giovedì 30 maggio 2019

Notizie dalla Chesterton Library di Oxford

** Greetings from the
GK Chesterton Library in Oxford!

~Welcome to our bi-annual newsletter~
Keeping you up to date with developments at the Library
and sharing news from the wider Chestertonian world.
"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision..." – G. K. Chesterton
Press release, 29 May 2019:

After careful discernment, the Trustees of the G. K. Chesterton Library have entered into an agreement with the University of Notre Dame to secure the future of the collection. The full holdings — housed at the Oxford Oratory since 2013 — will be transferred to Notre Dame's London Global Gateway ( on Trafalgar Square in the near future, providing increased access to researchers and Chesterton enthusiasts. In addition to being a scholarly resource, the library will have a public-access exhibit for Chesterton fans visiting London.

The collection was originally compiled by schoolmaster and bookseller Aidan Mackey, a friend of Chesterton's secretary and adopted daughter Dorothy Collins. For many years it was under the custodianship of Stratford Caldecott and Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford (with support from the Chesterton Institute at Seton Hall and later the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts). The Trust was formed by Stratford Caldecott in 2008 with the object of safeguarding the collection and promoting "the study of G.K. Chesterton and other writers for the benefit of the public by activities related to the establishment and maintenance in England of a suitably equipped research library". The Trustees see this move to Notre Dame's London campus as the best way to further these aims and provide a safe and fruitful setting for the Library in Chesterton's home country. Mr Mackey is delighted about the move. "To watch as the trustees and Notre Dame have arranged the collection's elevation to so prestigious a
home as the London Global Gateway is, for me, warming beyond measure," he said.

Notre Dame also seemed a fitting home for the collection given its unique history with G. K. Chesterton: Rev. Hugh O'Donnell, C.S.C., then president of Notre Dame, invited Chesterton to be a guest lecturer for six weeks in the autumn of 1930. At the end of Chesterton's visit, Father O'Donnell conferred on Chesterton an honorary degree. In Maisie Ward's biography of Chesterton, she recounts his response to receiving Father O'Donnell's invitation to Notre Dame: "He was not certain where it was, but with a name like that, even if it were in the mountains of the moon, he should feel at home."

Rev. Jim Lies, C.S.C. ( , director for Catholic initiatives and outreach at the London Global Gateway said: "It is our sincere hope that Chesterton, and the many hearts and minds he has inspired, continue to feel at home at Our Lady's University here in London."
* * *
A date has not yet been set for the move, but we will update you with further news when we can. Until such a time as the Library is fully established in its new home, access to visitors will be very restricted. To check on the current status, any hopeful scholars or pilgrims should email the Trustees at We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.
We recently received a very generous donation from Dr Dale Ahlquist and Dr William Griffiths of three original drawings by Chesterton called "Ghosts of Beaconsfield" with caricatures of himself with Edmund Burke, Benjamin Disraeli, and Edmund Waller (a Beaconsfield MP of the Civil War and Restoration period, and a poet of some note).
"Burke rebukes the journalist who dabbles in philosophy"
"Disraeli derides the journalist who interferes in politics"
"Waller contemns the journalist who drops into poetry"

We were delighted to receive the following visitors over the course of the last six months :
* In November, Brady Stiller, a student from Notre Dame University, coming to the end of his stay at their London campus. He commented later "It felt as though we were in GKC's house…"
* In January, Koen and Lola Vandaele, accompanied by their daughter Mar. They are inhabitants of Beaconsfield.
* In February, John Paul Ferguson, another Notre Dame student from the London campus, who also visited Inklings sites in Oxford.
* In March, five Kennedy Scholars from Notre Dame (London), accompanied by Dr Charlotte Parkyn and Professor JoAnn DellaNeva. They visited the Ashmolean Museum and our Library, to view items which could form the basis of a short research exercise. Later, Dr Parkyn visited again with two colleagues, Joya Helmuth and Joy Byrne.
* Also in March, and in May, the Revd David Pickering, doctoral student at Worcester College, Oxford, continuing his research on Chesterton, Natural Theology, and Apologetics.
* In April, seven members of the Fairchild family, from Florida, USA, accompanied by the private guide they engaged to show them Oxford. On the family's behalf, Mr Vernon Fairchild made a generous donation to the Library.
* In May, six members of the Croatian Chesterton Club, led by their Chairman Mr Nikola Bolsec, on their annual pilgrimage to Chestertonian sites in England, in preparation for the Chesterton Festival n Zagreb on 14 June.
* Also in May, Ms Helena Guzic, doctoral student in Art History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and Mr Richard Jefferies of the Confraternity of St James, organizers of the Conference on Pilgrimage and the Senses in Oxford on 7 June.
* We expect in July 2019 Signorina Emanuela Manzi from the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome, a doctoral student on Chesterton's Theology, and member of the Italian Chesterton Society.

** Wider still and wider
The dynamic Croatian Chesterton Club (motto: In Coelo radicati) have invited Chestertonians to their second Chesterton Festival or "ChestFest" in Zagreb from 14 to 16 June 2019. Guided by their Chairman Mr Nikola Bolsec, six of them prepared for this with their customary pilgrimage to Chestertonian sites in Campden Hill, Notting Hill, Fleet Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, Beaconsfield, and Oxford (where they visited the Library and were entertained by Aidan Mackey.)

The ChestFest is organized by the Club together with the Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Science of Zagreb University and two Catholic media outlets, Laudato TV and JUR. Each day will include Holy Mass, including one Mass with a Chestertonian theme, held, as last year, in the Jesuit Basilica of the Sacred Heart. International speakers will include such practical Distributists as Marco Sermarini from Italy and John Kanu from Sierra Leone. Also joining the many Croatian speakers will be Joseph Pearce, Johannes Maria Schwarz, and Chesterton Library trustee William Griffiths (whose talk is entitled "Gilbert Chesterton: a Man Alive, Hearty – and Healthy?".) Aidan Mackey will be present in spirit, and in the form of the interview he gave to Richard Ingrams, filmed in the Chesterton Library and kindly made available by Notre Dame University (England).

The Club will continue its work of translating GKC's works into Croatian by launching new translations of St Thomas Aquinas and Heretics. Naturally, we expect much conviviality, in the form of a breakfast with classical music in a park, a "special Chestertonian lunch", a learned tour of historic Zagreb, and two sessions in a pub apparently called the Great Tolkien: once for a poetry competition, and once for playing the game of Gype (as described in GK's Autobiography). We look forward once again to enjoying the hospitality of the Bolsec family at their klet or cottage vineyard for a barbecue and drinking their white wine.

It may still be possible to obtain admission to the Festival on the website or by emailing
The American Chesterton Society is holding their 38th Annual Chesterton Conference in Kansas City, 1-3 August 2019, on the theme "The Future of the Family". With all-star speakers and legendary conviviality, this is not one to miss. Register now at

If you haven't been to their website ( in a while, you'll also find an updated look and fresh content, so do stop by for a gander.
Do you have Chesterton news or pictures?
If you would like us to share them next time, email us at

** Stay in touch


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