'Nearer to the roots of things': nature in the ideological imagination of G.K. Chesterton

Susan Byers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

[Truncated abstract] This thesis investigates the role of nature in the political and historical imagination of writer and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Chersterton's attitude towards the natural world, expressed in both his fiction and non-fiction, inflected his thinking about economics, national odentity and the role of science and reason in the modern world. Thsi thesis employs the tools of intellectual history to interrogate existing historiography and to explore previously uncharted aspects of Chesterton's work, in particular, the role of 'nature' in his attempted conciliation between free will and determinism. He believed that nature and landsscape influenced human character but denied that geography could be wholly determinative, arguing that it was heresy to cede one's authority to the 'laws of nature'. He believed that modern thinkers were particularly susceptible to bowing before nature through the application of nature's laws to human society. From the style of nationalism that allowed blood to rule distiny to the scientism that established immutable laws to govern human society, everywhere Chesterton looked he saw biology becoming the master of society.
LanguageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Nature
Laws of Nature
Authority
Thinkers
Historical Imagination
Non-fiction
Determinism
Historiography
Apologists
Modernity
Scientism
Nationalism
Blood
Political Imagination
Natural World
Writer
Intellectual History
Determinatives
Free Will
Economics

Cite this

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title = "'Nearer to the roots of things': nature in the ideological imagination of G.K. Chesterton",
abstract = "[Truncated abstract] This thesis investigates the role of nature in the political and historical imagination of writer and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Chersterton's attitude towards the natural world, expressed in both his fiction and non-fiction, inflected his thinking about economics, national odentity and the role of science and reason in the modern world. Thsi thesis employs the tools of intellectual history to interrogate existing historiography and to explore previously uncharted aspects of Chesterton's work, in particular, the role of 'nature' in his attempted conciliation between free will and determinism. He believed that nature and landsscape influenced human character but denied that geography could be wholly determinative, arguing that it was heresy to cede one's authority to the 'laws of nature'. He believed that modern thinkers were particularly susceptible to bowing before nature through the application of nature's laws to human society. From the style of nationalism that allowed blood to rule distiny to the scientism that established immutable laws to govern human society, everywhere Chesterton looked he saw biology becoming the master of society.",
keywords = "G.K. Chesterton, Modernity, Catholicism, British history, Radiacl right, 20th century, Political ecology, History of nature",
author = "Susan Byers",
year = "2014",
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'Nearer to the roots of things': nature in the ideological imagination of G.K. Chesterton. / Byers, Susan.

2014.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

TY - THES

T1 - 'Nearer to the roots of things': nature in the ideological imagination of G.K. Chesterton

AU - Byers,Susan

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - [Truncated abstract] This thesis investigates the role of nature in the political and historical imagination of writer and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Chersterton's attitude towards the natural world, expressed in both his fiction and non-fiction, inflected his thinking about economics, national odentity and the role of science and reason in the modern world. Thsi thesis employs the tools of intellectual history to interrogate existing historiography and to explore previously uncharted aspects of Chesterton's work, in particular, the role of 'nature' in his attempted conciliation between free will and determinism. He believed that nature and landsscape influenced human character but denied that geography could be wholly determinative, arguing that it was heresy to cede one's authority to the 'laws of nature'. He believed that modern thinkers were particularly susceptible to bowing before nature through the application of nature's laws to human society. From the style of nationalism that allowed blood to rule distiny to the scientism that established immutable laws to govern human society, everywhere Chesterton looked he saw biology becoming the master of society.

AB - [Truncated abstract] This thesis investigates the role of nature in the political and historical imagination of writer and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Chersterton's attitude towards the natural world, expressed in both his fiction and non-fiction, inflected his thinking about economics, national odentity and the role of science and reason in the modern world. Thsi thesis employs the tools of intellectual history to interrogate existing historiography and to explore previously uncharted aspects of Chesterton's work, in particular, the role of 'nature' in his attempted conciliation between free will and determinism. He believed that nature and landsscape influenced human character but denied that geography could be wholly determinative, arguing that it was heresy to cede one's authority to the 'laws of nature'. He believed that modern thinkers were particularly susceptible to bowing before nature through the application of nature's laws to human society. From the style of nationalism that allowed blood to rule distiny to the scientism that established immutable laws to govern human society, everywhere Chesterton looked he saw biology becoming the master of society.

KW - G.K. Chesterton

KW - Modernity

KW - Catholicism

KW - British history

KW - Radiacl right

KW - 20th century

KW - Political ecology

KW - History of nature

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -