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Lepanto [Kindle Edition]

Dale Ahlquist
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Hilaire Belloc called “Lepanto” Chesterton’s greatest poem and the greatest poem of his generation. But not only have English classes neglected this masterpiece of rhyme and meter, History classes have neglected the story of the pivotal battle upon which the poem is based.

This book brings together the poem, the historical background of the famous battle, a riveting account of the battle itself, and a discussion of its historical consequences. The poem is fully annotated, and is supplemented with two interesting essays by Chesterton himself. Well-known Chesterton expert, Dale Ahlquist, has gathered together all the insightful commentaries and explanatory notes. Here is the story behind the modern conflict between Christianity and Islam, between Protestant and Catholic Europe, and the origin of the Feast of the Holy Rosary. A

Editorial Reviews


"A valuable reference book that is also a great read!" -- Therese Warmus, Literary Editor, Gilbert Magazine

About the Author

G.K. Chesterton was one of the most prolific and renowned literary writers of the 20th Century. Dale Ahlquist, author of G.K. Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense, is the President of the American Chesterton Society.

Product Details

  • File Size: 428 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1586170309
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (August 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002LDM8UY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,629 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, elegant poetry August 14, 2004
A few months after completing his semi-well known epic, "The Ballad of the White Horse", Chesterton undertook putting a different battle into poem; that battle was Lepanto.

Lepanto is an important sea battle that took place between European and Turkish forces in the 1600's. It is often remembered as an `almost' for the West, since if the Turkish forces had won, there was a good chance that Italy would have fallen under their influence as a result. Most likely, the reason why the Europeans won was because they were under the command of Austrian Don John, the illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor, and half brother to the King of Spain. But this is mostly told in the scholarly essays that are included in the book.

But that may the important thing to note: the poem which is this book's namesake....only takes up ten pages. The rest of its 124 pages are taken up by excellent essays by military, literary, and historical scholars. (A warning to Muslims and Protestants: While they are respectful in their stances, they are most certainly pro-Catholic, pro-West in their writing; much like Chesterton was. Don't be surprised if you get bashed a bit, as this Protestant reader was.)While they offer excellent insights into the poem, it's a little disappointing to find out you won't be reading Chesterton's excellent prose for much of the book, save for the poem and two essays of his.

But oh, what poetry it is. When it was released in 1911, Lepanto became a national epic in months. By WWI soldiers were writing him telling of how they would read his poem on the battlefield. Lepanto recounts the glory of Don John in an elegant, flowing manner.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing poem, good commentary March 9, 2006
I got this book expecting it to be an epic poem similar to Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse. I was very disappointed to find out that it was an 8 page poem with 100+ pages of commentary. I was not as disappointed after reading it. The poem was absolutely amazing. Chesterton used alliteration better in this poem than I have ever seen it used in any other poem anywhere, with lines like: "Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard" or "He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon." Chesterton also fills the poem with rich allegory and drama, as he recounts the epic battle of Lepanto between Christendom and the rising Muslim power. This battle, which the essays in this book elaborate on, was one of the most important battles ever fought in histry, as it determined who would dominate Europe: Christians or Muslims. At Lepanto, Christendom, led by Don John of Austria, defeated the Muslims in one of the greatest naval battles ever fought, effectively stopping the advancing Muslims from taking over Europe. Chesterton masterfully recounts this event, and the events leading up to it. He also describes the rulers of Christendom at the time (it was right after the Protestant Reformation) and their refusal to fight (only Don John of Austria took up the Pope's plea to battle the Muslims). A previous reviewer noted that Chesterton bashed Protestants and Muslims: this is true, but he also bashed some Catholic rulers as well, so he is not singling out Protestants. It is true that he is anti-Muslim, and a theme of the poem is the Christianity triumphs over Islam (he depicts well the deterministic fatalism of Islam).

The commentary is helpful as well, providing explanations of many of Chesterton's allegories, as well as explaining some of the obscure terms Chesterton uses.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for Our Times December 26, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book on Chesterton's Lepanto is full of interesting details surrounding the battle. The book is of special interest to Catholics because of its connection to a Marian feast still celebrated on the date of the famous battle and other tidbits. There is also a literary point of interest arising from the fact that Cervantes served with the Christian fleet and was wounded in the battle. The poem highlights a neglected but crucial event in the Western struggle with Islamic expansionism.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A short but powerful book September 19, 2006
By Essex
Lepanto is one of, if not the, finest poem in the English language. It is ignored in most schools. Yet few who read it are not immediately impressed. Chesterton is never obscure but there are some references which need to be explained. This book does that in 124 pleasant to read pages. If you have enjoyed Blake or similiar writers but struggled through the allusions (as I have) this is the perfect book for you. In less than an hour, you will know more about a great poem than the majority of those who have read it. The price is certainly right and it's a book you'll keep forever (if you don't give it away to friends).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Poem with great articles included. September 23, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chesterton's poem"Lepanto" is only about a half dozen pages long. However, if, like me, you are writing a paper on the battle of Lepanto this book has several great articles that cover both the battle and the historical circumstances that lead up to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief but important! May 26, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This text contains the very short but brilliant poem by G.K. Chesterton and many commentaries. It is worth the price because the poem is descriptive of a problem that plagues Christendom to this day. We need more Don Johns!
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