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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
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2017 Group Reads - Archives > The Man Who Was Thursday: Part Three-Oct 1-7: Chapters 12-15 and final thoughts

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1804 comments Mod
The final chapters take us from intriguing to downright bizarre! The dream-like quality of the whole novel becomes clear, with a strong religious/allegorical overtone.

In chapter 12, we get the revelation that in fact everyone has been on the same side all along, and there are no actual anarchists on the Supreme Anarchist Council, with the possible exception of Sunday. Chapters 13 and 14 revolve around the chasing of the President which involves carriages, hot air balloons and an elephant (as an aside, this was wonderfully evocative of Around the World in Eighty Days which many of us just finished). Chapter 15 reveals all (or as much as will be revealed) and we learn that this has in fact been a dream. Sunday represents the Sabbath-the peace of God, and Gregory represents Anarchy and the Devil. And yet, when Syme wakes from his dream, Gregory has transformed back to ”an easy and conversational companion”.

An excerpt from an article written by Chesterton, late in life, about TMWWT states

It was not intended to describe the real world as it was, or as I thought it was, even when my thoughts were considerably less settled than they are now. It was intended to describe the world of wild doubt and despair which the pessimists were generally describing at that date; with just a gleam of hope in some double meaning of the doubt, which even the pessimists felt in some fitful fashion.

How well do you think Chesterton’s intentions are realized in the novel?

What did you think of the style-the humour, the poetry, the characterizations-of the novel? My book is covered in underlinings, there were so many passages I found to be either beautiful or hilarious or deeply strange. Share your thoughts and any favourite passages with us!


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
This book was certainly dreamlike and got quite fantastic towards the end when they ended up at the zoo.

I copied out three quotes that struck me, since I was reading a copy from the library.

Chapter 12: "When duty and religion are really destroyed, it will be by the rich.

Chapter 13: Syme says, "I think it is six men going to ask one man what they mean."

Chapter 14: Syme- "yet he felt like a man entrapped in fairyland."


Certain scenes in the novel reminded me of Monty Python skits and cartoons.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Just a thought for the moment: having struggled in the early chapters to make head or tail of this story, I, little by little, found myself 'understanding' more of the thrust of the novel. I have difficulty in grasping it intellectually but I somehow seem to sense its meaning. I know that this sounds rather wishy washy, but perhaps the dreamlike/nightmare quality only lends itself to a general 'feel' for its meaning rather than any particularly literal comprehension. Hence my difficulty in communicating in words what I mean. Maybe I ought to use mime or semaphore or, even better, charades in order to convey my meaning! :D. Overall, I really do find this to be quite a masterpiece. The fact that it wasn't a long rambling novel was in its favour, I think.


Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments I understand exactly what you mean, Hilary (does that scare you? ha ha!). This time reading I'm feeling the same thing. Instead of reaching out and trying to grasp the concrete, I'm trying to let it wash over me, rather liked I'd do while reading a stream-of-consciousness novel. Unlike what Frances mentioned above (again, THIS time) I don't get a sense of a strong religious flavour to it. Allegorical, yes, but not in the religious sense. In any case, I'm almost finished and am enjoying it even more than the first time. Chesterton, I think, is highly underrated. Whenever I read something of his, it's so different and creative.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Chesterton's use of language is spectacularly beautiful. His sense of humour is wonderful and yes, Rosemarie, Pythonesque at times - quite a lot, actually.

His allegory works very well, though I confess to not always being clear what he is saying. I mean, was Sunday really 'the peace of God' and therefore, the ultimate in goodness? Was he meant to be a type of Christ in the sense of Jesus's incarnation? Or was that a trap? Was he really the very bad guy, not Satan because it seems that Gregory has nabbed that title (or has he?), but perhaps a type of Judas? Or perhaps this is stretching the allegory too far!

Some of the religious symbolism (and particularly Christian symbolism) seems to confirm Chesterton's newfound faith - newfound in the sense that he had been an atheist before becoming Anglican and later Roman Catholic. He seems very much convinced by his beliefs on writing this. How then, on his later adherence to Catholicism, does he see Catholicism as true and, it would appear, the only true brand of Christianity? He doesn't seem to have later criticised his belief system in this book.

