The Ball and the Cross

G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

The Ball and the Cross is G. K. Chesterton's third novel. In the introduction Martin Gardner notes that it is a "mixture of fantasy, farce and theology." Gardner continues: "Evan MacIan is a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed Scottish Highlander and a devout Roman Catholic.... James Turnbull is a short, red-haired, gray-eyed Scottish Lowlander and a devout but naive atheist.... The two meet when MacIan smashes the window of the street office where Turnbull publishes an atheist journal. This act of rage occurs when MacIan sees posted on the shop's window a sheet that blasphemes the Virgin Mary, presumably implying she was an adulteress who gave birth to an illegitimate Jesus. When MacIan challenges Turnbull to a duel to the death, Turnbull is overjoyed. For twenty years no one had paid the slightest attention to his Bible bashing. Now at last someone is taking him seriously! Most of the rest of the story is a series of comic events in which the two enemies wander about seeking a spot for their duel." MacIan and Turnbull become friends as they protect each other from interference from the modern world, which has trivialized their views over life's most important question (the existence of God) and outlawed their honorable duel. The irony is heightened when they both fall in love with ladies who happen to hold to their opponent's deepest convictions. Professor Lucifer and a Bulgarian monk also play important roles in this perennially relevant story. (Summary by Matthew Heckel)

Genre(s): Fantastic Fiction, Religious Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - A Discussion Somewhat in the Air Matthew C. Heckel
Play 02 02 - The Religion of the Stipendiary Magistrate Matthew C. Heckel
Play 03 03 - Some Old Curiosities Matthew C. Heckel
Play 04 04 - A Discussion at Dawn TriciaG
Play 05 05 - The Peacemaker TriciaG
Play 06 06 - The Other Philosopher TriciaG
Play 07 07 - The Village of Grassley-in-the-Hole TriciaG
Play 08 08 - An Interlude of Argument TriciaG
Play 09 09 - The Strange Lady TriciaG
Play 10 10 - The Swords Rejoined TriciaG
Play 11 11 - A Scandal in the Village TriciaG
Play 12 12 - The Desert Island TriciaG
Play 13 13 - The Garden of Peace TriciaG
Play 14 14 - A Museum of Souls TriciaG
Play 15 15 - The Dream of MacIan TriciaG
Play 16 16 - The Dream of Turnbull TriciaG
Play 17 17 - The Idiot TriciaG
Play 18 18 - A Riddle of Faces TriciaG
Play 19 19 - The Last Parley TriciaG
Play 20 20 - Dies Irae TriciaG