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Father Ian Boyd, CSB – Requiescat in Pace

The G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture Mourns the Death of Our Founder, Father Joseph Ian Boyd, C.S.B. (Requiescat in Pace – January 23, 1935 – January 10, 2024)

Father Ian Boyd, a priest of the Congregation of Saint Basil and an internationally recognized Chesterton scholar, died in Edmonton, Canada on January 10, 2024.

He was the author of The Novels of G.K. Chesterton (London 1975). For many years, he was Professor of English at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan. From 1999-2020, he taught at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.

He received a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada (1956); an S.T.B. Degree, University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, Canada (1964); an M.A. from the University of Toronto, Canada (1965), and a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1970).

As a young child, he became acquainted with the works of G. K. Chesterton when reading his father’s copy of G. K.’s Weekly. Chesterton was present at every stage in his life, and for the last 50 years, he devoted his work to writing and lecturing about the life, thought and body of work of G. K. Chesterton. In 1974, while at St. Thomas More College, and after attending the Centenary Conference of the Birth of G. K. Chesterton, he founded the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture and its widely recognized journal The Chesterton Review. In 1999, Father Boyd brought both the Institute and the journal to Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, where they are permanently housed in the Center for Catholic Studies. At the invitation of universities, study-centers and various organizations, Father Boyd travelled all over the world sharing his knowledge of Chesterton and his circle and his scholarly work, inspiring a new generation of Chestertonians. He lectured across the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Japan.

In addition to lecturing about G. K. Chesterton, Maurice Baring, Paul Claudel, Charles Peguy, Hilaire Belloc and others, he also lectured on the subject of “Sacramental Themes in Modern Literature.” Among the Christian authors whose work he discussed are T.S. Eliot, Graham Greene, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, Piers Paul Read, Muriel Spark and Evelyn Waugh. In nineteenth-century literature, he was also interested in the work of such authors as Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Father Boyd was President Emeritus of the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture based at Seton Hall University and was the founding editor of The Chesterton Review.

He retired in 2020.

The G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture is collecting tributes and messages in honor of Father Ian Boyd. Those who would like to share a tribute message are welcome to email the Chesterton Institute at chestertoninstitute@shu.edu.

Father Ian Boyd, C.S.B.

In August 2020, after 46 years of outstanding service, Father Ian Boyd, C.S.B., announced his retirement as editor of The Chesterton Review, the journal he founded in Canada in 1974. He was been succeeded as editor by Professor Dermot Quinn, his colleague and friend of many years at the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture at Seton Hall University. Father Boyd, who will continue to serve as Founder and President Emeritus of the Institute, hopes to return to Seton Hall for the 50th birthday of the Review in four years’ time. A plaque and permanent exhibition have been placed in Walsh Library to honor Father Boyd’s 20 years at Seton Hall and the work of the Chesterton Institute in Canada and the United States since 1974.

Father Boyd’s retirement brought to a close one of the longest editorships of any literary journal in the English-speaking world. Only Robert Silvers of The New York Review of Books enjoyed a longer tenure. It also marked the culmination of a career of exceptional achievement. “There really is nothing like The Chesterton Review,” Professor Philip Jenkins wrote, “and if there ever was, it existed in a bygone Golden Age of journals and magazines.”

By the same token, there is no one like Father Boyd. A scholar of international reputation, he has been the leading figure in the world-wide revival of interest in Chesterton that has taken place over the last 50 years. Beginning with the publication of his ground-breaking monograph The Novels of G.K. Chesterton and continuing with his work as editor of The Chesterton Review, he promoted serious academic study of Chesterton and his circle and of the intellectual tradition that they represent. In addition, he traveled the globe to speak at Chesterton conferences and seminars, an instantly recognizable and much-loved figure in universities across the world, captivating audiences with his trademark erudition, wit and humor. Like Chesterton’s Father Brown, Father Boyd has a way of appearing in unusual places and solving unusual problems, a scholar’s scholar but also a priest’s priest, being gentle, firm, wise, insightful and benign. Chesterton could have had no better representative for the last five decades.

“I have, almost literally, very large shoes to fill,” said Professor Dermot Quinn, paying tribute to Father Boyd’s work as editor of The Chesterton Review. “Everything he did for the journal was marked by his wonderfully sharp and penetrating intelligence, his extraordinary breath of reading, his creative editorial imagination, and his marvelous gift for anecdote and apposite quotation. He also insisted that good writing should be at the heart of the Review, that its prose should be worthy of its subject. I hope to continue that tradition.” A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and New College, Oxford, Professor Quinn has been a member of the History Department at Seton Hall since 1990. The author of three books and many articles, he has written and spoken extensively on Chestertonian themes for over 30 years.

For more information about our work, please peruse our website or contact us by e-mail.

Father Ian Boyd, C.S.B. – President Emeritus & Founding Editor of The Chesterton Review

Dermot Quinn – Editor, The Chesterton Review

Gloria Garafulich-Grabois – Director, G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture and Managing Editor of The Chesterton Review