G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOL. CXXI (ff. 182). Plays, including fragments, n ... 

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 58 Add MS 73306
  • Alternative Id.
      (ark) ark:/81055/vdc_100000000292.0x000047
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      1 item

Scope and Content

G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOL. CXXI (ff. 182). Plays, including fragments, not published in Chesterton's lifetime; circa 1891 - circa 1930. Other plays and fragments, in notebooks, and on leaves extracted from the early notebooks up to 1901 are to be found in Add. 73314-73347, 73349.


1. ff. 1-17. 'The cottage: a play in two acts'; circa 1930. Typewritten copy. Published in The G. K. Chesterton Quarterly, no. 19 (Summer 2001), pp. 7-11, 14.

2. ff. 18-27. 'The return of the prodigal: a tragedy of Irish history'; circa 1892. Autograph.

3. ff. 28-41. 'The simple life'; circa 1910. In the hand of Frances Chesterton.

4. ff. 42-43. 'The soul of James'; circa 1902. In the hand of Frances Chesterton.

5. ff. 44-47. 'The three priests'; circa 1904. Autograph. See also Add. 73307, 73330 B, 73349.

6. ff. 48-54. 'Fading thoughts' and 'The tragic women; a tragedy'; 1928. Typewritten copy. The original MS. is in the Marion E. Wade Centre, Wheaton College, Illinois. Published in The G. K. Chesterton Quarterly, no. 18 (Spring 2001), pp. 10, 11, 14. The prologue 'Fading thoughts' had been published as 'Apology' in C.W., vol. 10, pp. 269-270. Performed at the Garden Theatre, August 1928.

7. ff. 55-62. List of scenes, scenes 1, 2 and the opening of scene 3 of 'The carpenter's son: a miracle play'; circa 1891. Scene 2 and the opening of scene 3 published as 'Dialogue between Our Lord and St Joseph' in C.W., vol. 11, pp. 33-36.

8. ff. 64-71. Title leaf and fragmentary drafts of 'Dives: a mystery'; circa 1895. Autograph.

9. ff. 72-74. Three leaves of a dramatisation of 'The man who was Thursday', circa 1910. Two leaves probably in the hand of Rhoda Bastable, one leaf, numbered 11, typewritten, and published in C.W., vol. 6, pp. 24-25.

10. ff. 75-76. Synopsis of 'St George and the dragon'; circa 1907. Typewritten copy. See also Add. 73355 D, 73356 A. For an account of the toy theatre and summary of this play see G. Knollys [i.e. G. K. Blogg], 'Mr Gilbert Chesterton and his toy theatre' in The Girls' Realm, vol. 10, no. 106 (June 1907), pp. 617-623 (cutting in Add. 73393, ff. 117-120v).

11. ff. 77-101. Two drafts, with fair copies of the songs to be sung during the action, of 'Shipwrecked off Fairyland'; circa 1896. Autograph. With a further typewritten copy of the song 'The mulberry bush' copied from an autograph in the possession of Mildred d'Avigdor. The songs 'The literal land' published in Greybeards at Play (new. ed., 1974), pp. 101-102, 'The song of the sea-wealth' published in C.W., vol. 10, p. 480. The song sung by the professor is the basis of the opening verses of 'The oneness of the philosopher with nature' in Greybeards at Play, see references at Add. 73242 A, B.

12. ff. 102-112. Untitled play including characters of Maid Marian, Robin Hood, and Franz Steinthal of the Parents' National Educational Union; [1904]. Autograph. For an account of the performance of this play and a brief extract see M. Ffinch, op. cit., pp. 113-114; for photographs of the cast see Add. 73372 A, ff. 212-215.

13. ff. 113-152. Papers for an untitled play centred on the priesthood; circa 1928. Draft autograph with amendments, with a photocopy of two further leaves formerly in the possession of Aidan Mackey and published as 'The ages are passing' in C.W., vol. 6, pp. 341-343. Also includes two typewritten texts, one possibly from Add. 73359 A, where the characters have different names, the other, compiled by D. J. Conlon in 1997 including all fragments (except those already published). Published as 'The centuries are passing' in The G. K. Chesterton Quarterly, no. 6-9 (Spring - Winter 1998).

14. ff. 153-182. Fragments of short plays; circa 1894 - circa 1930. Autograph and typewritten.

Frances Alice Chesterton, née Blogg; wife of G K Chesterton: Transcriptions and amendments of works by G. K. Chesterton: [1902]-circa 1911: Autogr.


  • ff. 72-74 Rhoda Bastable, cousin of F A Chesterton: Transcriptions of works by G. K. Chesterton by Rhoda Bastable: [1905]-circa 1906: Autogr.

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