Newsletter - The Defendant

Current edition

Autumn 2020

In the midst of COVID-19, this issue opens with a topical piece on Chesterton’s ideas about solitude. Greg Sheridan reveals the advantages of switching metaphors in speaking to different audiences. Gary Furnell revisits a neglected Scottish Catholic writer, Bruce Marshall, by looking at his recently reprinted novel, The World, The Flesh, and Father Smith. Karl Schmude contributes two obituaries - one of the Chesterton scholar, John Coates, the other of the Australian poet, Bruce Dawe, while Garry Nieuwkamp’s pick of a Desert Island Chesterton book is his greatest poem, Lepanto (1911).

Table of contents

  • Chesterton in Isolation (Karl Schmude)
  • Shedding Light by Switching Metaphors (Greg Sheridan)
  • Laughter in the Service of Truth - Bruce Marshall (Gary Furnell)
  • Obituaries - John Coates and Bruce Dawe (Karl Schmude)
  • Storytelling in an Age of Disillusionment (Symeon Thompson)
  • Desert Island Chesterton - Lepanto (Garry Nieuwkamp)

Previous editions

Summer 2020

The President of The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton in America, Dale Ahlquist, leads this issue with a thought-provoking article on the subject of death in the light of Chesterton’s insights. There is a short report on where Chesterton lived at different times in England, and a summary of a Greg Sheridan article which draws on Chesterton’s understanding of courage. Tributes are paid to “Two Champions of Chesterton” who recently died - Clive James (by Karl Schmude) and William Oddie (by Francis Phillips), and Garry Nieuwkamp contributes a review of Oddie’s important 2008 study of Chesterton. Richard Egan explores the thoughts of the British author (and member of the Inklings with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien), Charles Williams, on the meaning and purpose of sexual love, followed by a number of remarkable Chesterton prophesies on the Sexual Revolution. The issue concludes with a report on the worldwide interest in Chesterton as revealed by enquirers to the Australian Chesterton website, created in 2016 by Marty Schmude.

Table of contents

  • The End of the World Again (Dale Ahlquist)
  • The Homes of Chesterton/Chesterton on Boris Johnson (Greg Sheridan)
  • Clive James (Karl Schmude) and William Oddie (Francis Phillips)
  • Book Review of Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy (Garry Nieuwkamp)
  • Charles Williams - A Chesterton Novel and Sexual Love (Richard Egan)
  • The Australian Chesterton Website - A Worldwide Audience (Karl Schmude)

Current edition

Spring 2019

The Christmas issue of the newsletter opens with a Chesterton meditation on the paradoxical meanings of Christmas, as the feast combines an emphasis on simplicity (an unadorned crib in a stable) with splendour (the precious gifts brought to the Child Jesus by the Three Kings). A report follows on the 2019 Conference at Campion College - with the papers in both text and video forms now available on the website, and a special comment (by John Young) featured on the American political economist Henry George. Gary Furnell reviews a collection of Chesterton religious conversion stories, My Name Is Lazarus; Symeon Thompson, Associate Editor of the Australian Chesterton newsletter, reflects on story-telling in an age of disillusionment; and Karl Schmude explores the possibility of Chesterton as a notable cricketer.

Table of contents

  • A Chesterton Meditation at Christmas (Karl Schmude)
  • Reclaiming the Economy – Report on the 2019 Conference
  • Henry George and Private Property (John Young)
  • The Discovery of a Spiritual Home - Book Review of My Name Is Lazarus (Gary Furnell)
  • Storytelling in an Age of Disillusionment (Symeon Thompson)
  • Chesterton – an Aspiring Cricketer? (Karl Schmude)

Winter 2019

Chesterton’s gift for exciting a sense of wonder at the familiar is the subject of Andrew Murphy’s front-page essay. Gary Furnell reviews a recent book on the place of paradoxes - so loved by Chesterton - in Christianity. Richard Egan discusses Chesterton’s critique of eugenics and its application by US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to a recent abortion case. Karl Schmude recalls the formative influence that Chesterton’s Orthodoxy had on him as a teenager. The issue includes reports on a Chesterton library in London, a book honour bestowed on Dr Race Mathews, and Chesterton’s impact on young people today.

