The Man Who Was Thursday HTML version

A Wild, Mad, Hilarious And Profoundly Moving Tale
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.
However, the reader will soon discover that it is much more than that. Carried
along on the boisterous rush of the narrative by Chesterton's wonderful high-
spirited style, he will soon see that he is being carried into much deeper waters
than he had planned on; and the totally unforeseeable denouement will prove for
the modern reader, as it has for thousands of others since 1908 when the book
was first published, an inevitable and moving experience, as the investigators
finally discover who Sunday is.
To Edmund Clerihew Bentley
A cloud was on the mind of men, and wailing went the weather, Yea, a sick cloud
upon the soul when we were boys together. Science announced nonentity and
art admired decay; The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay; Round
us in antic order their crippled vices came-- Lust that had lost its laughter, fear
that had lost its shame. Like the white lock of Whistler, that lit our aimless gloom,
Men showed their own white feather as proudly as a plume. Life was a fly that
faded, and death a drone that stung; The world was very old indeed when you
and I were young. They twisted even decent sin to shapes not to be named: Men
were ashamed of honour; but we were not ashamed. Weak if we were and
foolish, not thus we failed, not thus; When that black Baal blocked the heavens
he had no hymns from us Children we were--our forts of sand were even as
weak as eve, High as they went we piled them up to break that bitter sea. Fools
as we were in motley, all jangling and absurd, When all church bells were silent
our cap and beds were heard.
Not all unhelped we held the fort, our tiny flags unfurled; Some giants laboured in
that cloud to lift it from the world. I find again the book we found, I feel the hour
that flings Far out of fish-shaped Paumanok some cry of cleaner things; And the
Green Carnation withered, as in forest fires that pass, Roared in the wind of all