Monday, October 02, 2006

Magic: The Play

In doing some research on magic, I came across this amazing quote about Chesterton's first play, called "Magic", which was performed 165 times in England, and then again in New York. Here is the review:

The author of Magic ought to be told plainly that his play...has been treated with far too much indulgence in the public press. I will glide mercifully over the most glaring errors, which the critics have overlooked--no Irishman could become so complete a cad merely by going to America--that no young lady would walk about in the rain so soon before it was necessary to dress for dinner...The Secretary disappears half way through the play...By the exercise of that knowledge of all human hearts which descends on any man...the moment he is a dramatic critic, I perceive that the author of Magic originally wrote it as a short story. It is a bad play, because it was a good short story.

This was the only known instance that Chesterton reviewed, yes, himself.


  1. Very interesting, Nancy! See the post on Dr. Thursday's blog about Chesterton on the difference between good plays and good stories, and the combox as well:

  2. Is it true that the short story version of "Magic" is beleived to be lost?

  3. According to Dale Ahlquist's lecture series on line at the acs web site:

    The play was based on a short story that Chesterton had written many years earlier, but which is now lost.

    But we can still look for it, can't we? Things turn up every day...people find things in books that they buy at second hand book shops, attics reveal their secrets, etc. We keep looking...

  4. We can put Geir Hasnes on the trail! :-)

  5. Go for it. At least he's on the right side of the pond.


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