(1824-1905) was a Scottish preacher and teacher as well as an author of
thirty novels, numerous fairy tales, poetry, essays, and sermons. He was
one of the most original of nineteenth century thinkers.
MacDonald’s writing and
lecturing brought him great recognition and introduced him into the
company of many of the leading Victorians of the time. His friends
included many of the English pre-Raphaelites, social reformers such as
Octavia Hill, radical churchmen such as F.D. Maurice, and, across the
Atlantic, Emerson, Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Mark Twain.
MacDonald’s writing has
outstanding imaginative power, largely influenced by the German and
English Romantics. Through his visionary theology, MacDonald has made his
greatest contributions in the realms of fantasy and children’s literature.
His fairy tales for children and his two fantasies for adults are his best
literary achievements. At the Back of the North Wind, The
Princess and The Goblin and The Princess and Curdie have found
a permanent place on children’s bookshelves. A number of writers of
children’s literature refer to him as the greatest writer of fantasy for
Phantastes is recognized as a classic of adult fantasy writing. It was
Phantastes which C.S. Lewis read as a teenager that initiated his
extraordinary imagination. Other well known authors besides Lewis who have
been influenced by MacDonald include G.K. Chesterton, W.H. Auden, and
MacDonald’s novels were
popular in his day, but then fell out of favor, partly because of his
didacticism, and were out of print for many years. His novels have some of
the finest Christian teaching. Two of his major themes are the loving
(tough love) nature of our Father God and the importance of obedience in
our Christian growth.
The impact of many of his
novels is being rediscovered, particularly in Scotland and the United
States. His influence on both John Ruskin and Lewis Carroll was profound
and his influence upon twentieth century literature has been far-reaching,
mainly through other writers. The works of C. S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton
and W.H. Auden bear a witness to the power of MacDonald’s imagination, a
power which remains undiminished for the reader of today.
Since the formation of the
George MacDonald Society in 1981, there has been an upsurge of interest in
MacDonald, and his literary works.
You can visit a
web site dedicated to him and his works here!
(Note: You can also read his various works on
this site as well)