The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday

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Overview

The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, Walter Covell

At first, The Man Who Was Thursday seems no more than a detective story that also has both poetry and politics, as well. But it soon becomes a mystery that grows more mysterious, until it is nothing less than the mystery of creation itself. This is Chesterton's most famous novel. Never out of print since it was first published in 1908, critics immediately hailed it as "amazingly clever," "a remarkable acrobatic performance," and "a scurrying, door-slamming farce that ends like a chapter in the Apocalypse." One reviewer described how he had read it in one sitting and put it down, "completely dazed."

"This book is Chesterton at his best. Every scene is perfect. Every line is a gem." (The American Chesterton Society)

"It is very difficult to classify The Man Who Was Thursday. It is possible to say that it is a gripping adventure story of murderous criminals and brilliant policemen; but it was to be expected that the author of the Father Brown stories should tell a detective story like no-one else. On this level, therefore, The Man Who Was Thursday succeeds superbly; if nothing else, it is a magnificent tour-de-force of suspense-writing." (World Wide School Library)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469259802
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 01/15/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 4
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

GK Chesterton was born in London in 1874 and educated at St Paul’s School, before studying art at the Slade School. In 1896, he began working for the London publisher, Redway, and also T. Fisher Unwin as a reader where he remained until 1902. During this time he undertook his first freelance journalistic assignments, writing art and literary reviews. He also contributed regular columns to two newspapers: ‘The Speaker’ (along with his friend Hilaire Belloc) and the ‘Daily News’. Throughout his life he contributed further articles to journals, particularly ‘The Bookman’ and ‘The Illustrated London News’.

His first two books, poetry collections, were published in 1900. These were followed by collections of essays and in 1903, and his most substantial work to that point, a study of ‘Robert Browning’. Chesterton's first novel, 'The Napoleon of Notting Hill' was published in 1904. In this book he developed his political attitudes in which he attacked socialism, big business and technology and showed how they become the enemies of freedom and justice. These were themes which were to run throughout his other works. 'The Man who was Thursday' was published in 1908 and is perhaps the novel most difficult to understand, although it is also his most popular. 'The Ball and the Cross' followed in 1910 and 'Manalive' in 1912. Chesterton's best-known fictional character appears in the Father Brown stories, the first of the collection, 'The Innocence of Father Brown', being published in 1911. Brown is a modest Catholic priest who uses careful psychology to put himself in the place of the criminal in order to solve the crime.

His output was prolific, with a great variety of books from brilliant studies of ‘Dickens’, ‘Shaw’, and ‘RL Stevenson’ to literary criticism. He also produced more poetry and many volumes of political, social and religious essays. Tremendous zest and energy, with a mastery of paradox, puns, a robust humour and forthright devotion along with great intelligence characterise his entire output. In the years prior to 1914 his fame was at its height, being something of a celebrity and seen as a latter day Dr Johnson as he frequented the pubs and offices of Fleet Street. His huge figure was encased in a cloak and wide brimmed hat, with pockets full of papers and proofs.

Chesterton came from a nominally Anglican family and had been baptized into the Church of England. However, at that point he had no particular Christian belief and was in fact agnostic for a time. Nevertheless, in his late twenties he began to explore the possibility of a religious belief for himself, which he then discovered already existed as orthodox Christianity. In 1896, he had also met Frances Alice Blogg, marrying in 1901. She was a devout Anglican and her beliefs strengthened his Christian convictions. In 1922 he converted to Catholicism and he explores his belief in many works, the best known of which is 'Orthodoxy', his personal spiritual odyssey. In some ways, 'Orthodoxy' was an answer to earlier criticisms received after the 1905 publication of 'Heretics', which was a collection of studies of the then contemporary writers. The complaint was made that Chesterton discussed these writers’ attitudes to life, but offered nothing in respect of himself. He was an ebullient character, absent-minded, but quick-witted and will be remembered as one of the most colourful and provocative writers of his day.

G.K. Chesterton died in 1936.

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The Man Who Was Thursday 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 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 clichés such as, "Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it." were not clichés 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.
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Makes you think but a fun ride
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But engrossing
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The text of the novel is well formated for the Nook and the biography of Chesterton is excellent.
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