The Flying Inn

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, English journalist and author, was born in Kensington on May 29 in the year 1874. He was educated at St. Paul's school, where, at an unusually early age, he gained the Milton prize for English verse. He left school in 1891 with the idea of studying art. But though he early developed, and indeed retained, a talent for draftsmanship of a very distinctive kind, his natural bent was literary, and he went through the usual apprenticeship of free-lance journalism, occasional reviewing and work in a publisher's office.

In 1901 he married France Blogg. In 1900, after having produced a volume of poems, The Wild Knight, which led good critics to expect great things of him as a poet, he became a regular contributor of signed articles to The Speaker and the Daily News. Between 1901 and 1929 he produced a quantity of works like The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) or The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904). During the same period Chesterton wrote a lot of verse, some good, some bad - none of it indifferent. At its best it is very good indeed. A well-known English critic once observed of his light verse that, whereas there had been many in all ages who could write comic verse, Chesterton was one of the very few who could write comic poetry. The compliment was deserved. His more serious verse has been held to give him rank as the last of a great rhetorical poets. Like all rhetorical poets he is sometimes tinselly, but his best poems show what rhetorical can be at it best. Of these are Lepanto (1911) and A Song of the Wheels written during the railway strike of 1911.

If a prediction may be ventured, Chesterton will be remembered longest by his poems and his work in literary critics. Many will regret that he tried his hand so little at playwriting and spent so much time on polemical journalism. Nearly all will deplore the volume of his output. None will question the reality of his achievement at its highest, or the strength and purity of his influence. He died in Beaconsfield near London on June 14 in the year 1936.

Plot synopsis: The grotesque events are released by Lord Philip Ivywood, who wants to close all inns in England. Patrick Dalroy, an Irishman, and his friend Humphrey Pump, who has lost his inn, which has been called "The Flying Inn" are the antagonists of Philip Ivywood. But before the house has been destroyed by subjects of the Lord, Dalroy and Pump are able to escape with a keg of rum, a loaf of cheese and with the old sign of the inn, which is very important because you will be allowed to sell alcohol if you have a sign. But Lord Ivywood is angry because these two men will destroy his plans. So Dalroy and Pump wander around and sometimes they sell some rum. After a short time Dalroy buys a donkey and a cart. In the evening the two men reach an old tunnel under the land of the Lord. In this night the Lord, some of his subjects, the police and the two men go for each other. Dalroy and Pump can escape and Lord Ivywood is hurt badly by a round of shot from Pump's shotgun. Now the Lord is very angry and so he tries to change the law about alcohol. Meanwhile Pump and Dalroy "rent" a car which belongs to Dorian Wimpole and drive to a little town called "Town of Peace". This village belongs to a very rich man, whose name is Dr. Wiesen, also a friend of Lord Ivywood. Although a new law is created it is impossible to imprison the two men. Now Dalroy finds out the secret of Krug's chemist's shops. Krug is selling alcohol but only for the rich person like Mr. Levyson, Philip Ivywood's secretary. So the two men and a lot of other people from Pebblewick ...... (I can't betray the end of this story because the story will lose tension if I do so.)

Main Characters:

Lord Philip Ivywood: He is the dark person of this story. His skin is very pale and he isn't really a very good looking man. He is also a very strange fan of the Islam. The Islam is against alcohol so it isn't surprising that the Lord will close all inns in England. He is the most grotesque figure in this novel. He has a lot of subjects like his secretary Mr. Levyson, or his adviser Misysra Ammon, who is a very fanatic Islamist and who delivers a lot of speeches in the name of Lord Ivywood. Mr. Evyson and the journalist Hibbs Indessen are the right hand of the Lord, who always needs a lot of person for the confirmation for something he wants to do. So Ivywood isn't a man of his own decisions which don't make him really to a person on a high social level. He never shows any kind of feelings, so the lord is a very cold person.

Patrick Dalroy: He is an Irishman and he has been in the army until he was offended by a general. So Dalroy does not like the English except his friend Pump and a young lady called Joan Brett. He is the hero of this story, because he is a very good looking young man. He is very tall and incredibly strong and hard. He never shows any feelings either, but he isn't such a cold and unscrupulous person like Lord Ivywood. He is a very clever man and he loves animals. Dalroy is the opponent of Lord Ivywood and so he is also the opposite in appearance and in character. He has fantastic red hair, which looks like a fire, and strange blue eyes. He is in love with Lady Joan Brett, but this woman is a member of Ivywood's harem. Sometimes he gets very angry and aggressive and then it is hard for him to keep a cool head.

