ROOTS AND BRANCHES: THE SYMBOL OF THE TREE IN THE IMAGINATION OF G.K. CHESTERTON
Roots and Branches traces the image of the tree in the fiction of G.K. Chesterton, interpreting the underlying message of his religious convictions through biography and literary analysis. This book introduces the unitiated to a classic British author, allows students of G.K. Chesterton to mine his enigmatic work for metaphysical connotation, and encourages current-day writers to build symbolism into their own stories.
There are few intellectual exercises more rewarding than the close reading of a Chesterton text. And too few critics have made the effort. Along with most exercise, it is avoided. Perhaps they are intimidated to offer a critical analysis of a writer who is himself a master literary critic. But Deb Elkink has risen to the challenge. She has not only gone very deep, she has gone deep on one theme in Chesterton, which illuminates the rest of his writing. The branches of the tree cover a wide area indeed. But she has also plunged into one particular text: Chesterton's rollicking tale, The Flying Inn. With her essay, "The Seven Moods of Gilbert," she has presented a more penetrating analysis of this novel than has ever been written.— Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Association
I warmly recommend Deb Elkink's excellent study. It is particularly admirable in giving Chesterton that close reading of his imagery (in this case that of the tree) and in convincingly linking particular aesthetic effects (a somewhat overlooked area in Chesterton studies) to a convincing grasp of their religious meaning. This is a valuable exploration which fills a need in accounts of the subject.— John Coates
ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS
"I had often heard great quotes of the prolific journalist and theologian G.K. Chesterton (GKC) but knew little of his fiction. However, I am a sucker for symbolism and paradox, so my interest was tweaked when I was introduced to Deb Elkink's book. I also noticed that respected scholars were praising Elkink's work (including Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society) and that she is an award-winning author, so I became even more interested . . .I found Elkink's book was a great way to be introduced to this literary giant's life and fiction!"— Lori Harder, artist and teacher
"Most of the analysis on G. K. Chesterton's work has focused on his non-fiction books, predominantly Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. . . Elkink demonstrates, through careful, thoughtful and thorough research, how the symbolic use of the tree took root in short stories Chesterton wrote as a youth, grew in use in his early novels and matured in his later works...Roots and Branches provides an insightful and informative look at a prolific and often paradoxical writer. Both fans of Chesterton and those who know little about him will be well-served by Elkink's analysis."— Robert White, Arts Connection