Which writers have most influenced you? It’s a difficult question. My first editor, Damon Knight, asked me the same thing when I was just starting out, and I told him my chief influences were G. K. Chesterton and Marks’ [Standard] Handbook for [Mechanical] Engineers. And that’s still about as good an answer as I can give. I’ve been impressed with a lot of people—with Kipling, for example; with Dickens—but I don’t think I’ve been greatly influenced by them. What struck you about Chesterton? His charm; his willingness to follow an argument wherever it led.I don't know whether I'm more edified that Mr. Wolfe was influenced by Chesterton or that a writer from MIT asked a follow-up question about GKC that seems to assume that all his readers know who he is.
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