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Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar by Gilbert…

Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar (original 1908; edition 2002)

by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Pierre Klossowski (Préface), Jean Florence (Traduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2821031,153 (3.83)168
Title:Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar
Authors:Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Other authors:Pierre Klossowski (Préface), Jean Florence (Traduction)
Info:Gallimard (2002), Poche, 294 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (1908)

  1. 20
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (flissp)
  2. 20
    The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (rockhopper_penguin)
    rockhopper_penguin: I read 'The Secret Adversary' just after reading 'The Man Who Was Thursday'. At the time, 'The Secret Adversary' seemed like the book you *thought* you were getting for quite a lot of 'The Man Who Was Thursday'. Clever, and a good mystery, but not as good (or weird) as 'The Man Who Was Thursday'.… (more)
  3. 10
    The Chronicles of Amber, Volume I (Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon) by Roger Zelazny (mulrah)
    mulrah: The twists and turns sometimes fall flat, but the ride is wild in both cases as the protagonist slowly comes to terms with a new "reality." Buckle up.
  4. 10
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (shelfoflisa)
  5. 10
    The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton (kkunker)
    kkunker: These books have a similar fast paced wild feel to them. I read "Napoleon" while in London, which just made the book seem so much more alive. Both very good books by Chesterton.
  6. 00
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  8. 00
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» See also 168 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Loved the symbolism, disorientation, and potent dose of philosophy at the end. A goldmine of ideas in a dream narrative, but not really a thriller by today's standards. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Sep 26, 2015 |
With amazing suspense and continual anticipation, Chesterton positions the reader to the edge of their seats on a wild ride with twists, turns, and delightful encounters. It was a joy to read this work of genius. It was a shorter book. However, with the style and prose of Chesterton, it takes longer than usual. It was well worth the time and investment. ( )
  Noah_Schumacher | Apr 28, 2015 |
There are so many reviews which comment on the religious allegory of this book so I will refrain from doing that, except to say I enjoyed the "dueling with the devil" scene the most. There are also many reviews that mention how weird the story gets. Agreed. Completely. This is one of those situations in a story where purpose overshadows plot because the whole thing is really quite ridiculous. In a nutshell, Gabriel Symes is an undercover detective who infiltrates an anarchist group (Council of the Seven Days) only to find that the entire membership, with the exception of its leader, is made up of undercover New Detective Corps members. Each member goes by a day of the week for an alias, hence the Council of the Seven Days. Symes has just been nominated as "Thursday". As a collective week they are all trying to get at the elusive leader, "Sunday". Except, they are all in the dark as to each others true identities. What I find curious is that when Sunday sniffs out a spy his fears are confirmed when the undercover policeman reveals he is carrying his membership card to the anti-anarchist constabulary. Wouldn't you remove that piece of evidence, especially if you bother to go through the trouble of wearing an elaborate disguise? Gogol posed as a hairy Pole, accent and all. The Professor posed as an invalid old man with a huge nose. Turns out, all six policemen are carrying the tell-tale blue identification card. Not one of them thought to leave it at home. But, I digress. For most of the story it is a cat and mouse game with the good guys chasing the bad guys (until one by one, they find out they are all good guys). The theme of "who can you trust" is ongoing. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Feb 13, 2015 |
Warning, spoilers. I have been wanting to read this book for some time, primarily because it is universally admired. The book deserves its reputation. Chesterton is an apologist for christianity, albeit a very cogent and intelligent one. This work of fiction functions on its surface as an intriguing detective story, but ultimately is an allegory on free will. I will have to reread it several times to fully plumb its depths. Put simply, the protagonist Symes is a police detective who infiltrates an anarchist group, which ruling members are code-named after days of the week. Symes becomes Thursday. The group's leader is Sunday. A bomb-throwing assasination plot is launched in France, and in the course of attempting to thwart it, Symes discovers that all members except Sunday are in fact policemen who have infiltrated a group composed essentially of themselves. The unsolved mystery at the novel's conclusion is: Who is Sunday? The book is short, and contains some fantastical, almost Bond-like, elements: a spinning table that screws itself into a subterranean chamber; chases by motorcar and horseback; Sunday's flight mounted atop an elephant; and, Sunday's attempted escape in a hot air balloon. The images of London are almost psychedelic in their imagery. The book is a page turner and I finished it in a Saturday morning. ( )
  nemoman | Nov 8, 2014 |
I have read this book after reading somewhere that Jim Crase liked it, I think. If so, I can’t say I share his feelings. I’m not sure I like any allegories as they too rigidly allow an idea or moral to dictate all the other elements of the story, including the characterisation and plot.

