Timeline — Chesterton’s Literary Life

Phase I: SPIRITUAL SEEKER

LIFE

1874 Born May 29

1881 Family moves to new home at Number 11, Warwick Gardens, Kensington

1887 Enrolls as a day student at St. Paul’s Preparatory School 
Begins writing and sketching in journals

1892 Enters Slade School of Art and University College

1893 Experiences metaphysical crisis

1895 Leaves college without a degree, takes job at publishing firm

1896 Meets, falls in love with Frances Blogg

1900 Meets Hilaire Belloc

1901 Marries Frances Blogg

1904 Declines chair of literature at Birmingham University Meets John O'Connor, model for Father Brown

WORK

1891—3 Contributions to The Debater, the informal organ of the Junior Debating Club

1892 Short piece, “The Song of Labour,” in The Speaker

1899 Begins to write for London’s Daily News

1900 Poetry, Greybeards at Play and The Wild Knight and Other Poems

1901 Begins regular Saturday column for Daily News

1903 Commissioned to write “English Men of Letters” series, including biographies of Robert Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Leo Tolstoy, Thackeray, and Tennyson

1903—4 Debates Robert Blatchford in pages of The Clarion

1904 Novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill

Phase II: UNEASY ANGLICAN LIFE

1905 Accepts invitation to preach at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden 
Enters 30—year public debate with George Bernard Shaw

1909 Friend Maurice Baring becomes a Roman Catholic

1912 Begins to build “Top Meadow,” a studio that eventually becomes the Chesterton home

1913 Younger brother, Cecil, becomes a Roman Catholic

1914 Falls seriously ill

1918 Cecil dies in war

1919—20 Travels with Frances to Jerusalem, the Continent, and North America

WORK

1905 Apologetics, Heretics Story collection, The Club of Queer Trades 
Begins weekly articles for The Illustrated London news

1906 Biography, Charles Dickens

1908 Aposlogetics, Orthodoxy 
Novel, The Man Who Was Thursday 
Essays, All Things Considered

1909 Novel, The Ball and the Cross 
Biography, George Bernard Shaw 
Essays, Tremendous Trifles

1910 Essays, What’s Wrong with the World and Alarms and Discursions

1911 Mystery collection, The Innocence of Father Brown 
Criticism, Appreciations and Criticisms of the Work of Charles Dickens 
Ballads, Lepanto and The Ballad of the White Horse

1912 Novel, Manalive 
Essays, A Miscellany of Men

1913 Criticism, The Victorian Age in Literature 
Play, Magic

1914 Mystery collection, The Wisdom of Father Brown 
Novel, The Flying Inn 
Commentary, The Barbarianism of Berlin and The Appetite of Tyranny

1915 Commentary, The Crimes of England

1917 History, A Short History of England 
Commentary, Eugenics and Other Evils

1919 Travel, Irish Impressions

1920 Travel, The New Jerusalem

1921 Essays, The Uses of Diversity

1922 Mystery collection, The Man Who Knew Too Much 
Travel, What I Saw in America

Phase III: ROMAN CATHOLIC LIFE

1922 Enters the Roman Catholic Church

1925 Launches G. K.’s Weekly, the official publication for the Distributist League

1926 Frances joins Catholic Church

1929 Joins the Detection Club

1932 Begins regular BBC broadcasts on literary subjects

1934 Made Knight Commander with Star, Order of St. Gregory the Great

1936 Dies June 14

WORK

1923 Biography, St. Francis of Assisi 
Essays, Fancies Versus Fads

1925 Verse, Wine, Water, and Song 
Verse, Collected Poems 
Story collection, Tales of the Long Bow 
Religious history, The Everlasting Man

1926 Mystery collection, The Incredulity of Father Brown 
Theology, The Catholic Church and Conversion 
Commentary, the Outline of Sanity

1927 Mystery collection, The Secret of Father Brown 
Novel, The Return of Don Quixote

1928 Essays, Generally Speaking

1929 Story collection, The Poet and the Lunatics 
Theology, The Thing: Why I Am a Catholic

1930 Mystery collection, Four Faultless Felons 
Travel, The Resurrection of Rome

1931 Essays, Come to Think of It …

1932 Biography/criticism, Chaucer

1933 Biography, St. Thomas Aquinas 
Essays, All I Survey

1934 Essays, Avowals and Denials

1935 Mystery collection, The Scandal of Father Brown 
Commentary, The Well and the Shallows

1936 Autobiography

CONTEMPORARY EVENTS

1874 P.M. Benjamin Disraeli initiates social reforms

1899 Boers’ pre-emptive strike sparks war with Britain

1901 Queen Victoria dies

1912 Titanic sinks

1914 Start of World War I

1917 Bolshevik Revolution begins

1920 Prohibition passes in America

1929 Wall Street plunge kicks off the Great Depression

1933 Adolf Hitler named chancellor of Germany

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #75 in 2002]

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