Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Alex Beam of the Globe gives over a column to Chesterton and Gilbert! magazine here

But the magazine, which comes out eight times a year, is thriving. Gilbert!'s subscriber base has doubled in the past few years, although {editor} Scheske isn't exactly certain what it is. ''It's purposeful ignorance on my part,'' he explains. ''Everyone knows we're small; they just don't know how small. We're a little sensitive about it.'' (It's well under 5,000.)

I couldn't help but notice a certain frumpiness in Gilbert! Could it be the quirky advertisements - ''Cooking with the Saints'' - or the movie reviews of films released years ago? There's also the versification feature, ''Clerihew Corner,'' and the inspired ''Chesterton's Mailbag,'' in which the deceased author ''answers'' reader mail. What about this review of J. M. Barrie's ''Peter Pan,'' first published in 1911? ''That was partly my idea,'' Scheske says. ''I thought it'd be neat to do book reviews of classics people hadn't read. You want to know what we're about? We're about doing what no one else does.''

That is admirable, so long as too many people don't follow suit. But frumpy? ''I reject that label,'' Scheske says. '' Belloc - that was one frumpy dude. But not Chesterton. I always compare him to the Rolling Stones; he's an acquired taste. And I'm a big Stones fan, by the way.''

Gilbert!'s website

The American Chesterton Society

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