London: Hodder and Stoughton, . Early edition. 12mo., original patterned red cloth, original dust jacket. Near-fine book with early owner signature, whisper of tanning to front flyleaf, front jacket flap torn with loss, spine faded, slight edge-wear. Very good indeed. Item #674
"HIS FIGURE STANDS ON A SORT OF BRIDGE CONNECTING MY BOYHOOD WITH MY CONVERSION TO MANY OTHER THINGS" Early edition of Chesterton's popular life of Francis of Assisi, "the most lovable of all the saints." Chesterton begins with "The Problem of St. Francis," outlining the three possible paths for a biography and it soon becomes apparent that St. Francis is one of the most biographical of Chesterton's Lives. "His book on St. Francis," says Dale Ahlquist, "is unlike any of his other biographies. There are many more facts. The narrative is quite straightforward and highly dramatic. The analysis is supportive rather than overwhelming. Chesterton’s other biographies are really overwhelmed by Chesterton (which, in most cases, is what we would prefer); this one, however, is rightly filled to overflowing by the great saint of Assisi. Chesterton not only gets St. Francis to speak for himself, he does it in the way the little friar would have preferred: by conveying not his words, but his life. Chesterton describes St. Francis as 'a poet whose whole life was a poem.'" First published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1923 and printed here as part of a series that also included St. Thomas Aquinas and The Everlasting Man (both advertised on the back panel of the dust jacket). "This is the first real book written after Chesterton’s reception into the Catholic Church. Yet, we cannot sense much transition in Chesterton’s writing. One reason is that his conversion was the culmination of a long steady process in which he never really changed his way of thinking. It was more of a full flowering of all the ideas he had in him. There is another reason, and it has to do with St. Francis. Chesterton had always admired this saint. Francis, he says, had 'never been a stranger' to him and was like a bridge connecting Chesterton’s early literary life with the later" (Dale Ahlquist).