London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1908. First edition. Octavo (7 1/2 inches tall), original light-green cloth, top edge gilt, uncut. Tiny bookseller's ticket. Penciled presentation inscription to blank flyleaf, mild toning to spine and top front board, corners sharp, boards clean, gilt bright. A handsome copy. Item #753
"TRADITION MEANS GIVING VOTES TO THE MOST OBSCURE OF ALL CLASSES, OUR ANCESTORS. IT IS THE DEMOCRACY OF THE DEAD" First edition of G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy—a stirring affirmation of Christianity and an enduring landmark of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Both Heretics (1905) and Orthodoxy pre-date Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism: "Although famous as a Catholic apologist, Chesterton's formal conversion to Catholicism came only in 1922 when he was 48. 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). The book consists of nine sections: I. Introduction in Defense of Everything Else, II. The Maniac, III. The Suicide of Thought, IV. The Ethics of Elfland, V. The Flag of the World, VI. The Paradoxes of Christianity, VII. The Eternal Revolution, VIII. The Romance of Orthodoxy, IX. Authority and the Adventurer. The title-page states a 1909 publication but Orthodoxy was actually published on September 25, 1908 in an edition of 5310 copies. This copy bears a very early presentation inscription, dated "17.X.08" (October 17, 1908) on the front flyleaf. Sullivan. G.K. Chesterton: A Bibliography, 13A.