After leaving St. Paul's School in 1891, he became an art student, but in 1900 he embarked on a literary career with a book of poems, The Wild Knight. Thenceforth he remained one of the most prolific writers of his time, employing his artistic talent only occasionally.
Chesterton's writings are mainly controversial. An Anglican until 1922, when he entered the Roman Catholic Church, he devoted his essays, poems, stories, biographies, and three plays to the propagation of Christian truths. But his gift for humorous exposition, backed by a gargantuan physical bulk, a conversational brilliance, and a legendary absent-mindedness that were the delight of cartoonists and anecdotalists, endeared him to thousands who dissented from his religious views.
The "chief idea of his life" he defined as the awakening of wonder, the capacity to see things as if for the first time, and there were few subjects upon which he himself was not in a position to shed fresh light.
Chesterton traveled and lectured extensively in Europe, America, and Palestine. Latterly his voice became familiar to an even wider audience through the medium of radio talks, but the last 20 years of his life were passed mainly at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. After his death, the originality of his thought came to be esteemed as highly as that of his fresh, conversational style, which expressed his sense of wonderment at the life he saw about him.
As a young man, he became fascinated with the occult.
Gilbert was married to Frances Blogg.