Humphry Pump: He is the best friend a Dalroy and I think he is the only person who can really understand Patrick. He is the owner of the inn, which has been closed by the Lord. So he is a victim, like hundreds other, of the new laws and of the Islam. He does not really like the Islam but he doesn't hate it either. He isn't such a good looking guy like Dalroy and he isn't an Irishman, but he is a very fine and clever Englishman. He isn't in love with somebody, he only loves his inn and the alcohol. But he isn't a man who drink too much, so he always has a cool head. Pump is a very interesting person in this story but it is very hard to understand the character of him. Although Pump isn't the hero, he as a very important figure of this novel.

Jaon Brett: She is the female main character. She has a good looking and she is the contact between Lord Ivywood and Patrick Dalroy. So you can say that Lady Brett is a kind of pivot in this novel because the story begin with her and end with her. She doesn't really like the Islam, but she has begun to hate the Islam since she has understood that she is living in a harem.

Interpretation: Chesterton is well known for his critics so it is not surprising that this novel is a political satire on the one side and a burlesque on the other. This story is one of lots fantasy novels, which express, on an outrély way, Chesterton's opinion about the political, social and religious developments in the beginning of the 20thcentury.

The book has been published in a time, as a very witty discussion between Chesterton and his friend Hilaire Belloc about the "Progressives" cause a stir. Like everytime Chesterton use every opportunity to let out his displeasure about a very restless time, which destroy and smash the tradition and which pay tribute to a dangerous individualism. However he does this mainly with a humorous and optimistic tone. But this novel which was called "sociological political allegory" is depressed by Chesterton's inclinations to overemphasise and to exaggerate his stories.

The novel "The Flying Inn" is mainly about the Islam and it is also about new things like cars. There is Lord called Philip Ivywood who wants to close all inns because he is a fanatic Islamist. But the story shows that the Lord is a very weak person and that he is not able to administer his land. He always need advisers for a confirmation. So I think this is one of the first problems in this novel. An other, I think this is the most important theme, is the problem with the right religion. Lord Ivywood is obsessed by the opinion to convert the whole England to the Islam. He has a lot of subjects and each of them are obsessed too. Misysra Ammon is one of the best friends of the Lord, but it is not surprising if you know that he is a preacher of the Islam and that he is mainly the adviser of Philip Ivywood. It looks like that Ammon is influencing Lord Ivywood because Philip is an Englishman and I don not believe that an English can have such ideas. On the other side there is Patrick Dalroy and his friend Humphry Pump who fight a battle against the Lord and his laws. This fight is hardly to win but Dalroy and Pump have won the fight because Lord Ivywood allows Krug to sell alcohol. Dalroy opens the secret and so the Lord has lost and has to fear for his life. There is also a little love theme between Jaon Brett, the niece of the Lord, and Patrick Dalroy. It is very hard to describe this theme because you nearly have no indications for it, except a little passage on the end.

To sum up the story is very interesting and easy to read because the language of Chesterton is rather modern.

Personal comment: I do not love this book but I think that it is very interesting although some passage are very boring. For example the first chapter is not so good that I can say I'm thrilled. This is so because Misysra Ammon delivers a speech on the beech. He is talking about the names of the English inns. He has the opinion that all inns, without any exception, have not an English name, they have only an oriental name. He says also that inns would not build to sell Christian alcoholic drinks but to sell the antialcoholic Islamic drinks. This passage is only a listing of facts and names. You can hardly follow the story and so it is very boring. But other chapters, e.g. chapter 15 and chapter 16, are so lovely that I can not stop reading. There is rather more action and there is not only a simple listing of something. For example in chapter 15: Dalroy and Pump meet Dorian Wimpole, who is the owner of a very good car. Dorian is an poet and he has given the order to stop the car because he believes that Dalroy will do something to the donkey. So Dorian starts a conversation with the two men and the two men show their interest about the car. This passage is more humorous than the first chapter because there are lots of word jokes. I think one of the best passage is that where Dorian is talking to the donkey while Dalroy and Pump are driving away with Dorian's car. One another very good text is where a lot of person give a report about an anonymous sign, which is from Pump's inn. Once you can see it once you can not see it. So there are lots of different rumours in the daily newsmagazine. The drinking songs, which are collected in the book of poem which is called "Wine, Water and Song" are very famous. I think that are the best passage of the whole novel. Each drinking song is different and every shows another feeling of Dalroy or of Pump. E. g. at the end of the novel there are some songs which sound like a battle cry.

"Oh, be careful, Lord Ivywood, Lord Ivywood

If we get you, it will not be very good for you."

To sum up I can maintain that the hole story is perfect, with the exception of some passages. But I think we can expect that from a scriber with the fame of a very well know poet. Chesterton is know in the whole world for his "Father Brown" - stories, which are one of the best detective story. So you can see that Chesterton can also write "normal" novel. At the end there is nothing else that I can do, with one exception. I can only recommend the novel for everybody, who want to read something other than Thrillers or Action.

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