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From MacDonald to Magical Realism: Faith and Fantasy with the Romantics, Marquez, Murakami, and Van Halen

In a genuine fairy-story, everything must be miraculous, mysterious, and interrelated; everything must be alive, each in its way. The whole of Nature must be wondrously blended with the whole world of Spirit.[1] Novalis, cited in George MacDonald, Phantastes While reading Phantastes I knew that I had crossed a great frontier. I had already been […]

The Lizard or the Stallion? George MacDonald on the Retroactivity of Heaven and Hell in The Great Divorce

Although C. S. Lewis is considered one of the world’s foremost apologists of the twentieth century, we would do well to remember that without George MacDonald, we might not have Lewis. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis explains that his imagination was “baptized” by MacDonald’s Phantastes.[1] Reading this novel set Lewis on the path […]

On George MacDonald

G.K. Chesterton on one of his favorite authors, George MacDonald. This piece was written as an introduction to George MacDonald and His Wife, by Greville M. MacDonald (MacDonald’s son), 1924. Certain magazines have symposiums (I will call them ‘symposia’ if I am allowed to call the two separate South Kensington collections ‘musea’) in which persons […]

MacDonald, George

MacDonald, God planted us all on the border of Fairyland. Every time we open one of your books, we cross the threshold and follow the rainbow. Oh! To get to the land whence the shadows fall; Raging seas, nor extreme old age will stop our sojourn: ‘Go across the waves, your feet will make no […]

Aëranths, Angels, and Allegory

C.S. Lewis, a literary-bent mind if ever there was, had the habit of discussing other writers (and their influences on him) within his own stories. In Out of the Silent Planet, for instance, Dr. Ransom can’t help but envision the loathsome brutes of H.G. Wells’s fantasies while en route to the alien world of Malacandra.[1] […]

Lilith and The Queen’s Gambit: Two Ingenue Who Learn Love Through Sacrifice

Lilith, MacDonald’s final novel written forty years after Phantastes, continues its themes of nature throbbing with vitality, shrouded in beauty, and birthing joy. One key insight from Phantastes, that love is only complete when it is fully self-sacrificing, is central to the message of Lilith. The sacrifice in Lilith goes beyond mere selflessness to become […]

Fight the Miserable Things: Reflections on Joy in At the Back of the North Wind

Ironically, viewing the year 2020 in hindsight may bring more despair and confusion than comfort and clarity of vision. As a result, we may turn often to literature of significance and meaning to regain lost joy. The Victorian author George MacDonald wrote a children’s tale about a boy’s very encouraging experience that he allowed to […]

Old MacDonald’s Dish: A Hearty Serving of George MacDonald’s Thoughts on the Imagination and its Relevance to Contemporary Apologetics

The writer of Psalm 42 is “in despair” and cries out to the Lord in the midst of his tribulation, “All Thy breakers and waves have rolled over me,” he laments.[1] The tumult and roar of the seas is a metaphor for distress. Even in the midst of being “cast down” the psalmist had employed […]