The Ball and the Cross

The Ball and the Cross I cannot understand the people who take literature seriously but I can love them and I do Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book It is a collection of crude and shapeless papers upon c

  • Title: The Ball and the Cross
  • Author: G.K. Chesterton
  • ISBN: 9780760783283
  • Page: 117
  • Format: Paperback
  • I cannot understand the people who take literature seriously but I can love them, and I do Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book It is a collection of crude and shapeless papers upon current or rather flying subjects and they must be published pretty much as they stand They were written, as a rule, at the last moment they were handed in the moment befI cannot understand the people who take literature seriously but I can love them, and I do Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book It is a collection of crude and shapeless papers upon current or rather flying subjects and they must be published pretty much as they stand They were written, as a rule, at the last moment they were handed in the moment before it was too late, and I do not think that our commonwealth would have been shaken to its foundations if they had been handed in the moment after They must go out now, with all their imperfections on their head, or rather on mine for their vices are too vital to be improved with a blue pencil, or with anything I can think of, except dynamite Their chief vice is that so many of them are very serious because I had no time to make them flippant It is so easy to be solemn it is so hard to be frivolous Let any honest reader shut his eyes for a few moments, and approaching the secret tribunal of his soul, ask himself whether he would really rather be asked in the next two hours to write the front page of the Times, which is full of long leading articles, or the front page of Tit Bits, which is full of short jokes If the reader is the fine conscientious fellow I take him for, he will at once reply that he would rather on the spur of the moment write ten Times articles than one Tit Bits joke.

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    One thought on “The Ball and the Cross”

    1. Chesterton’s novels almost stand in a genre of their own. Heavily philosophical, wildly allegorical, unapologetically adventurous, and comically surreal, it can be difficult even to describe them. And of them all, perhaps The Ball and the Cross is the most peculiar; which might be to say the worst, if you could even use a superlative negative in a sentence about Chesterton’s works. At least it does not operate on the same level of high genius as The Man Who Was Thursday. But what there is of [...]

    2. My second Chesterton work has awakened in me a most wonderful kind of rage. It is the rage that drives a fervent Catholic to hurl a rock through the window of an editorial office. It is the rage with which an atheist prints blasphemy and logical syllogisms. The rage by which both men take up swords time and again to defend their views.On the other hand, Chesterton's gentlemanly prose exudes forgiveness. Similarly to The Man Who Was Thursday, the author paints a picture of the cosmos's workings t [...]

    3. Utterly fantastic! I see now why all my Hillsdalians rave over Chesterton. I will certainly look for more of his works :) The Scandal in the Village chapter is perfect! 1. You cannot defeat the Cross, for it is defeat2. The difference between Jesus and Satan is that Jesus wanted to descend, and so rose, while Satan wanted to rise and so fell.

    4. Brilliant, but I got tired of the language. If a little language doesn't bother you, check out Chesterton.

    5. The Ball And the Cross is about two Scotchmen, an atheist and a Catholic, who, due to certain irreconcilable differences, decide to fight a duel to the death. Unfortunately dueling is against the law, so the two champions are forced to make a run for it across the English countryside, avoiding the authorities and various philosophical types that try to stop them, in search of a place where they can kill each other peacefully.It's a fun book, like most of Chesterton's fiction, and it's also profo [...]

    6. Another great book by G.K. Chesterton. The more I read of him, the more I'm a fan. Yes, I do think Chesterton is in the 'hate it or love it' category, and I think one must have a taste for his pretty peculiar way of writing, but if one does, all of his works are like draughts from a spring of fresh, clear water. This one is no exception, filled to the brim with his trademark paradoxes and witticisms, coupling an alagorical story with lively descriptions and characters that feel fully alive, marr [...]

    7. Another Sci-Fi story from Chesterton, however much easier to follow than The Man Who Was Thursday. A real duel with arms needs to take place between a Catholic and an atheist, they struggle to find the right place and so they become fugitives and comrades. Their adventures are both funny and witty and both of them start leaning towards his enemy.Chesterton again surprised me by being able (in such a short book) to portray two opposite characters in such a way that the reader feels sympathy for b [...]

