The Dark Side of G.K. Chesterton

Gargoyles and Grotesques

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About the Book

This is a critical study of the great British man of letters, G.K. Chesterton, with chapters devoted to the novels, stories, and essays that explore the darker fringes of his wild imagination. “Everything is different in the dark,” wrote Chesterton; “perhaps you don’t know how terrible a truth that is.”
Chesterton’s frequent use of the image and theme of “gargoyles” provides the thematic structure of the book. It covers the detective stories of Father Brown and others, the locked rooms and miracle crimes that appear in his writing, his status as a science fiction writer, and the riddles and paradoxes of three works—Job, The Man Who Was Thursday, and the play, The Surprise. This volume also includes an interlude about Chesterton and Jorge Luis Borges and a robust appendix including interviews about the formation of Ignatius Press’s Collected Chesterton.

About the Author(s)

John C. Tibbetts is a professor at the University of Kansas. His many books on the arts include film, music and literature. He has been twice a finalist for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award.

Bibliographic Details

John C. Tibbetts
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 50 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography,index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8497-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4397-7
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The Dark Side of G.K. Chesterton: Gargoyles and Grotesques presents an extensive study of the detective story in general, with an emphasis on the classic school, from Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and G.K. Chesterton to contemporary practitioners Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr. Special attention is devoted to that exotic branch known as the so-called ‘miracle crime,’ which in Chesterton’s hands tests the boundaries of reality and fantasy.”—Jon Lellenberg, Conan Doyle biographer and author/editor of the Baker Street Irregulars’ Archival History Series

• “Working within the darker aspects of G. K. Chesterton’s legacy, John Tibbetts explores the unexpected ways that Chesterton’s enduring stories and novels cross the threshold of science fiction. Chesterton’s abiding urge to extrapolate, to take a ‘what if’ far out into the fantastic, is also seen in the timeless fiction of Ray Bradbury, a writer who loved to read Chesterton throughout his life. Indeed, Tibbetts touches upon a profound synergy between the two men in ways that weave a sturdy thread through the entire volume.”—Jonathan R. Eller, co-founder of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor emeritus, Indiana University