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The Man Who Was Thursday (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)
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The Man Who Was Thursday (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

3.8 88
by G. K. Chesterton, Bruce F. Murphy (Introduction)

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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare 1908 is the most renowned and critically acclaimed novel by the prolific G. K. Chesterton. Equal parts mystery, suspense story, allegory, and farce, it is considered a classic of the spy genre while at the same time almost constitutes a genre of its own. Each rereading of The Man Who Was Thursday


The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare 1908 is the most renowned and critically acclaimed novel by the prolific G. K. Chesterton. Equal parts mystery, suspense story, allegory, and farce, it is considered a classic of the spy genre while at the same time almost constitutes a genre of its own. Each rereading of The Man Who Was Thursday The hero, Gabriel Syme, is Chesterton's ideal of the virtuous Common Man. He must infiltrate and try to thwart an anarchist cell, whose heart is the mysterious and ambiguous Sunday, man whose powers seem almost godlike. Syme's mission lead him through the back ways of Victorian London and on a wild Chase through the French country-side, and adventure at once madcap, surreal, and cosmically important. More than just charming tale of Dickensian characters and a mysterious man who was supposed to be "Thursday," The Man Who Was Thursday asks the dark questions: Will the human race survive? It is a question as relevant at the start of the twenty-first century as it was at the beginning of the twentieth.

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Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading
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Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)