Table of contents

  • The Wonder of Chesterton (Andrew Murphy)
  • The Power of Paradoxes (Gary Furnell)
  • Chesterton’s Library Moves to London - and Recognition of Race Mathews
  • Chesterton’s Impact on Young People
  • Chesterton - and the US Supreme Court (Richard Egan)
  • Desert Island Chesterton - Orthodoxy (Karl Schmude)

Autumn 2019

The British writer and film-maker K.V. Turley escorts the reader on a walking tour of ‘Chesterton country’ - from the London church where he was baptised to the town of Beaconsfield where he lived and lies buried. Karl Schmude pays tribute to two Chestertonian figures who have recently died, the Australian poet Les Murray and the American philosopher Fr James V. Schall SJ, while the British author Francis Phillips reviews a recent biography of Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society.

Table of contents

  • Walking with Chesterton (K.V. Turley)
  • Les Murray – A Chestertonian Poet (Karl Schmude)
  • Religious Poetry in an Irreligious Time
  • James V. Schall SJ – A Chestertonian Philosopher (Karl Schmude)
  • Chesterton’s Prophetic Power (Francis Phillips)

Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 Defendant is the 100th issue of the Australian Chesterton Society newsletter, and coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Society’s founding. The issue is larger than usual, as its centre pages feature various messages and tributes from Chesterton leaders and readers worldwide. There is a range of articles on Chesterton - a comparison by Joseph Pearce of Chesterton and Solzhenitsyn, an exploration by Garry Nieuwkamp of Chesterton’s writings on science, and a recollection by Tom Susanka of his early discovery of Chesterton. There are also articles on figures associated with Chesterton. Richard Egan considers the first religious play of Dorothy Sayers, co-founder with Chesterton of the Detection Club; John Young analyses the detective fiction of Chesterton’s boyhood friend, E.C. Bentley; and David Daintree reviews a special issue of a recent American journal on Christopher Dawson.

Table of contents

  • Chesterton and Solzhenitsyn (Joseph Pearce)
  • A Dorothy Sayers Play (Richard Egan)
  • The Importance of Christopher Dawson (David Daintree)
  • The Defendant’s 100th Issue - Messages
  • From the Roof of the Arctic (Tom Susanka)
  • Chesterton and Science (Garry Nieuwkamp)
  • Trent’s Last Case - E.C. Bentley (John Young)

Spring 2018

A Chesterton Society member, Siobhan Reeves, reveals the existence of a crater named after Chesterton on the planet Mercury. David Daintree reviews Greg Sheridan’s latest book, God Is Good For You. A Sydney moviemaker, Elvis Joseph, recalls his discovery of Chesterton, and ponders his plans, with his wife Heather, to turn a number of Chesterton’s books into movies. Karl Schmude pays tribute to the late political science scholar, Margaret Canovan, for her book on Chesterton as well as other works on totalitarianism, populism and nationalism. Francis Phillips remembers her meeting with Chesterton’s niece, Sheila Cook, and the light this shed on Frances and Gilbert Chesterton’s love of children; and Karl Schmude reflects on the significance of Christmas in the lives of the Chestertons.

Table of contents

  • Chesterton – A Celestial Phenomenon (Siobhan Reeves)
  • Greg Sheridan – God Is Good For You (David Daintree)
  • Children and the Family – Report on 2018 Conference
  • Discovering Chesterton: A Moviemaker Remembers (Elvis Joseph)
  • Death of a Chesterton Scholar – Margaret Canovan (Karl Schmude)
  • A Niece’s Memory of Chesterton (Francis Phillips)
  • Christmas and the Chestertons (Karl Schmude)

Winter 2018

Chesterton was not only 'a man of colossal genius', as George Bernard Shaw said, but he had a genius for friendship. This issue highlights his friendship with Shaw himself (“Chesterton's Close Shavian') as well as with his closest friend, his wife Frances, revealed in an interview with her biographer, Nancy Brown, a special guest at the 2018 Australian Chesterton conference at Campion College in Sydney. John Young reflects on Chesterton's legendary 'absence of mind' as really his 'presence of mind on something else'; James V. Schall SJ explores Chesterton's insights into reason and nature as shown in his biography of St Francis of Assisi; and a niece of Chesterton recalls her childhood happiness in company with her 'Big Uncle'.