    8. Bizarre but certainly entertaining and provocative. I'm a big fan of Chesterton with his rollicking plots and writing style and the question is why he is not more widely read today, albeit having a niche group of fans that apparently includes Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I had a glimmer of the answer in reading his collected Essays -- including one in which he defends the jury as opposed to the single judge system, in the spirit of democracy; his argument, to me, felt dated, although i empat [...]

    9. Written one year later, this novel is the counterpoint to "The man who was Thursday", which I read five times many years ago. On the other hand, I have just read once "The ball & the cross". Perhaps this is the reason why I gave five stars to the former, and only four to the latter.I am not disclosing anything if I say that the main antagonist in this novel represents the Devil, for from the beginning he is called Dr. Lucifer. The main characters are one atheist and a Catholic who pass the w [...]

    10. This is the first work of fiction by Chesterton I've read. It's a fine book. Elegant and witty writing prevails throughout. Chesterton, a devout Catholic, makes the atheist the most lovable character. It's funny. It's funny like Twain and Wodehouse are funny. It's also deep at times, often at the same time that it's being funny. This book may not be for everyone. Some will find it too philosophical. Some will say that Chesterton is engaging in straw man arguments, that he does a poor job present [...]

    11. Many reviewers have called this entire novel a confusing allegory, and even Chesterton himself confessed in later years that he was a bit confused by it. Nevertheless, the story of an atheist and an orthodox Roman Catholic trying to fight a duel over faith, despite continual police intervention, is amusing and interesting. Duels were decidedly uncouth in Edwardian England, as indeed was any public discussion of religion. Religion was a private matter, after all. The climax is a bit more puzzling [...]

    12. Probably the best of Chesterton's fiction that I have read. I think this book may be better than The Man Who Was Thursday. The society outlined in this book looks eerily like our own. The whole world has gone insane, yet it has placed the sane in the asylum. Chesterton does justice to the fact that there can be friendship between disagreeing parties, and this friendship can do more than all the battles to soften hearts and make them receptive to the grace of God.

    13. I purchased the Dover edition, which contains a fantastic foreword by Martin Gardner. Said foreword is worth the price of the book – a pittance at $7.95. The text itself is worth twenty times more. TBATC was purportedly inspired by Chesterton’s debates with (deservedly) forgotten R.P.G. Blatchford. (I doubt even Gardner -- who refers to ciphers and numerology in his foreword-- caught the "woo-woo" significance of Blatchford’s initials: Blatchford, like the Soviets, whose B-40/RPG-7 became [...]

    14. This is a book whose premise, and beginning, you need to be Roman Catholic in order to fully appreciate. Since I'm Protestant, I was befuddled.In the beginning, the Catholic premise begins after a seemingly irrelevant chapter about an airship designed and flown by a mad scientist. Turnbull, a smug atheist newspaper publisher in London, has apparently published an article insulting the Virgin Mary. MacIan, a militant traditionalist Catholic man from Scotland, reads it and smashes the publisher's [...]

    15. This book is not about the everyday world. It has little in common with the modern novels I am used to. It is not interested in exploring the nuances of introspection and social interaction. It seemed to me to be more like a farce with characters running around implausibly, saying witty, profound things. It also felt at times like a morality play with characters declaring their views on the state of the universe and of each other.In the end, it is its own sort of book, a book obsessed not with " [...]

    16. The Ball and the Cross é a transposição para a ficção dos temas abordados em Hereges e, especialmente, em Ortodoxia. A esfera é o símbolo do racionalismo, uma forma perfeita, mas que possui limites que não consegue superar; a cruz, por outro lado, aponta em todas as direções e simboliza a abertura para o mistério. O livro se divide em duas partes. Na primeira, o racionalista ateu Turnbull e o católico MacIan tentam, sem sucesso, duelar até a morte pela existência de Deus. Na segund [...]

    17. I just finished rereading The Ball and The Cross. It's not a very good novel--Chesterton himself did not like how it turned out--but I enjoyed it--it was at least a good idea for a story, and expresses, if poorly, some very fun and interesting ideas. I also reread Martin Gardner's introduction to the book and thought it was not very good. Contrary to what he says, the novel isn't really about the conflict between the Catholic and the atheist--it's about what brings them together--that specifical [...]