This allegory, of course, becomes more and more fantastical and then closer and closer to biblical ideas. Initially I thought I was in for a sort of detective story but as it became clear what was going on, I felt somewhat impatient as each anarchist was unmasked as a detective. Then it became more like a dream sequence before ending up with Sunday assuming the role of God with his Christ-like question about whether others can bear the pain he takes on.

The difference between this and Crase’s writing is that while Crase has unlimited creativity in his writing, it is more subtle and convincing. In the end I’m not sure of the point of Chesterton’s novel – is to persuade us that we all suffer and are well meaning? No doubt a second reading would help me to understand this, but I would prefer to read something else. I guess my inability to see the humorous side weighed down the book for me.

I believe this was a hugely popular novel when it was published. Perhaps the religious analogies were more readily accepted then. To me some of its generalising seems somewhat dubious such as the description of Gregory’s sister: ‘her face was grave and open, and there had fallen upon it the shadow of that unreasoning responsibility which is at the bottom of the most frivolous woman, the maternal watch which is as old as the world’ or this idea : ‘it is always the humble man who talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely’. ( )
1 vote evening | Aug 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
The novel increasingly revels in the disorder of dreams. Chesterton's great achievement is to imbue the everyday world with wonder; everything becomes exotic and fantastical. His portrayal of London in particular is an enchanting evocation of the modern metropolis – the city is rendered as a psychedelic wonderland, as both an ocean and a mountain range, as both the depths of hell and the unexplored surface of a foreign planet.

» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
G. K. Chestertonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covell, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keith, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muniz, Alicia BleibergTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorn, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Edmund C. Bentley
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The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset.
"can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375757910, Paperback)

In an article published the day before his death, G.K. Chesterton called The Man Who Was Thursday "a very melodramatic sort of moonshine." Set in a phantasmagoric London where policemen are poets and anarchists camouflage themselves as, well, anarchists, his 1907 novel offers up one highly colored enigma after another. If that weren't enough, the author also throws in an elephant chase and a hot-air-balloon pursuit in which the pursuers suffer from "the persistent refusal of the balloon to follow the roads, and the still more persistent refusal of the cabmen to follow the balloon."

But Chesterton is also concerned with more serious questions of honor and truth (and less serious ones, perhaps, of duels and dualism). Our hero is Gabriel Syme, a policeman who cannot reveal that his fellow poet Lucian Gregory is an anarchist. In Chesterton's agile, antic hands, Syme is the virtual embodiment of paradox:

He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realization; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene. Hence the child, during his tenderer years, was wholly unacquainted with any drink between the extremes of absinthe and cocoa, of both of which he had a healthy dislike.... Being surrounded with every conceivable kind of revolt from infancy, Gabriel had to revolt into something, so he revolted into the only thing left--sanity.
Elected undercover into the Central European Council of anarchists, Syme must avoid discovery and save the world from any bombings in the offing. As Thursday (each anarchist takes the name of a weekday--the only quotidian thing about this fantasia) does his best to undo his new colleagues, the masks multiply. The question then becomes: Do they reveal or conceal? And who, not to mention what, can be believed? As The Man Who Was Thursday proceeds, it becomes a hilarious numbers game with a more serious undertone--what happens if most members of the council actually turn out to be on the side of right? Chesterton's tour de force is a thriller that is best read slowly, so as to savor his highly anarchic take on anarchy. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:02 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Chesterton's masterpiece is a surreal, psychologically thrilling novel which centres on seven anarchists in turn of the century London who call themselves by the names of days of the week.

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776

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