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Tony Grist

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Gaiman, Chesterton, Borges [Dec. 5th, 2009|09:46 am]
Tony Grist
One of the things that interests me about Gaiman is that he's a Chesterton buff. Coraline has an epigraph from Chesterton and Neverwhere- which is the other thing of his I've read- is full of echoes of Chesterton- in particular of the Napoleon of Notting Hill. As someone once said of someone else, Chesterton is damn good to steal from. He was this big, prodigal talent- a lazy genius- who threw out ideas all the time and never worked them through- who never did any research and never really finished anything. Read a novel, story, poem or essay of his and it feels like you're reading a first draft- which is almost certainly what it is. Also he's been forgotten, so you can steal from him without people realising you're stealing. Borges was another Chesterton buff. He did carefully what Chesterton did carelessly.
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Comments:
From: mamadar
2009-12-05 01:34 pm (UTC)
Chesterton is one of those writers that I find immensely convincing--while I'm reading him. He's this big jovial bully who joshes you into agreeing with him, only later on you realize you don't agree at all, but you never tell him that. *g* Anyway, he's awfully entertaining.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-05 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's it exactly.

I love the Father Brown stories. They were just about the first adult literature I read.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-12-05 07:04 pm (UTC)
I love the Father Brown stories. They were just about the first adult literature I read.

My mother has the complete omnibus of those; I never imprinted on them, but I remember enjoying them. I loved The Napoleon of Notting Hill when I discovered it in college, but I bounced hard off the ending of The Man Who Was Thursday; not the surrealism, but the dissolving into a spirituality that did not compute for me. Probably for similar reasons, I don't think Manalive worked for me at all, but I keep thinking I should try it again and see if it was me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-05 08:53 pm (UTC)
I think the Napoleon of Notting Hill is his best novel.

I've read vast amounts of Chesterton- including a lot of journalism. He's never less than entertaining, but the books on which his reputation rests were all written early.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2009-12-05 06:03 pm (UTC)
The character of Fiddler's Green, in Gaiman's Sandman, is another variation on the Chesterton theme. If you wanted to follow this up, I think - I think - that his role is most substantial in The Doll's House.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-05 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. I must read Sandman.

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From: manfalling
2009-12-06 12:03 am (UTC)

original novel ideas!

yo dad, sent you a partial rewrite of Dawn (by email), changes at the end, if you want to read that instead might be better, and useful.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-06 10:21 am (UTC)

Re: original novel ideas!

Cool. Yes, I will!
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