London: The Bodley Head, 1960. Later edition. Twelvemo. (7 1/2 inches tall), original green cloth, original dust jacket. Very faint toning to edges and spine of the dust jacket. A crisp and clean copy. Item #518
Bodley Head edition of Gilbert Keith Chesterton's early classic, part of the publisher's smart series of uniform Chesterton reprints. Heretics predates the advent of its eventual companion volume, Orthodoxy. The book collects eighteen essays, forming a bridge of sorts for Chesterton, a transition from his earliest biographical writings into the realm of apologetics. Heretics and Orthodoxy are marked by Chesterton's increasing skill in the deployment of dazzling paradoxes in defense of the truths inherent in Tradition, revealing the shallowness of the relativism of modern life. "This literary brilliance, attached to an orthodox Christian view of God, man, and the world, surrounded a unique note in twentieth-century literature. And no Christian apologist—with the possible exception of C.S. Lewis—came close to matching it." (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century).
The book opens with “Introductory Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy” and closes with “Concluding Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy.” Chesterton’s heretics included contemporary and near-contemporary luminaries such as Kipling, Shaw, Wells and Whistler and their embrace of relativism, materialism, and skepticism. "Although famous as a Catholic apologist, Chesterton's formal conversion to Catholicism came only in 1922 when he was forty-eight. But he had been traveling in this direction for many years. One of his most famous books, Orthodoxy, a defense of traditional Christianity, was published in 1908. The book was inspired by the remark of a reader of his previous book, Heretics, who challenged him to state the standpoint from which he dismissed the views of everyone else. So he had set out to define his own religion, only to realize that a definition already existed in the creeds of Christianity." (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). First published in June 1905 by John Lane/Bodley Head, the eventual publisher of Orthodoxy. The back panel of the dust jacket advertises uniform editions of Orthodoxy, George Bernard Shaw, and The Napoleon of Notting Hill. John Sullivan, G.K. Chesterton: A Bibliography, 9.