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General Introduction from G K Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism and Revolution, 1901–1913

General Introduction from G K Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism and Revolution, 1901–1913

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General Introduction from G K Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism and Revolution, 1901–1913, published by Pickering & Chatto
General Introduction from G K Chesterton at the Daily News: Literature, Liberalism and Revolution, 1901–1913, published by Pickering & Chatto

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Published by: Pickering and Chatto on Jan 18, 2013
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10/24/2014

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– xv –
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Tis edition o the contributions o Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) tothe leading Liberal newspaper the
 Daily News
1
between 1901 and 1913 has beenmade in response to a growing interest in Chesterton’s work among scholars andgeneral readers alike. It is the rst edition o its kind, comprising much o hisbest journalism on a range o subjects and interests. In responding to the issueso the day, he developed the ideas and belies that became central to his thought.It is inevitable that much o his journalism across three decades should bear themark o haste; but in the essays reprinted here his creative vitality was rarely compromised by the pressure o deadlines. At the time they became collectors’items; one – albeit incomplete – set is preserved in the British Library.
2
Tis edi-tion complements the volumes o Chesterton’s contributions to the
 Illustrated  London News
between 1905 and 1936, published by Ignatius Press in their
Col-lected Works o G. K. Chesterton
series. However, his
 Daily News
articles providegreater insights into his political and spiritual views at a ormative stage thanthe more lighthearted pieces he wrote or the ‘Our Note Book’ column o the
 Illustrated London News
. Te contributions are also more varied, including book reviews and letters to the editor as well as his regular columns. Te space devotedto readers’ letters in the
 Daily News
provided Chesterton and his readers withopportunities to engage with one another that were not available in the
 Illus-trated London News
.Te ull run o the
 Daily News
or the years in which Chesterton was asso-ciated with it is held by a small number o research libraries only. Te eight volumes comprising this edition ensure that his contributions are more readily accessible. As well as obviating the need to search through microlm o oen poor newspaper copy, the volumes bring together the entirety o his output orthe newspaper.
3
Moreover, through cross-reerencing between articles in thenotes, the edition provides a perspective on Chestertons work or a prominentorgan o the Liberal press that emphasizes its unity. Tis is in contrast to theimpression o ragmentation made by reading individual essays.
 
 xvi
G. K. Chesterton at the Daily News, Volume 1
Previous Publishing History 
A number o these pieces have been reprinted beore in editions compiled by Chesterton himsel while he was still with the paper, and by various editors aerhis death. Prominent among the latter was his last secretary, Dorothy Edith Col-lins (1895–1988). As Chesterton’s literary executrix, she edited ve collectionso his essays between 1949 and 1975; these were drawn rom his voluminous work or other organs o the periodical and newspaper press as well as the
 Daily News,
and were organized around broad themes. But though valuable in making Chestertons work more widely available, the selections were made rom among the less contentious and what seemed the less dated parts o his output. Further-more, those included were edited, sometimes substantially and always silently.Tis was not just to produce composite essays but also to remove all reerencesto the context in which they were written. Absent rom the Collins editionsare the articles in which Chesterton engaged with the manoeuvrings o the political elite and with what he considered to be worrying trends in Edwardian public policy. Also absent are his numerous controversial pieces on inuentialcontemporary thinkers, writers and movements. In diferent ways, other editorso Chesterton’s work have pared away the original copy to produce what oenamounts to short extracts only.
4
 In contrast, the present edition reprints all Chesterton’s writing rom the
 Daily News
, and rom the original text. In doing so, it emphasizes the richnessand intensity o public debate in Edwardian England, with which Chesterton’sthought is tightly enmeshed.
Annotation
Te edition seeks to recover the context o the material and enhance under-standing o its meaning and signicance through extensive annotation. In thisrespect as in others it goes beyond existing collections o the essays that arereprinted as raw as well as expurgated text. Editorial notes are provided on anumber o ronts. First, they give details o the persons and events at the centreo the articles. As a conscientious reader o the press as well as a leading column-ist himsel, Chesterton’s articles are oen built around those who eatured in thenews, both public gures (usually in connection with a recent speech or address)and ordinary citizens (usually in connection with a recent injustice that had been visited upon them). Second, the notes identiy the numerous literary, historical,and biblical quotations and resonances in his essays that Chesterton himsel leunreerenced. On the whole he could assume a level o general knowledge o such things that the reader o today probably does not have.
5
Tird, the notesidentiy the sources o the articles in newspapers and periodicals with whichhe engaged and elaborate on their contents as necessary. Fourth, as mentioned
 
 
General Introduction
xvii
above, the notes identiy cross-currents between the various contributions. Fih,the notes identiy the various policies, Commissions, Bills and laws to which hereers. Finally, the notes give details o republication where the essays have beenreproduced in complete or nearly complete orm rather than in part.
extual Variants
In addition to the notes, the edition includes all textual variants as between theoriginal essays and those that were collected during the period in which Ches-terton was employed on the newspaper. Tese appear at the end o each piece.Tey illustrate the sometimes substantial revision in which he engaged prior torepublishing his work. For example, he enlarged a number o the literary essaysthat ormed the basis o 
welve ypes
in 1902 and sharpened the already acute polemical edge o some o the later political essays in
 A Miscellany o Men
in 1912.Increasingly, he took pains to remove reerences to the articles, letters to the editorand reviews in the
 Daily News
and other organs o the press that had promptedthe essays, no doubt in order to reduce their ephemeral appearance. However, asone reviewer o 
 A Miscellany o Men
noted, the missing context le some sentencesscarcely intelligible.
6
For this reason and also the wider interest that the original as well as the revised passages hold, both versions are reprinted here.Te textual variants that occur in the essays collected by Dorothy Collinshave mostly been summarized in the rst ootnote alongside details o the sourceo republication. In the ew instances where a more detailed approach is war-ranted, the variants appear at the end o the piece.
Letters to the Editor
Chesterton’s numerous letters to the editor have never been reproduced inanthologies o his work; nor have they eatured in studies o his lie and thought.Yet the letters were oen equal in length to his columns, and show Chestertonat his most combative. Some were replies to critics on the correspondence page;others were responses to editorials in the newspaper or controversies on the let-ters page which others had initiated. Some o those with whom he engaged inthis way were ordinary readers o the newspaper; others were well-known writersand activists, or example George Bernard Shaw, R. B. Cunninghame Graham,H. N. Brailsord, Henry Nevinson, Joseph McCabe, Henry Salt, Henry HirstHollowell and Cicely Hamilton. Te letters covered a wide range o topicsincluding the Fabian deence o empire (1901), the role o religion in stateeducation (1902, 1905), Christianity versus agnosticism (1903), vegetarianism(1907), the treatment o prisoners (1908), women’s sufrage (1909), the Ferrercontroversy (1909), the Coronation Oath (1910), corporal punishment (1911),and the Italian invasion o Libya in 1911. In addition to Chesterton’s letters,

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