Phantastes George MacDonald
George MacDonald’s Phantastes is generally regarded as pivotal in the development of fantasy literature: it is the first ever fantasy novel written exclusively for adults. Now of course we have fantastic literature intended for an adult audience going back centuries before that, to epic poems like Thomas Chestre’s Sir Launfal in the 14th Century, or — leaving English literature behind — to the Iliad and suchforth. MacDonald, however, does bear the distinction of being the first to introduce the world to the adult fantasy in its most common present form. C.S. Lewis further cemented MacDonald as the Godfather of Fantasy by calling him “my master” and harping on at length in Surprised by Joy Read More
Some of George MacDonald’s books are available free on audiobook at Librivox because they’re in the public domain. Here’s a website devoted to George MacDonald which has some of his books in e-text formats.
Phantastes George MacDonald
I read Phantastes because it was recommended by C.S. Lewis and it’s an important part of the history of fantasy literature. I doubt it will appeal much to fantasy fans today, but I’m glad I read it just for its historical value. ~Kat Hooper
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
The Meaning Will Come with the Thing Itself...
George MacDonald wrote hundreds of stories throughout his lifetime (not surprising considering he had eleven kids!), most of which were fantasies that drew on a rich variety of sources: mythology, fairytales and Biblical mysticism. Credited by C.S. Lewis as the main inspiration behind The Chronicles of Narnia, MacDonald's dreamy little tales (especially this one) are a strange blend of frustrating ramblings and sublime imagery. Love it or hate it, At the Back of the North Wind encompasses the best and worst about MacDonald, the Victorian Era, and even children's literature itself.
Named after his father's favourite horse, Diamond is the son ... Read More
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
George MacDonald found out his talent for telling fairy tales due to the fact that he had eleven children, and after the success of At the Back of the North Wind, which was published serially in a magazine, MacDonald wrote his two most popular books: The Princess and the Goblin and its sequel The Princess and Curdie. These books inspired the two most famous fantasy authors of all time: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom are much indebted to MacDonald's innovative fairytales. It can be safely said that both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Nar... Read More
The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
The Princess and the Goblin is one of the gems of children's literature that deserves to sit on any bookshelf. The same can not be said of its sequel The Princess and Curdie, which differs so much in tone and content from the original that it is sometimes difficult to remember it is in fact a sequel to the dreamy, beautiful The Princess and the Goblin. Don't get me wrong, I love George MacDonald's wonderful books, and although there are some nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the book and Irene's grandmother is as fascinating as ever (as well as being one of the few feminine representations of Christian mysticism in children's literature) this particular MacDonald novel left me a little cold.
It begins extremely well: after the cataclysmic events at the conclusion of the previous book, the ... Read More
The Flight of the Shadow — (1891) Publisher: Softly the moon rose, round and full. There was still so much light in the sky that she made no sudden change, and for a moment I did not feel her presence or look up. In front of me, the high ground of the moor sank into a hollow, deeply indenting the horizon-line: the moon was rising just in the gap, and when I did look up, the lower edge of her disc was just clear of the earth, and the head of a man looking over the fence was in the middle of the great moon. It was like the head of a saint in a missal, girt with a halo of solid gold.
Lilith — (1895) Publisher: Lilith, by nineteenth-century Christian novelist, George MacDonald, is the chronicle of five trips taken by its narrator, Mr. Vane, into another world where, under the spell of MacDonald’s extraordinary imagination, he explores the ultimate mystery of evil. An Oxford undergraduate encounters an elusive spirit in the library of his ancestral mansion.The volume is introduced by C.S Lewis.
The Golden Key — (1967) Publisher: This is an ideal fairy tale uniquely revealing an atmosphere of spiritual peace. It is the story of a boy and a girl who live on the edge of Fairyland. The boy has been told that there is a golden key at the end of the rainbow, and this key is not to be sold and no one knows the door it can open — only that this door leads somewhere marvelous. When he finally sees a rainbow he follows it across the border into Fairyland and finds the golden key. During this time the girl, who is very much ill-treated, wanders into the Fairyland forest while following a mysterious owl-like flying fish. On this ramble she meets an attractive ageless woman and discovers that she will be journeying with the boy in search of the keyhole the key will fit. The trek is long and remarkable as they meet some wise old men and distinctive sights until, at last, they find the keyhole. The ending is a surprise, but the poet W.H. Auden recommends that the reader should just allow himself to be enthralled by these charming, haunting symbols.