bit of ridiculous speculation. It occurred to me as I was driving to work this morning, that if G. K. Chesterton had been born a Baby Boomer, his favorite British band would be the Kinks and his favorite Kink's song "Waterloo Sunset." Now that I've got
...more
C.T. Casberg
The problem with Heretics, even more so than Chesterton's other prominent apologetic works (Orthodoxy, Everlasting Man), is that Chesterton writes a direct response to critics, artists, and politicians of his particular place and time (England, circa 1905). Readers may be familiar with the works of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and H.G. Wells, but beyond a handful of still well-known figures, his targets are obscure. There's a lot in Heretics that's well worth reading; his section on family ...more
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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