Table of contents

  • Chesterton’s Close Shavian (Karl Schmude)
  • An Interview with Nancy Brown - guest speaker at October 2018 Australian Conference
  • Chesterton’s Presence of Mind (John Young)
  • St Francis of Assisi and the High Road of Reason and Nature (James V. Schall)
  • A Child remembers ‘Big Uncle’ Chesterton (Sheila Cook)

Autumn 2018

Chesterton's greatest exercise of historical speculation was his essay, 'If Don John of Austria had married Mary Queen of Scots', and the opening article in this issue examines how Chesterton 'reimagined' the past. Other articles look at the contribution to Chesterton's work of his secretary, Dorothy Collins; the weaknesses of the current Father Brown TV series; Chesterton's autobiography as a mystery novel; stories about Chesterton's home, Top Meadow, and an Australian memory of the town of Beaconsfield in which he lived; and details on the October 2018 Australian Chesterton conference.

Table of contents

  • Reimagining the Past – A Chesterton Vision (Karl Schmude)
  • The Daughter the Chestertons Never Had (Aidan Mackey)
  • The Latest Father Brown on TV
  • Chesterton's Autobiography: Father Brown Solves the Mystery (Chene Heady)
  • Chesterton's Beaconsfield: Top Meadow (Karl Schmude)
  • Australian Memory of Beaconsfield (David van Gend)
  • Christopher Dawson Conferences in Australia (Hobart and Perth)
  • Rebirth of Hilaire Belloc Society in the UK
  • 2018 Chesterton Conference at Campion College

Summer 2018

Chesterton cherished a special love of the small and the concrete, and the lead article highlights the town of Beaconsfield which he loved. Other articles focus on the admiration for Chesterton of the British comedy writers, Frank Muir and Denis Norden, a review of a book of essays on Chesterton, and The Poet and the Lunatics as the book chosen in the Desert Island Chesterton series.

Table of contents

  • The Little Town That Chesterton Loved (Aidan Mackey)
  • Farewell to Much-Loved Friends (Karl Schmude)
  • Comedians Who Delighted in Chesterton
  • Chesterton and the Crocodile (Garry Nieuwkamp)
  • Christopher Dawson Conferences
  • Desert Island Chesterton (Siobhan Reeves)

Spring 2017

This issue comprises articles on a range of topics, including Chesterton's ability as a radio broadcaster, his writing of hymns, and the continuing importance of his first novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Other articles focus on figures of cultural interest and importance, particularly Fr John O'Connor, the priest on whom Chesterton based the character of Father Brown; the Australian poet James McAuley; and the American educator, John Senior.

Table of contents

  • Chesterton as a Broadcaster (Tony Evans)
  • A Modern Chestertonian - Dawn Eden (David Ryan)
  • Composing Hymns with James McAuley (Richard Connolly)
  • The Music of Chesterton (Simon Dennerly)
  • The Senior Syllabus -As It Should Be (Dale Ahlquist)
  • The Man Behind Father Brown (John Young)
  • Desert Island Chesterton - The Napoleon of Notting Hill (Francis Phillips)

Winter 2017

Chesterton invoked the metaphor of colour in describing the state of education as a 'broken rainbow' - the disorder of colour reflecting the loss of a colour scheme and a lack of intellectual order. The Winter 2017 issue contains articles on this and other topics, including the first in a new series, Desert Island Chesterton, in which writers will discuss the Chesterton book they would choose in the event of being marooned.

Table of contents

  • The 'Broken Rainbow' of Education (Karl Schmude)
  • Australia - The Distributist Experiment (Garrick Small)
  • Father Brown (John Young and Charlie Hegarty)
  • Chesterton - and the Condescension of the Elites
  • The Man Who Was Thursday - on a Desert Island (Philippa Martyr)

Summer 2017

This issue explores the intriguing links between Chesterton and the leaders of the modern communications revolution, notably Marshall McLuhan and Steve Jobs. There are also major articles by the well-known journalist, Greg Sheridan, and an American scholar, Joseph Stuart, about a famous Christopher Dawson essay on 'the bourgeois mind'.