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The Man Who Was Thursday 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Sandy-shore More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure if the story was meant to be serious or not but I read it as if it were a farce and thought it was kind of humorous. It got quite exaggerated at the end but I still enjoyed most of the book. It's not a book for people who like to read best sellers.
MLucero More than 1 year ago
One of the earliest examples of the spy novel, The Man Who Was Thursday bears little resemblance to James Bond, his predecessors or successors. Thursday is a novel where nothing is what it seems; but it is partially a battle between law and anarchy. Not, we are told, the anarchy of peasants and the oppressed, who do not desire an escape from law or leaders (it is the rich, Chesterton insightfully observes, who wish to escape it) but rather from injust laws and bad rulers. The anarchy against which this book's hero, Gabriel Syme, is set, is rather the philosophical anarchy that is akin to the suicide of humanity, which is implicit in modernist thought. Each of the members of the High Council of Anarchists (the novel is not without its delicious irony) exemplifies a specific tendency of this modern philosophy. As the plot moves on, this battle of high stakes begins to give way to absurdity, until it seems at last that absurdity and anarchy have won not only the fight but the larger debate through sheer implications. Just at that moment the spirit of the story snatches that victory from anarchy's grasp, as the entire book itself is revealed as an allegory of law, order, and the triumph of meaning and goodness over meaningless and evil. Chesterton's witty writing is full of double meanings which reward re-readings; astute observations about the human predicament; and ironies the depth of which are not revealed until one fully considers the story as a whole. One of the most delicate and masterful touches is the sheer balance that is achieved between this irony and absurdism on one hand, and the pathos and almost sacred beauty of the final revelation. I believe this book is one of the most clever and hard to fully appreciate books I've read. It reminds me a lot of the television show Lost, in its depth of different layers, its character-centered plotline, and its allegorical examinations of some of the most important questions of our time.
Janus More than 1 year ago
'The Man Who Was Thursday' is not the type of book that will change lives or make the reader ponder philosophical conundrums for hours on end. Ultimately it is a window into the way anarchists were viewed by society during this time period. The book begins with plenty of promise but it eventually becomes formulaic in as much that every problem has the same solution. The ending scene is extremely strange and slightly hallucinatory in effect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
G.K. Chesterton is a fantastic science fiction writer that "kids these days" don't know enough about. Some of my favorite quotes come from his stories. He does not disappoint in The Man Who was Thursday. An honest man doesn't know who to trust goes on a journey of self-discovery. Or it's a pre-apocalyptical story depicting the struggle between truth and honor, patriotosm and righteousness. Or it's a satire or perhaps a comedy. Whatever you're looking for (in this type of story- it's certainly not a romance... unless you count a man's relationship with his work), this story can deliver.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Starts off a bit slow, but it really picks up.
bekah_ann More than 1 year ago
Although I have yet to finish it, I find The Man Who Was Thursday an ingeniously thoughtful mystery. Who is Sunday? Will Thursday be discovered as a spy? Will anarchy ultimately reign, or will order be restored? Such questions have been running through my mind as the story unfolds, and each chapter brings more questions. I'm definitely going to find more G. K. Chesterton when I've completed this one.
Kerry_Nietz More than 1 year ago
The word that best describes "The Man Who Was Thursday" for me, is "witty." From start to finish it is an amusing read, with lots of fun little twists and an occasional dazzling insight. Linguistically, the style is different from what is common today, but not to the point of being unapproachable. (Unlike some classics.) The plot is straightforward and brisk--and with anarchist protestors gathering in cities around the world today, it all seems eerily relevant. This book is a diamond mine of quotable text. Through most of the narrative I wondered why "Thursday" was thought of as a "speculative" title. It primarily reads like a mystery. Then it reaches a point where the veneer pulls away and the classification makes perfect sense. Overall, I think "The Man Who Was Thursday" is an important read. Check it out. As a side note, I should mention that the Nook version I read (that by New Century) was pretty awful. The formatting was barely readable, and there was only one item in the table of contents. Makes it difficult to skip around the book looking for review material! If you're going to buy this book for the Nook, use a different version.
Ector-Crane More than 1 year ago
Though The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare is neither a theological work, nor a philosophical one, as people who know of Chesterton may expect, but is a piece of fiction. Peppered with Chesterton's classic wit, analysis, and endless puns, readers will find many recognizable themes within the book that have been copied and used by authors ever since. Readers must recognize that clich&#233;s such as, "Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it." were not clich&#233;s at the time, as they came from this book. The story of the book itself is infinitely complex, and infinitely simple. The plot basically runs thus: Gabriel Syme is poet and undercover police detective. He to meet Lucian Gregory, a poet and undercover anarchist, has the honor, and Gregory finds him incredibly irritating. Gregory takes Syme to anarchist headquarters of the London chapter, and through a series of mishaps, the incredibly democratic Syme is elected to the position of Thursday, on the Supreme Anarchist Council. Syme shares this position with some of the most striking characters that can be found in literature. Professor de Worms is so old and dull; he is as good as dead. Dr. Bull looks like an absolute demon. The Secretary is bitter and seems almost disfigured. The Marquis de Saint-Eustache is a sly and cool man, visibly evil. There is Gogol, and Pole who looks almost absurdly hairy, and then there is Sunday, the Council's president, of whom the council is entirely afraid of, due to