“A great man”

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, all of the posts in April will make reference to Shakespeare in one way or another. Chesterton had a lot to say about the Bard.

What alone can make a literary man in the ultimate sense great … is ideas; the power of generating and making vivid an incessant output of ideas. It is untrue to say that what matters is quality and not quantity. Most men have made one good joke in their lives; but to make jokes as Dickens made them is to be a great man. Many forgotten poets have let fall a lyric with one really perfect image; but when we open any play of Shakespeare, good or bad, at any page, important or unimportant, with the practical certainty of finding some imagery that at least arrests the eye and probably enriches the memory, we are putting our trust in a great man.

The Common Man (posthumous, 1950).

Published in: on April 6, 2016 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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