Joseph Pearce has an excellent article over at Imaginative Conservative that summarizes the influence of G.K.Chesterton on C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien
t is difficult to overstate the influence of G.K. Chesterton. Apart from the numerous converts who have come to Christianity, at least in part, because of an encounter with his writings, two of the bestselling books of all time were written, at least in part, under Chesterton’s benign patronage. The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, both of which are in the top ten bestselling books of all time, were written by authors who cited Chesterton as a major influence.
J.R.R. Tolkien grew up, as a young and devout Catholic in Edwardian England, in the shadow of the wings of Chesterton’s flights of fancy. In his celebrated essay “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien cites “Chestertonian Fantasy” as a powerful “means of recovery,” which he defined as a “return and renewal of health” and as a “regaining of a clear view” of reality, of “seeing things as we are…meant to see them.”
C.S. Lewis had first read Chesterton in a field hospital in France during World War One and was surprised by the joy that Chesterton exuded in his essays. In spite of the fact that Lewis was an atheist at the time, he couldn’t help liking Chesterton’s jollity, his sense of humour, and his rumbustious joie de vivre. Chesterton had more common sense than all the moderns put together, the young atheist believed, except of course for his Christianity. A few years later, after reading Chesterton’s classic work, The Everlasting Man, Lewis perceived the whole Christian outline of history laid out before him for the first time in a way that made sense. This revelation proved to be a significant pointer on Lewis’s own path to conversion.
Go here to read the whole article