2011 Reprint of 1910 Edition. An allegory in fictional form, based on the theory that religious unbelief is a form of madness and showing the practical application of the theories of faith and rationalism set forth in the author's "Heretics" and "Orthodoxy". In the age of materialism in which Chesterton wrote he attempted to write about the conflict between rationalism and religion - between the Ball and the Cross--and to make that ancient quarrel important again. He has written for our times the adventures of two men who want to fight a duel over God and the Virgin Mary. The world thinks them both mad, of course, because they seem to be serious, and the novel ends by shutting up in a lunatic asylum all the people who are sane enough to care one way or another about their quarrel. The book is exciting. As Mr. Chesterton might have said, you begin to wonder if the fact that modern people aren't interested in theology isn't due to the fact that modern theologians aren't interesting. The novel is a shattering answer to the lukewarm, a trumpet call to sturdiness of faith among dogmatists and skeptics. Read it and you will feel the exhilaration of conviction. You will learn, perhaps, the joy of real opposition in which, if you hate, you must at the same time respect. The only thing you will no longer be able to respect is the listless, torpid dullness of the indifferent.
Chesterton G. K.