Reader Survey

Question: Which of the following three statements strikes you as the most typically Chestertonian?


(a) The truth about the Dark Ages is not that they were dark, but that they were bright.

(b) The truth about the Dark Ages is not that they were not dark, for dark indeed they were. But theirs was a darkness of a different kind than that which Mr. H. G. Wells and Mr. Bernard Shaw have supposed. It was (if one may say so) a different darkness altogether.

(c) The Dark Ages were indeed dark, and were indeed terrible — terrible not because they were dark, but because they were not dark enough.


  1. (b)

  2. Broderick Barker says

    A. But then, I’m an idiot. Degree in woodwork, I ask you.

    • Broderick Barker says

      A. should have a longer answer: “…but that they were bright, so bright that they have blinded gentlemen like Mr. Shaw, as if he were a mole recoiling from the sun.”

  3. Sweeney OP would pick A. He thinks they were the golden age.

  4. a(2)xb=c

    But OK, I’ll say b, mostly.

    Although, none seem up to GK’s savory, perfectly accomplished and intellectually appetizing sense of an initial insurgent trope which works it’s way back around the reader’s mind to surprise him in the end by laying out in the very terms of the opponent’s argument the common sense which every post-Christian prejudice invariably seeks to hides like a good salted crust which augments the flavors at the pink middle of a Sunday night joint.

  5. I think (b), too. But (c) has that tone to it, as well.

  6. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Thanks for the input, Krewe!

    The poll remains open indefinitely, as does my mind, with regard to the answer to my question; maybe it will eventually close, like a mouth, on something solid.

  7. “A” is a rather obvious statement of contrarianism that lacks Chestertonian wit. “B” sounds like it was written by someone determined to ridicule Chesterton. “C” has the right tone and is definitely my pick, the only condition being that it is in the next sentence that he is going to upend all our preconceptions in terms of just how the so-called Dark Ages weren’t dark enough.

    I have spoken.

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