Sorry for all the questions but they are mainly rhetorical!


message 6: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
That is so true, Cleo. I find his works different and creative and I especially like his poetry. The books Manalive and The Napoleon of Notting Hill are also difficult to put in categories.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments I meant to take more notes on things that struck me, but in chapter 4 (already mentioned by others in the earlier thread) he says:
One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Another quotation that thoroughly amused me is out of the mouth of de Worms when he explains an arrest by a policeman. It is:
"You are arresting me on the charge of being the great anarchist, Professor de Worms." ... "No, sir," he said civilly, "at least, not exactly, sir. I am arresting you on the charge of not being the celebrated anarchist, Professor de Worms."


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments That's exactly it, Cleo! I read it like steam of consciousness writing! That is spot on!!


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Are the books you mention by Chesterton, Rosemarie? I really must read more by him!


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments That would be 'stream', Cleo!!! Oops!


message 12: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Yes they are, Hilary.
I kind of like steam of consciousness-it sounds misty!


Brian Reynolds | 698 comments This last part is consistent with what I anticipated, at least from about half-way through when I finally got it. In hindsight, the story and style are also consistent with Chesterton's social, political and religious views. It's really not so modern as I thought. The last chapter even refers to Alice in Wonderland and I thought the spinning table scene in Chapter 2 might be when Syme fell down the rabbit hole.
I would not have been so surprised by the story if I wasn't thrown off by the 'metaphysical detective story' or metaphysical thriller' labels I read in various places. I guess it is about detectives. I should have focused on the word metaphysical but I really didn't know what this meant in literary terms. Another critic called it a 'comic fantasy,' which I find more accurate, though incomplete.
I think Chesterton was successful in this book. Like Hilary, I enjoy the language and descriptions and I think I understand what Chesterton is saying. However, I may be more like Amory Blaine, the main character in This Side of Paradise, who read TMWWT, "which he liked without understanding."


message 14: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments I just listened to Chesterton's The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hilary, and I think you'd like it. The Club of Queer Trades is excellent too .... very different!


message 15: by Cleo (last edited Oct 03, 2017 10:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Well, I finished and I still don't know exactly what to think, although I believe I'm a little less confused than during my first read of it. Even though Chesterton uses some religious symbolism as a vehicle, I now feel that the novel was more political than religious. I've read some places that Sunday was supposed to symbolize nature, but I don't know ..... I'm not sure if I see that.

I have a feeling that Chesterton did not necessarily have a detailed plan when he wrote the book; he was just responding to something that was bothering him and wrote the novel as a conversation with himself more than anyone else. There's an appendix at the end of my book which includes an interview with Chesterton where he gave his thoughts on the book. I'll post it in another couple of days when everyone else has had a chance to catch up. It will be enlightening to read what he has to say!


Janice (JG) I thought this was a telling comment on G.K.'s politics, and a profound statement (I know sociologists who would agree):

"“The poor object to being governed badly. The rich object to being governed at all.”


message 17: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Janice, that statement really says a lot in a few words. Thank you for that quote.


message 18: by Pip (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pip | 468 comments I did enjoy this read, although I have to admit I rushed through quite a lot of the chase scenes in the last third of the book. I find chase scenes irritating in films too, and tend to switch off until I find out who has "won" the race.

It might not have been Chesterton's intention when writing the book, but I felt that it was a warning generally against blindly following a group or ideology, whether that be religious, political or other. There have been some terrifying psychological studies done on crowd behaviour and group mentality - how we accept things we would never do as individuals because everyone else is doing it or because the group makes us anonymous. It also shows how easy it is for one person to control the actions of many, possibly very different, individuals through their understanding and manipulation of group mentality. At what point would Syme have stopped if none of the other detectives had been revealed as such, and he had felt bound to his promise to Gregory?


message 19: by Cleo (last edited Oct 09, 2017 08:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Here are Chesterton's words with regard to the book and his purpose when writing it. It's interesting to note that religion appears to have had very little to do with his intent. And it shows Chesterton's humour, which makes his writing so delightful. In any case, here it is:

"...... I even called myself an optimist, because I was so horribly near to being a pessimist. It is the only excuse I can offer. All this part of the process was afterwards thrown up in the very formless form of a piece of fiction called The Man Who Was Thursday. The title attracted some attention at the time; and there were many journalistic jokes about it. Some, referring to my supposed festive views, affected to mistake if for “The Man Who Was Thirsty.” Others naturally supposed that Man Thursday was the black brother of Man Friday. Others again, with more penetration, treated it as a mere title out of topsy-turveydom; as if it had been “The Woman Who Was Half-past Eight,” or “The Cow Who Was Tomorrow Evening.” But what interest me about it was this; that hardly anybody who looked at the title ever seems to have looked at the sub-title; which was “A Nightmare,” and the answer to a good many critical questions.

