Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyLight Verse and Strong Opinions: A Hilaire Belloc Reading Guide

  • Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:00:00    Permalink
    Light Verse and Strong Opinions: A Hilaire Belloc Reading Guide

    “When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.” –Hilaire Belloc

    Hilaire Belloc stands as one of the most controversial men in Anglophone letters. While the French-born poet, essayist, historian, and one-time Minister of Parliament boasted more fame and influence than almost any other Edwardian writers, he was, as George Bernard Shaw described him, a champion of lost causes (for what it’s worth, Shaw also referred to Belloc and his frequent collaborator G.K. Chesterton, collectively as “the Chesterbelloc”). As such, his critical and historical writings take the form of bellicose Catholic apologism and radical distributist political tracts. On the other hand, W.H Auden was a huge fan of his poetry, remarking, "as a writer of Light Verse, (Belloc) has few equals and no superiors." He is undoubtedly a writer who contains multitudes, and as such his corpus is huge and varied.

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