…I recur here to my personal point about the tendency to miss what the title means; or even what the title says… In a rambling column, whether because it is personal or impersonal, it is permissible to introduce personal trifles about oneself, as well as about other people, so long as it is made sufficiently obvious that they are trifling. And I may remark in this connexion, or disconnexion, that I happen to have a very strong objection to that trick of missing the point of a story, or sometimes even the obvious sense of the very name of a story. I have sometimes had occasion to murmur meekly that those who endure the heavy labour of reading a book might possibly endure that of reading the title-page of a book. For there are more examples than may be imagined, in which earnest critics might solve many of their problems about what a book is, merely by discovering what it professes to be.
…It is odd that one example occurred in my own case… in a book called The Man Who was Thursday. It was a very melodramatic sort of moonshine, but it had a kind of notion in it; and the point is that it described, first a band of the last champions of order fighting against what appeared to be a world of anarchy, and then the discovery that the mysterious master both of the anarchy and the order was the same sort of elemental elf who had appeared to be rather too like a pantomime ogre. This line of logic, or lunacy, led many to infer that this equivocal being was meant for a serious description of the Deity; and my work even enjoyed a temporary respect among those who like the Deity to be so described. But this error was entirely due to the fact that they had read the book but had not read the title page. In my case, it is true, it was a question of a subtitle rather than a title. The book was called The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. It was not intended to describe the real world as it was, or as I thought it was, even when my thoughts were considerably less settled than they are now. It was intended to describe the world of wild doubt and despair which the pessimists were generally describing at that date; with just a gleam of hope in some double meaning of the doubt, which even the pessimists felt in some fitful fashion.