I pause upon the point here, because it is of some importance to the understanding of that time. I have often been asked what I meant by the monstrous pantomine ogre who was called Sunday in that story; and some have suggested, and in one sense not untruly, that he was meant for a blasphemous version of the Creator. But the point is that the whole story is a nightmare of things, not as they are, but as they seemed to the young half-pessimist of the ‘90s; and the ogre who appears brutal but is also cryptically benevolent is not so much God in the sense of religion or irreligion, but rather Nature as it appears to the pantheist, whose pantheism is struggling out of pessimism. So far as the story had any sens in it, it was meant to begin with the picture of the world at its worst and to work towards the suggestion that the picture was not so black as it was already painted. I explained that the whole thing was thrown out in the nihilism of the ‘90s in the dedicatory lines which I wrote to my friend Bentley, who had been through the same period and problems; asking rhetorically: “Who shall understand but you?” In reply to which a book-reviewer very sensibly remarked that if nobody understood the book except Mr. Bentley, it seemed unreasonable to ask other people to read it.

But I speak of it here because, though it came at the beginning of the story, it was destined to take on another meaning before the end of it. Without that distant sequel, the memory may appear as meaningless as the book; but for the moment I can only leave on record here the two facts to which I managed somehow and in some sense to testify. First, I was trying vaguely to found a new optimism, not on the maximum but the minimum good. I did not so much mind the pessimist who complained that there was so little good. But I was furious, even to slaying, wth the pessimist who asked what was the good of good. And second, even in the earlest days and even for the worst reasons, I already knew too much to pretend to get rid of evil. I introduced at the end one figure who ready does, with a full understanding, deny and defy the good. Long afterwards Father Ronald Knox told me, in his whimsical manner, that he was sure that the rest of the book would be used to prove that I was a Pantheist and a Pagan, and that the Higher Critics of the future would easily show that the episode of the Accuser was an interpolation by priests.

This was not the case; in fact it was quite the other way. At this time I should have been quite as annoyed as anybody else for miles round, if I had found a priest interfering with my affairs or interpolating things in my manuscript. I put that statement into that story, testifying to the extreme evil (which is merely the unpardonable sin of not wishing to be pardoned), not because I had learned it from any of the million priests whom I had never met, but because I had learned it from myself. I was already quite certain that I could if I chose cut myself off from the whole life of the universe. My wife, when asked who converted her to Catholicism always answers, “the devil”.

But all that was so long afterwards, that it has no relation to the groping and guesswork philosophy of the story in question. I would much rather quote a tribute from a totally different type of man, who was nevertheless one of the very few men who, for some reason or other, has ever made head or tail of this unfortunate romance of my youth. He was a distinguished psychoanalyst, of the most modern and scientific sort. He was not a priest; far from it; we migh say, like the Frenchman asked if he had lunched on the boat, “au contraire”. He did not believe in the Devil; God forbid, if there was any God to forbid. But he was a very keen and eager student of his own subject; and he made my hair stand on end by saying that he had found my very juvenile story useful as a corrective among his morbid patients; especially the process by which each of the diabolical anarchs turns out to be a good citizen in diguise. “I know a number of men who nearly went mad,” he said quite gravely, “but were saved because they had really understood The Man Who Was Thursday.” He must habe been rather generously exaggerative; he may have been mad himself, of course; but then so was I. But I confess it flatters me to think that, in this my period of lunacy, I may have been a little useful to other lunatics.”



message 20: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1804 comments Mod
Pip wrote: "There have been some terrifying psychological studies done on crowd behaviour and group mentality - how we accept things we would never do as individuals because everyone else is doing it or because the group makes us anonymous. It also shows how easy it is for one person to control the actions of many, possibly very different, individuals through their understanding and manipulation of group mentality. "

I also wondered about this, but also the issues of perspective and what we believe of the others around us-while taken to a ridiculous extent, it was both amusing and somewhat frightening how all these characters on the same side were coming to blows with each other through not understanding each others true position.


message 21: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1804 comments Mod
Cleo wrote: "Here are Chesterton's words with regard to the book and his purpose when writing it. It's interesting to note that religion appears to have had very little to do with his intent. And it shows Chest..."