his almost god-like power. Syme is intensely paranoid of his position and has to bring down the Council, through ways he cannot understand. Thus, the adventure embarks. Along the way, there are recurring themes, ironic contrasts, delightful puns, and painful suspense and is always peppered with Chesterton's philosophical analysis and omniscient outlook. Those who have read Chesterton's work before will probably find it advisable to read the book multiple times. Chesterton's writing is incredibly dense. Some of the humor, and a good deal of meaning, may not be recognized the first time through. It is therefore, though one of the shortest, one of most meaningful and fullest (for lack of a better term) works that has been produced with meaning. As aforementioned, Chesterton's themes shall be instantly recognized, as Chesterton was influenced by and influenced himself countless other writers. The Nightmare shall always live on in humanity, for it poses a great question, itself: Humanity. Shall it survive? Can it survive? Or shall it destroy itself? A battle between anarchy and society, between a village and a motorcar, between sanity and madness, between reason and randomness, The Man Who Was Thursday is to be cherished and learned from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Man Who Was Thursday was an amazing book. It keeps you guessing up until the end where it throws you a twist so huge and surprising you would never suspect it. The ending is one of the best I've ever read and because of the twist at the end that brings everything into focus, it keeps you hooked until the last page. Not to mention the clever jokes throughout the novel that add to the fun of reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend reading the sample chapter for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very interesting book. It constantly keeps you wondering what's going to happen next. And just when you think you have something or someone figured out it's not at all what it appeared to be. The ending is kind of bizarre and it'll leave you thinking. The book will make you question society and humanity and in the end it asks the question of whether or not man can only be good when he has not had to suffer the pain that supposedly made the bad man turn bad. But the climax reassures you that mankind can in fact be good inspite of what he has suffered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coming Soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Hearth, formerly Hearthcloud <p> Age: Don't ask... <p> Gender: &female <p> Appearance: Fluffy light gray fur with dark gray markings along her back. Her tail tip, paws, and ear tips are black. Her build is pretty average for her age, having lean muscles and surprisingly good upper body strength. Although she is kind of..adorable at some times, that's the complete opposite of her personality. <p> Mate/Crush/Kits: Nope/..../None <p> Attack Method: Hearth is the master of stealth. She can sneak up on almost anyone, staying very quiet. Although she is good at being silent, her attacks can be quite vicious. Her claws go straight to the head, raking them down it. If not the skull, then the spine. Her jaws aim towards the na<_>pe and sink down. <p> Personality: Being born in a regular-sized Clan far from here, Hearth grew up as any regular she-cat. She quickly made a fews friends over the moons and passed her warrior test with flying colors. When a new tom joined, she felt as if everything around her had stopped, and she and him were the only ones in the world. Just seeing him made her fall deeply in love, and she followed him everywhere. But, after moons, he fell in love too....with another she-cat. Hearth's friend. She was furious, but had to stay calm to keep up her good reputation. When she was taking a walk one day, her friend caught up with her to apologize. She knew Hearth loved him and felt horrible about taking the tom away from her. Instead of forgiving her like the she-cat thought she would, Hearth killed her. Viciously mauling her, then dumping her body in the nearby river. Figuring the Clan would find out it was her sooner or later, Hearth ran away. She had always been teased and ridiculed forher gody-two shoes reputation, but not anymore. The newfound murderer would get her revenge on any Clan similar to her own, and they would never underestimate her again. <p> Personality: Having some kind of split personality, Hearth has two sides: a friendly, cute, loving side. And a raging, livid, insane side. She usually shows the kind one, especially to her Clanmates. But when thinking of her past or in battle, she gets incredibly creepy. Don't get her wrong, she's a nice cat...usually. <p> RPer: The Shademeister (Shadey) <p> Quick Note: Hi! I'm Shadey. This is my first evil cat Clan l've ever RPed in, so l may need some pointers. If l'm godmodding or something, just point it out. I'm extremely oblivious to it. Also, if you didn't know already, l have autism. So l can take some things very personally. I used to hate evil Clans and always wish they would die out. But now, l hope l can be a part of this psycho family :3 <p> ~ Shadey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:: What are ya? A dumbass? . . . Jackle. He once went by the Black Jackle when he was a rogue. Age:: Good luck prying that outta him. Rank:: Deputy. Discription: Jackle is a broad shouldered cat, standing at roughly one and a half feet tall. His coat is made up of thick black fur, slightly longer than a normal short-haired cat. His two front paws have dusty brown 'socks', coming to a stop just below his knees. Several spots, the same color as his 'socks', are scattered about his body. His eyes are a deep brown, and normally stone cold. Personality:: It would be best if ya go talk to him. But... Jackle will most likely seem cold and cruel. That is very much the case. Mostly. If you earn Jackle's trust, which is pretty hard to do, he will began to treat you as family. As a fellow savage. Just a warning... don't anger him. History:: Jackle's parents were killed by a group of rogues, slaughtering them before his eyes. Several years later, after escaping, he began to call himself the Black Jackle. A fierce rogue. He sought of his parents murderers out, killing them with, what seemed like, natural ease. Jackle soon stumbled upon ClawClan, and, rather rapidly, worked his way up through the ranks. He soon became a Claw, then deputy.
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Makes you think but a fun ride
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But engrossing
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The text of the novel is well formated for the Nook and the biography of Chesterton is excellent.
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