    18. November 1, 2016A Review by Anthony T. Riggio of the Book "The Ball and the Cross" by G.K. ChestertonI purchased this (free) book in Kindle format from . I have heard a lot about Chesterton and his religious/philosophical views and was curious about his writing style. This book, The Ball and the Cross is an allegorical story showing the conflicts between good and evil and uses the relationship that develop a philosophical distain for one another's beliefs or lack thereof. The believer challenges [...]

    19. Sometimes Chesterton just gets a little too nuts for me. The premise of the novel - the conflict between the "ball" (the world/atheistic science) and the cross (Catholicism) - opened well, and being a very hotheaded Catholic myself, I sympathized deeply with Evan MacIan from the moment he was introduced. But when the lunatic asylum came around I began to be very, very lost. I kept waiting for the big reveal, the explanation to all the ruckus, but when it came it wasn't quite as explanatory as I [...]

    20. Delightful and thought provoking as ever. Highly recommended. However, I think it is best appreciated when there is a familiarity with some of Chesterton's other works in general and ORTHODOXY in particular. I saw many ideas and settings from ORTHODOXY which actually took place in this book. Insane asylums, the men who discover England, what things are worth fighting for, believing in oneself all shared by both ORTHODOXY and THE BALL AND THE CROSS. They really need to be read together.Someone el [...]

    21. I love this book. The fight between a christian and an atheist because they both seek the truth, and that only. Also a story of friendship and love, with so many philosophical and theological allegories

    22. Can't get enough Chesterton lately. This book was excellent. Compelling characters, fascinating dialogue, all within a crazy, unpredictable adventure. Nowhere near the level of The Man Who Was Friday, but still great.

    23. The opening chapter establishes the premise of two antagonists--the cross and the world. The two concluding chapters bring the story together of this conflict depicted in two men who represent the church with its excesses and materialism with its emptiness. Chesterton possesses quite the wit.

    24. A funny, farcical story about a Christian and an atheist who keep trying to fight a duel, but are constantly waylaid.Read for Dr. Wood's Oxford Christians course at Baylor (Fall 2014).

    25. The book started off being very interesting, and made several great points on the atheism/Catholicism debate; but then it just nose dived into absurdity at the end.

    26. En líneas generales es un libro algo denso me lo prestaron y se me hizo muuuuy leeeeeeeenta la lectura. Aunque debo reconocer que el tipo escribía de forma muy aguda, con muchas paradojas, para removerte un poco el bocho. Quizás algo del vocabulario de su tiempo me aburrió un poco e hizo la lectura pesada.Pero si vamos a desglosar un poco el libro, diría que fue algo así:El hombre que fue jueves: 3/5 Siento que debería leerlo al menos 2 veces más para entenderlo. Es mucho más profundo d [...]

    27. One of Chesterton's most distinct novels, "The Ball and the Cross" is also perhaps his most uneven. There are some briefly incredible sequences and Professor Lucifer is probably Chesterton's best character, a uniquely presented take on his namesake. However, on the whole, the book is weak. Most of its themes and concepts are covered much more eloquently in "Orthodoxy," and the execution of its interesting premise falters often. The book doesn't quite function as an allegory yet clearly isn't mea [...]

    28. Having read and enjoyed "The Man Who Was Thursday," and having discovered this book thanks to my devotion to (now) Venerable John Paul I, who comments on it in his Illustrissimi (which I highly recommend), I thought I would give it a read.I didn't know what to expect, except that Chesterton is a master of words and his allegory is often confusing. I greatly enjoyed the roller coaster that was this book, just as I enjoyed "The Man Who Was Thursday." The journey is long and often puzzling, seeming [...]

    29. I'll admit this was a hard read at times. In part this was due to the age of the writing, being published in 1909, but also because it involves two characters running through some very contrived and more and more ridiculous scenarios trying to carry off a duel sparked by a core difference in religious beliefs.James Turnbull (the atheist) and Evan MacIan (the Catholic) have a running (literally in some cases) debate about religion and science and the debate between them. There are some good jabs [...]

    30. "We *must* fight this thing out somewhere; because, as you truly say, we have found each other's reality. We *must* kill each other - or convert each other. I used to think all Christians were hypocrites, and I felt quite mildly towards them really. But I know you are sincere - and my soul is mad against you. In the same way you used, I suppose, that all atheists thought atheism would leave them free for immorality - and yet in your heart you tolerated them entirely. Now you *know* that I am an [...]

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