Thanks for sharing that, Cleo-it is fascinating to read GKC's view on TMWWT, written while looking back from a very different stage of his life.


message 22: by Christopher (last edited Oct 09, 2017 09:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments "The Man who was Thirsty"- someone deserves a Pulitzer Prize for that crack.

eta: that's almost as good as "Snow Falling on Readers."


message 23: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
The comments made be Chesterton are helpful to figuring out this book. Thanks, Cleo.


message 24: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Oh, there's also another interview with Chesterton from 1926 included in my book, where he discusses his intentions when writing. It's interesting because he seems now not to remember them as well as he once did. I'll try to type it out later and post it.


message 25: by Cleo (last edited Oct 09, 2017 10:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Christopher wrote: ""The Man who was Thirsty"- someone deserves a Pulitzer Prize for that crack.

eta: that's almost as good as "Snow Falling on Readers.""


Don't they! :-D It certainly added to the rest of the humour.

Chesterton, if you read is other works, can generally bring humour into serious topics and still not lose the seriousness of them. Quite a talent to have.

You're welcome, Frances and Rosemarie! :-)


message 26: by Christopher (last edited Oct 09, 2017 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments He was a distinguished psychoanalyst, of the most modern and scientific sort. He was not a priest; far from it; we migh say, like the Frenchman asked if he had lunched on the boat, “au contraire”.

That joke takes a minute to work out.

(au contraire... he LOST his lunch on the boat.)


message 27: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Christopher wrote: "He was a distinguished psychoanalyst, of the most modern and scientific sort. He was not a priest; far from it; we migh say, like the Frenchman asked if he had lunched on the boat, “au contraire”.
..."


I completely missed that. Thanks for puzzling it out.

I often wonder just how much I'm missing when I read Chesterton ... :-Z


message 28: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
We moved again, and things have been crazy here (also, no internet at the new place yet and having a horrible time with the service), so I'm really behind on readings (only in chapter 9 of Can you forgive her).

I did, however, finish this last night, with the distinct thought, "What the heck did I just read?" Almost like when I finished Steppenwolf (but I think Steppenwolf really takes the cake in that department). I'm not even sure if I liked it or not.


message 29: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Lori wrote: "I'm not even sure if I liked it or not. ..."

Did you read the interview of Chesterton that I posted in message 19 where he talks about his intent while writing the novel? Even after two reads I'm still trying to get my head around it, but it's making sense more and more. It obviously wasn't a highly structured novel but Chesterton had some points to make and I think he made them in very unique and often tongue-in-cheek ways. I'm liking it more and more.


message 30: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Lori, I agree with you about both novels, but I definitely enjoyed the Chesterton novel. I read Steppenwolf for a German Lit. class and then years later and I still haven't figured it out.


message 31: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1804 comments Mod
I will definitely want to reread TMWWT as there was so much humour and almost poetic writing that I'd like to read it again when less focussed on plot.


message 32: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Okay, here are the transcripts from a few interviews of Chesterton where he refers to The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. I didn't know there were so many of them, so I'll put them in different posts. They can be repetitive, but it gives some more insight into the novel. It's interesting that these later interviews tend to give it a more theological flavour now that Chesterton thinks from that worldview at the time of these interviews.

(Appeared in 1926)

"What did I mean when I wrote the book? There you have me. It was so long ago, and I am a very forgetful person. Only to-day I lost my dress clothes in the post. However, perhaps I may remember.

I know that I meant it to be a detective tale. You probably know that the reading of detective tales is my secret sin, and I had always wanted to write one myself. So in the end, partly to please myself and partly to please Mr. E.C. Bentley, I wrote it. He paid me the magnificent compliment of writing for me, in return, what I think is one of the best detective tales of the period, “Trent’s Last Case.”

But I wanted to write a particular kind of detective tale. You know that the usual things is for your detective to track down some respectable citizen who wears top-hat, spats, and an umbrella, and subscribes to the fund for distressed dachshunds, and finally reveal him as the heartless murderer of a harmless laundress, film actress, or tax collector.

