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A masterpiece in two parts, G.K. Chesterton's Manalive is a commentary on the "Holy Fool" trope that shows up in many classic texts such as Don Quixote. The book follows the fun loving Innocent Smith who, after bringing joy to a boarding house, is charged with a series of crimes including attempted murder. The second half covers the trial which, through many twists and turns, brings out a stunning conclusion that touches upon many larger ideas. At the center of the novel is the idea of human life, and what makes everyday living worthwhile.
no resistance, but was still laughing in a groggy and half-witted style. Arthur Inglewood followed in the rear, a dark and red study in the last shades of distress and shame. In this black, funereal, and painfully realistic style the exit from Beacon House was made by a man whose entrance a day before had been effected by the happy leaping of a wall and the hilarious climbing of a tree. No one moved of the groups in the garden except Mary Gray, who stepped forward quite naturally, calling out,
like to claim the power permitted by our previous arrangement, and ask the prosecution two or three questions.” Dr. Cyrus Pym closed his eyes to indicate a courteous assent. “In the first place,” continued Moon, “have you the date of Canon Hawkins’s last glimpse of Smith and Percy climbing up the walls and roofs?” “Ho, yus!” called out Gould smartly. “November thirteen, eighteen ninety-one.” “Have you,” continued Moon, “identified the houses in Hoxton up which they climbed?” “Must have been
and dolls while they slept? Could a Greek tragedy be more gray and cruel than that daybreak and awakening? Dog-stealer, horse-stealer, man-stealer—can you think of anything so base as a toy-stealer?” “‘The burglar, as if absently, took a large revolver from his pocket and laid it on the table beside the decanter, but still kept his blue reflective eyes fixed on my face. “‘“Man!” I said, “all stealing is toy-stealing. That’s why it’s really wrong. The goods of the unhappy children of men should
direction, and before he spoke I knew what he meant. Beyond the great green rock in the purple sky hung a single star. “‘“A star in the east,” he said in a strange hoarse voice like one of our ancient eagles’. “The wise men followed the star and found the house. But if I followed the star, should I find the house?” “‘“It depends perhaps,” I said, smiling, “on whether you are a wise man.” I refrained from adding that he certainly didn’t look it. “‘“You may judge for yourself,” he answered. “I
the worst modern poets will enable us to guess that ‘ringed with a glory of red,’ or ‘ringed with its passionate red,’ was the line that rhymed to ‘head.’ In this case once more, therefore, there is good reason to suppose that Smith fell in love with a girl with some sort of auburn or darkish-red hair—rather,” he said, looking down at the table, “rather like Miss Gray’s hair.” Cyrus Pym was leaning forward with lowered eyelids, ready with one of his more pedantic interpellations; but Moses Gould