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The Man Who Was Thursday

G.K. Chesterton

Date of publication: 1908

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare novel has been referred to as a metaphysical thriller. Its importance was recognized in its later revival in paperback by Ballantine Books as the thirty-second volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in July, 1971.

Although it deals with anarchists, the novel is not an exploration or rebuttal of anarchist thought; Chesterton's ad hoc construction of "Philosophical Anarchism" is distinguished from ordinary anarchism and is referred to several times not so much as a rebellion against government but as a rebellion against God.

Plot Summary

In a surreal turn-of-the-century London, Gabriel Syme, a poet, is recruited to a secret anti-anarchist taskforce at Scotland Yard. Lucian Gregory, an anarchist poet, is the only poet in Saffron Park, until he loses his temper in an argument over the purpose of poetry with Gabriel Syme, who takes the opposite view. After some time, the frustrated Gregory finds Syme and leads him to a local anarchist meeting-place to prove that he is a true anarchist. Instead of the anarchist Gregory getting elected, the officer Syme uses his wits and is elected as the local representative to the worldwide Central Council of Anarchists. The Council consists of seven men, each using the name of a day of the week as a code name; Syme is given the name of Thursday...

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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