Well, I thought it would be rather jolly to reverse the process, and have a number of characters who are apparently able-bodied villains who, when unmasked, prove to be decent citizens. That was the foundation of the story. And I want to ask you to accept the play, if you can, first of all as a story. If it is not amusing and exciting as a story, then it is nothing at all.

But a literary image always has an idea behind it. That is inevitable. And the idea behind this image of mine --- the standing of the ordinary detective tale on its head --- was that we who think we are fighting for justice are often aiming tremendous blows at villainous masks which hide people who have the same aim as we have, and think of us as we do of them. Most people, in fact, are on the right side, only they keep it dark.

All the same, I was convinced then, and I am convinced still, that there are people who have definitely taken sides with the devil, and in my book, as in my sister-in-law’s play, there is one character, the real anarchist, Lucien (sic) Gregory, who does stand for the forces of evil and despair.

The Bolshevists, who have staged a version of the book, missed the point of it. There is no reason to suppose that hey did it purposely. For Russian people find it difficult to understand how you can joke about a thing you believe in.

And since I have joked about policemen they think that my sole purpose must be to make the forces of law and order look ridiculous. If, as he may, Mr. Norman Macdermott gives a special matinee to the detectives of Scotland Yard. I am sure they will think better of me than that.

You will notice that my villain --- the real anarchist of the story ----is a decadent artist. He was very much with us at the time I wrote the book. It was a poisonous period, when all the ordinary normal ways of living were regarded as silly, and young men who spent most of their time in drinking strange liquors and imagining stranger sins impeached God for not having made a universe to suit them.

We have a nobler sort of pessimism today. The young suffered terribly in the war; above all in the deaths of their friends, I do not think they are justified in despairing of God’s justice and mercy because of that, but they are in a different category from those whose damnable heresies were born of the reaction from debauch.

Lucien (sic) Gregory was merely contemptible. The young pessimists of today are not. But there is still as great a need as ever for faith, for a firm belief that most of those round us are on the right side, fight as we do and must with each other in the darkness.

You ask me who Sunday is? Well, you may call him Nature, if you like. But you will note that I hold that when the mask of Nature is lifted you find God behind. All that wild exuberance of Nature, all its strange pranks, all its seeming indifference to the wants and feelings of men, all that is only a mask. It is a mask which your Lucien (sic) Gregorys paint, but can never raise.

Mind you, I think it is well that we should not know all about those around us, that we should fight in the dark, while having the faith that most men are on the right side, for to possess courage the soul of man must be lonely until at last I knows all."



message 33: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments (Appeared in 1926 - apparently)

"In an ordinary detective tale the investigator discovers that some amiable-looking fellow who subscribes to all the charities, and is fond of animals, has murdered his grandmother, or is a trigamist. I thought it would be fun to make the tearing away of menacing masks reveal benevolence.

Associated with that merely fantastic notion was the one that there is actually a lot of good to be discovered in unlikely places, and that we who are fighting each other may be all fighting on the right side. I think it is quite true that it is just as well we do not, while the fight is on, know all about each other; the soul must be solitary; or there would be no place for courage.

A rather amusing thing was said by Father Knox on this point. He said that he should have regarded the book as entirely pantheist and as preaching that there was good in everything if it had not been for the introduction of the one real anarchist and pessimist. But he was prepared to wager that if the book survives for a hundred years ---- which it won’t --- they will say that the real anarchist was put in afterwards by the priests.

But, though I was more foggy about ethical and theological matters than I am now. I was quite clear on that issue; that there was a final adversary, and that you might find a man resolutely turned away from goodness.

People have asked me whom I mean by Sunday. Well, I think, on the whole, and allowing for the fact that he is a person in a tale --- I think you can take him to stand for Nature as distinguished from God. Huge, boisterous, full of vitality, dancing with a hundred legs, bright with the glare of the sun, and at first sight, somewhat regardless of us and our desires.

There is a phrase used at the end, spoken by Sunday: “Can ye drink from the cup that I drink of?” which seems to mean that Sunday is God. That is the only serious note in the book, the face of Sunday changes, you tear off the mask of Nature and you find God."



message 34: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments (Appeared in 1926)

"It was, of course, a protest against the pessimism of the ‘nineties. And though I didn’t know much about God, I was ready to stick up for Him against the jury of Cockney poets who had brought Him in guilty. It was a bad period when it was unfashionable to believe in innocence, and we were all supposed to worship Wilde and Whistler, and everything twisty and strange. I suppose it was a natural revolt.