Table of contents

  • Marshall McLuhan – The Medium Was Chesterton / Chesterton and the Book of Jobs (Karl Schmude)
  • Chesterton: The Journalist as An Artist (Greg Sheridan)
  • Bourgeois or Baroque? A Christopher Dawson Essay (Joseph T. Stuart)
  • Australian Chesterton Website

Spring 2016

Chesterton wrote articles every year on the theme of Christmas, often for more than one journal or newspaper. The lead article, 'Christmas Must Go', highlights Chesterton's ironic touch in mocking the pretensions of modernity and calling for a deeper understanding of Christmas.

Table of contents

  • Christmas Must Go
  • An Autobiography Revisited
  • Dealing Life: A Review of Manalive
  • Did Chesterton Predict Brexit?
  • Defending the Fences
  • If Chesterton Had Been Irish?
  • The Nativity

Winter 2016

Chesterton had a singular gift for inspiring and not simply influencing his readers. Most, one would assume, were people who instinctively shared his perspectives and values, but there were also those who would have to be regarded as surprisingly affected by his writings.

Table of contents

  • The Unexpected Chestertonians
  • Documenting Chesterton's Writings: An Interview With His Bibliographer
  • Chesterton at Campion College
  • The Most Famous Chesterton Quote – But Was it Chesterton's?
  • Walking in the Path of Belloc
  • Christopher Hitchens and Peter Craven

Autumn 2016

One of the fascinating features of the revival of interest in Chesterton is its international scope.

Table of contents

  • The Global Chesterton
  • Chesterton in Oxford
  • The Italian Connection
  • Chesterton Society in Japan
  • A Chesterton Centre in Africa
  • A New Biography of Chesterton
  • Chesterton in Debate

Summer 2016

G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc would no longer be so readily associated in the public mind as they once were.

Table of contents

  • Remembering the 'Chesterbelloc'
  • Reflections on the 'Chesterbelloc'
  • My Path to Belloc
  • Belloc in Australia
  • The Prophetic Insights of Hilaire Belloc
  • Chesterton the Metaphysician

Spring 2015

The feast of Christmas has a natural connection with both Chesterton and children.

Table of contents

  • The Child Who Was Chesterton
  • Conference on Chesterton and the Convert Cardinals
  • Introducing Chesterton to Children
  • The Elves have Left the Building
  • Chesterton and Anti-Semitism
  • Death of a Chesterton Anthologist

Winter 2015

How would G.K. Chesterton have reacted to the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudate si' ('Praise Be To You', taken from St Francis of Assisi's poem of praise to God, Canticle of the Sun)?

Table of contents

  • Chesterton and Pope Francis – Early Hints of a Papal Encyclical
  • Chesterton - Theologian of the Environment?
  • Is Chesterton's Common Man Becoming Uncommon?
  • Father Brown – The Detective Who Philosophized
  • Chesterton at Notre Dame – a Rediscovered Work
  • The Accidental Discovery of Chesterton

Autumn 2015

Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian newspaper, is a long-time fan of G.K. Chesterton whom he has highlighted at various times in his columns.

Table of contents

  • Greg Sheridan on Chesterton
  • Antony Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest - A Mischievous Tale
  • Chesterton's Last Will and Testament
  • A New Canon – Updating an Everlasting Author
  • Celebrating the Common Man
  • Chesterton in Chicago – the Marion E. Wade Center

Summer 2015

Chesterton has long been celebrated for his prophetic insight, anticipating the ultimate direction of various intellectual trends. One of his least known prophecies has recently attracted new attention - his vision of the resurgence of Islam.

Table of contents

  • Chesterton and the Resurgence of Islam
  • Chesterton's Islamic England
  • Islam in the West – A Comment
  • A New Chesterton Adventure Story for Young People
  • Chesterton Devotee Awarded the Templeton
  • Chesterton and "Peter's Friends"
Australian Chesterton Society 1993 - 2020