To G. K. Chesterton: Happy 134th Birthday

Well, I miss it by a day, but I don’t think he’d mind. 

To celebrate the birthday of the gifted writer G. K. Chesterton (born May 29, 1874 – June 14, 1936), I’m posting here some thoughts I wrote down after I finished reading his book The Man Who Was Thursday earlier this year.

 

 ‘Well, I don’t understand anything…’  — Gabriel Syme

‘I understand nothing, but I am happy…’  — Dr. Bull

Just finished this book by G. K. Chesterton.  One word had been on my mind as I was reading it:  ingenious.  Of course, there were other words too, like baffling, profound, funny, even hilarious.  Published exactly 100 years ago in 1908, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare reads like an allegory, farce, fantasy, thriller, adventure, philosophical treatise, religious exposition, and a postmodern piece of literary anime, and yes, that’s 1908.

Having said all that, I must concede and humbly admit, upon finishing this first reading, I understand very little.  The twists and turns make one doubt what actually is real, or what is disguised as real, and where the line lies between good and evil, friend and foe, government and anarchists.  I’m baffled by the symbolism and eager to seek the appropriate interpretation. 

Who is Sunday?  Is he who I think he is?  The author in his own words in the addendum says, no, he’s not.  So, what am I to think? And, even if he is, how can I explain all the events that lead up to the ending?  And…what does the ending mean?

I welcome anyone who has read, studied, or taught the book to help me out with my bewilderment.  Of course, I could research on what scholastic publications have said, but, I’d just like to entertain some casual and random thoughts.

For those who wish to explore more, here are some Chesterton links:

The American Chesterton Society: Common Sense for the World’s Uncommon Nonsense  (Plainly tells you who you’re dealing with here)

G. K. Chesterton Quotations  (Just brilliant!)

Read Chesterton Online

The Man Who Was Thursday discussion on the blog “So Many Books”

Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

3 thoughts on “To G. K. Chesterton: Happy 134th Birthday”

  1. Well happy birthday to you o much beloved G.K.! And thank you Arti for bringing it to my attention. It’s lovely to find another Chesterton and “Thursday” fan.

    Like

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