The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday is one of G.K. Chesterton’s masterpieces and probably his best-known novel. At a first glance this is a detective story with political themes: a policeman infiltrates a secret organization of anarchists trying to thwart their plans. At a second glance, the novel is a social critique that reflects Chesterton’s social philosophy: a person who owns a small piece of property cannot be an anarchist. At a third glance, this is a profound allegory with subtle metaphysical references. Its closest influences are the “Book of Job” and the “Book of Revelation.”

We will discover, in Chesterton’s vision, two types of anarchists. The innocent anarchist is the person who believes that the laws are bad and they must be broken or abolished. The true anarchist is the man who thinks that humanity will be free only when it commits suicide. He has two goals: the disappearance of mankind, followed by his own suicide. That Paradise in which good and evil no longer exist is, for this anarchist, the grave. Here Chesterton makes a prophecy, in the sense that the true anarchist will indeed establish, in the twentieth century, the culture of death.

Orson Wells described this book as “shamelessly beautiful prose.” Every scene is lively and memorable; each dialogue is snappy and clever; and almost every single line is a gem – witty and quotable.


  • Author: Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)
  • Original title: The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Philosophical, adventure novel
  • Publication year: 1908
  • Public: Adults
The Man Who Was Thursday