The peculiar interest of this play for me, apart from the fact that my sister-in-law has had a hand in writing it, is that we are under a wave of pessimism just now. And if you agree to take my extravaganza seriously, you will find an interest, too, in comparing the pessimism of my Anarchist with that of the young men of today. To my mind, our pessimism is much more noble. The sad souls of the ‘nineties lost hope because they had taken too much absinthe; our young men have lost hope because a friend died with a bullet in his head."



message 35: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments (Appeared in 1936, the day before Chesterton died.)

"…… I happened to dedicate to Mr. Bentley, in those distant days, a book called “The Man Who Was Thursday”; it was a very melodramatic sort of moonshine, but it had a kind of notion in it; and the point is that it described, first a band of the last champions of order fighting against what appeared to be a world of anarchy; and then the discovery that the mysterious master both of the anarchy and the order was the same sort of elemental elf; who had appeared to be rather too like a pantomime ogre. This line of logic, or lunacy, led many to infer that this equivocal being was meant for a serious description of the Deity; and my work even enjoyed a temporary respect among those who like the Deity to be so described. But this error was entirely due to the same cause; that they had read the book but had not read the title-page. In my case, it is true, it was a question of a sub-title rather than a title. The book was called “The Man Who Was Thursday: a Nightmare.” It was not intended to describe the real world as it was, or as I thought it was even when my thoughts were considerably less settled than they are now. It was intended to describe the world of wild doubt and despair which the pessimists were generally describing at that date: the doubt, which even the pessimists felt in some fitful fashion. The matter was fully stated in some rather bombastic verses which I addressed to Mr. Bentley at the time; and I may be excused for mentioning them here in this connection; as a salutation and a memorial of old times."


message 36: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments I loved this quote from Chesterton:

"...... that we who think we are fighting for justice are often aiming tremendous blows at villainous masks which hide people who have the same aim as we have, and think of us as we do of them. Most people, in fact, are on the right side, only they keep it dark."

It's so true. We are often fighting for the same thing ..... peace, security, contentment ..... but because we have different ideas of how to reach those goals, we fight amongst ourselves. If we could focus on the goals and try to understand the different paths, we would certainly be better off. Something to muse on .....


Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments Thanks for posting those statements, Cleo.

Even if his plug for Trent's Last Case is a little log-rolling, I still felt impelled to get it:
Trent's Last Case

(actually, I got it as The Woman in Black)

I also picked up The Man Who Knew Too Much

Of course I am going to chalk up any disparagement of Oscar Wilde by Chesterton to "the anxiety of influence," and stick to my conception of GKC as Wilde's wayward disciple.


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Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments Christopher wrote: "Thanks for posting those statements, Cleo.

Even if his plug for Trent's Last Case is a little log-rolling, I still felt impelled to get it:
Trent's Last Case

(actually, I got it a..."


You're welcome. I'd love to know how Trent's Last Case reads.

I listened to The Man Who Knew Too Much and loved it. Please let me know what you think when you finish.

As for being a wayward disciple of Wilde, Chesterton is probably rolling in his grave with that comparison. I got the impression at the time he would have throttled Wilde if could have laid hands on him. But you believe your theory, if it gives you comfort .... ;-) (Can you name the novel where that last phrase comes from?)


Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments Cleo wrote: "But you believe your theory, if it gives you comfort .... ;-) (Can you name the novel where that last phrase comes from?) ."

I thought I could find out by googling, but I am going to give the wise guy answer and say it's Socrates to Thrasymachus, or maybe the other way round (remember, the anarchists sometimes support the government).

So, what novel is it from really?

I assume you *weren't* thinking of this:

https://books.google.com/books?id=q_Y...


message 40: by Cleo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 156 comments I believe it's from Pride and Prejudice from when Jane is trying to make excuses for Wickham's "kidnapping" of Lydia and Mr. Bennett says something like, "You believe that, Jane, if it gives you comfort."

Now I have to go back and check. I hope it was the book and not the movie ..... :-Z

Thank you for thinking that I'm more well-read than I am. Lol! ;-)


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