I’ve been slacking off on posting Chesterton quotes over the past couple weeks, partially because I’m doing the thirty-day book project, but mostly because slacking off is what I do best. To atone for it, I here offer the first paragraph of Chesterton’s Introduction to What is Wrong with the World, which was my entry in day 26 of the project.
To C. F G. Masterman, M. P.
My Dear Charles,
I originally called this book “What is Wrong,” and it would have satisfied your sardonic temper to note the number of social misunderstandings that arose from the use of the title. Many a mild lady visitor opened her eyes when I remarked casually, “I have been doing ‘What is Wrong’ all this morning.” And one minister of religion moved quite sharply in his chair when I told him (as he understood it) that I had to run upstairs and do what was wrong, but should be down again in a minute. Exactly of what occult vice they silently accused me I cannot conjecture, but I know of what I accuse myself; and that is, of having written a very shapeless and inadequate book, and one quite unworthy to be dedicated to you. As far as literature goes, this book is what is wrong and no mistake.