The Napoleon of Notting Hill

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The Napoleon of Notting Hill
The Napoleon of Notting Hill - cover - Project Gutenberg eText 20058.jpg
cover of The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Author G. K. Chesterton
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Speculative fiction, political satire
Publisher Bodley Head (first edition)
Publication date
1904
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 300 pp
ISBN 0-486-26551-X (recent edition)
OCLC 22346022
823/.912 20
LC Class PR4453.C4 N3 1991

The Napoleon of Notting Hill is a novel written by G. K. Chesterton in 1904, set in a nearly unchanged London in 1984.

Although the novel is set in the future, it is, in effect, set in an alternative reality of Chesterton's own period, with no advances in technology or changes in the class system or attitudes. It postulates an impersonal government, not described in any detail, but apparently content to operate through a figurehead king, randomly chosen.

Synopsis[edit]

The dreary succession of randomly selected Kings of England is broken up when Auberon Quin, who cares for nothing but a good joke, is chosen. To amuse himself, he institutes elaborate costumes for the provosts of the districts of London. All are bored by the King's antics except for one earnest young man who takes the cry for regional pride seriously – Adam Wayne, the eponymous Napoleon of Notting Hill.

Influence[edit]

Michael Collins, who led the fight for Irish independence from British Rule, is known to have admired the book.[1] There has been speculation that the setting of the book prompted the date chosen for the setting of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.[2] The novel is also quoted at the start of Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere.

Both the novel and Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday are referenced in the 2000 video game Deus Ex.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "This was the man who wrote a novel called The Napoleon of Notting Hill, which inspired Michael Collins to lead a movement for Irish Independence." Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him?, lecture by Dale Ahlquist, President, American Chesterton Society
  2. ^ McCrum, Robert (10 May 2009). "The masterpiece that killed George Orwell". London: The Observer. Retrieved 24 May 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 77. 

External links[edit]