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The Man Who Was Thursday : A Nightmare ()


The Image Top 100 Books of the Century

    Definition is impossible : The Man Who was Thursday is not quite a political bad dream, nor a
    metaphysical thriller, nor a cosmic joke in the form of a spy novel, but it is something of all three.
    What it has most of is a boys' adventure story, which might help to explain my early excitement but
    not so much my continuing devotion.  And what a title!  I will not divulge its meaning here, but I
    cannot resist saying that anybody who at the sight of it does not feel a faint tingle of excitement and
    a breath of wonder is not really a fit person to be reading the book.
        -Kingsley Amis, Introduction to the Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics version

G. K. Chesterton's classic novel manages to provide a thriller that starts out like a Sherlock Holmes adventure and ends like Raiders of the Lost Ark, while at the same time offering a profound contemplation of the existence of evil in the world, the role of free will in the universe, the willingness of God to allow Man to suffer, and various other vexing metaphysical questions.  Both the basic story and the religious philosophy are exciting, and though generations of readers have complained that the final chapter is too difficult to follow, the Annotated version has explanatory essays by Martin Gardner and there's an excellent essay of his available online, which do a great job of explaining just what Chesterton is up to.  It is very much a Christian fantasy (or "Nightmare" to use Chesterton's own subtitle) but can be read with enjoyment by anyone who loves a good adventure yarn and doesn't mind being made to think.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A-)

  

Websites:

G. K. Chesterton Links:

    -TV SERIES: G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense< (EWTN.com)     -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "Chesterton, Gilbert "
    -ETEXT : The Man Who Was Thursday :  A Nightmare  By G. K. Chesterton
    -G.K.Chesterton's Works on the Web
    -ESSAY: Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens: David Copperfield  (Gilbert Chesterton)
    -American Chesterton Society
    -G.K. Chesterton: the "Colossal Genius"
    -The G. K. Chesterton Web Page
    -GK Chesterton (Martin Ward)
    -G. K. Chesterton (Miss DeMarco)
    -The Chesterton
    -Gilbert! The Magazine of G.K. Chesterton
    -ARCHIVES : "gilbert chesterton" (NY review of Books)
    -LINKS : Chesterton, G.K. (1874-1936)(Yahoo!)
    -ESSAY : AN AFTERNOON EXPLORING CHESTERTON (ELEANOR BLAU, NY Times)
    -ESSAYS : SCHALL ON CHESTERTON (James V. Schall, S. J., Professor Department of Government  Georgetown University)
    -REVIEW : The Man Who Was Thursday  Revisiting Chesterton's masterpiece. (Martin Gardner, Books & Culture)
    -REVIEW : of THE FATHER BROWN OMNIBUS. By G.K. Chesterton (Walter Goodman, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of G. K. CHESTERTON. By Michael Ffinch (John Gross, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of G. K. CHESTERTON By Michael Ffinch (Hugh Kenner, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Christian Imagination: G. K. Chesterton on the Arts by Thomas Peters (Eric J. Scheske, Touchstone)
    -REVIEW : of The Christian Imagination: G.K. Chesterton on the Arts by Thomas C. Peters (Jason Boffetti , Crisis)
    -REVIEW: of William Oddie, CHESTERTON AND THE ROMANCE OF ORTHODOXY: The making of GKC 1874–1908 (A.N. Wilson, Times of London))

FILMS :
    -FILMOGRAPHY : GK Chesterton (Imdb)

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