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
AuthorG. K. Chesterton
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreSpeculative fiction, political satire
PublisherBodley Head (first edition)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages300 pp
ISBN0-486-26551-X (recent edition)
823/.912 20
LC ClassPR4453.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 nor changes in the class system or attitudes of the time. It postulates an impersonal government, not described in any detail, but apparently content to operate through a figurehead king, who is randomly chosen.


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.


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 Japanese translation of the book, the cover of which was illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki, bore the primary title Chesterton's 1984. The novel is also quoted at the start of Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere.

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


  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.


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