G.K. Chesterton’s Literary Influence on George Orwell

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Luke Seaber is the first author to study the influence of G.K. Chesterton on George Orwell. The book analyzes how Chesteron influenced Orwell’s novels and how Orwell misrepresented Chesterton because he was embarrassed by this fact. Seaber takes the Orwell-Chesterton relationship one step further by looking at the similarities found within each author’s use political language, war-time propaganda, and the symbolism of Dickens. Seaber juxtaposes Orwell and Chesterton’s literary technique to show where both men differed in their world view. Original and thorough, this book will appeal to hose interested in Orwell and Chesterton alike.


“Seaber’s exhaustive examination of the prodigious mass of the available works of his two subjects is based on close reading of literally thousands of pages: books, articles, letters, many of which have hitherto received scant attention. For future scholarship, this is an impressive volume, essential to a full understanding of two of the 20th century’s most notable literary figures.” -- Prof. R A Henderson, University of Turin

“… a depth of analysis that suggests that not only will this work [be] the first to focus on the question, but it will remain the key work on the relationship between two of [the] twentieth-century English literature’s most interesting and pleasing figures.” – Prof. Paolo Bertinetti, Università Degli Studi di Torino

".. is one of the more inventive comparative studies to have emerged in recent years, Seaber painstakingly draws out Orwell's unacknowledged debts to Chesterton, a literary forebear who influence Orwell sought to scrupulously to efface from his work." -Modern Literature

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: A Critical Examination of Orwell’s References to Chesterton

Chapter 2: Father Brown in 1984: Chestertonian Presences in the Novels of Orwell

Chapter 3: ‘Who Is to Be Master?’: Use and Misuse of Public Language

Chapter 4: ‘All Propaganda Is Lies’: A Comparison of the Wartime Propaganda of Chesterton and Orwell

Chapter 5: The Centrality of Politics: Nationalism, Distributism and the Symbolic Figure of Dickens

Chapter 6: ‘The Past Is a Foreign Country’: Postcolonial, Imperial and Historical Alterity




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