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The Napoleon of Notting Hill by [Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith)]
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Length: 148 pages

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Product Details

  • File Size: 267 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 146371842X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 26, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TZMCV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,903 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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By Michael Wischmeyer on September 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
This short book, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, written 100 years ago, is a futuristic fantasy, a political satire, a prophetic tale, and a comic novel, all intertwined. Published in 1904, The Napoleon of Notting Hill was G. K. Chesterton's first novel. It has been called the best first novel by any author in the twentieth century.

It has been some years since my first reading of The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Once again I find it to be enjoyable, humorous, highly entertaining, and decidedly thought provoking.

The setting is London in the year 1984, 80 years in the future. Chesterton had tired of endless predictions of futuristic technologies. His future London is identical to Edwardian London - all technological advance halted in 1904. One change is notable: the people have lost faith in political revolutions. Only slow, gradual change, akin to Darwinian evolution, was fashionable. No one was interested in voting, and consequently, democracy had withered away. A ruling monarch, a king, was selected in some capricious, random manner from the governmental class. All was well until Auberon Quin was chosen to rule as king.

As a lark, the new King designs colorful, medieval style uniforms, required dress for all governmental representatives of the London boroughs on official occasions. Reluctantly, city officials comply with the king's ridiculous wish to revitalize local patriotism. Unexpectedly, the Provost of Notting Hill, a sober young man named Adam Wayne, a man without humor, takes the King's command seriously. An attempt by other London boroughs to route a major thoroughfare through Notting Hill leads not only to acrimony, but to actual warfare.
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Format: Paperback
Chesterton is one of the neglected giants of 20th-century English literature. This book ought to be considered a minor classic of both fantasy and political allegory. It tells the story of the consequences of a decree issued on a whim by a bored governor that London be devolved into districts corresponding roughly to its ancient boroughs, and each given municipal rituals in order to instil a sense of civic belonging. This joke takes on a life of its own, as the citizens of the "new" boroughs take the battle - eventually, literally a battle - to each other. The Napoleon of the title is Adam Wayne, an enthusiastic *citoyen* who takes the new arrangements with great seriousness - and whose territorial aggrandisement and downfall mirror Napoleon's career. The point that Chesterton intimates - in a vastly more effective, because more subtle, way than more explicitly political novelists, such as Upton Sinclair - is that small and knowable communities are a desirable and indeed virtuous focus of our loyalties, but that the aggrandisement of power and territorial ambition tend to corrupt. While fashionable literary opinion (Wells, Shaw, Wyndham Lewis and so many others) was about to take a terrible wrong turning in favour of the totalitarianism of Right or Left, Chesterton's essential and very English sense of moderation formed, and continues to express, a most effective and beautifully written counterpoint.
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Format: Paperback
The theme of the Napoleon of Nottingham Hill is that it is better to live a short exciting life than a long boring one. GKC would argue that the moment when you are most lucid and the world is convinced that you are mad is exactly when you are the most sane. The Napoleon of Nottingham Hill is the story of how an irrational war among London's suburbs finally gives meaning to the lives of moderns who have become so board with living. The book also explains what humor is and how man can stand proud without sinning. If you read one book by GKC, let it be this book.
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Format: Paperback
It really amazes me that G.K. Chesterton isn't read much today, and it really bothers me when I see a list of the "classics" of the 20th century because every list cantains a multitude of works inferior to this novel.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill is set in the future (though the novel isn't futuristic, if that makes any sense at all) in a world where democracy has ceased and human emotion has almost ceased. That is, until a man with a sense of humore is randomly picked to be king. He decides (as a joke) to revive the patriotism and fashions of the 1700's in England. The country goes along with it and takes it all as a joke except for Adam Wayne, the provost of Notting Hill. He begins a war within the city which revives life in the nation.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill is told in an exuberant and comical style. You do laugh out loud at some of the situations and wit portrayed by Chesterton's pen. There is a lot of depth to the book. The king, Auberon Quinn, is symbolic of "laughter," and Adam Wayne is symbolic of "love." Chesterton uses them for his commentary on how the common man should live life. Plus, there is so much more that Chesterton comments on within these few pages which I couldn't begin to go into here.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill is an amazing novel. Any serious student of literature should read it. The Napoleon of Notting Hill is also just a fun story. Hopefully, people will once again begin to read G.K. Chesterton, and The Napoleon of Notting Hill will gain the respect that it deserves.
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