The Man Who Was Thursday


By G. K. Chesterton

cover image of The Man Who Was Thursday

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The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) is G.K. Chesterton's attack on anarchist philosophies and defense of law, righteousness and order. It tells the story of a secret group of anarchists who conspire against national security. The Londoner poet Lucian Gregory is a fervent defender of the movement's ideals while his close friend Gabriel Syme is paradoxically a Scotland Yard secret agent whose task is to undo anarchist conspiracies against the state. Long debates on poetry and politics take place between them before Syme's introduction to Lucian's enigmatic sect and its central council. The seven members of the latter are named after the week's days as a strategy of camouflage. Both Lucian and Syme end up applying for the position of Thursday. Right after he reveals to his friend that he is a secret agent, Syme wins the elections and enters the sect that he secretly wishes to destroy. He gradually discovers that all the other members are also enemies of the sect rather than true anarchists. Hence, Lucian Gregory turns out to be the only true anarchist of the novel. The general message that Chesterton strives to convey is basically a Christian message about the goodness in all human beings despite possible deviations.

The Man Who Was Thursday