Monday, March 8, 2010
Last weekend Tim Burton's take on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was released in theaters. I thought that this may be a good time to bring up another author who was friends with Lewis and influential in the publication of Alice in Wonderland. That person is George MacDonald.
Although he is little heard of today, MacDonald was a very successful author in the latter half of the 19th century. According to the George MacDonald Informational Web: George MacDonald was one of the most respected authors of his generation in 19th century Scotland. He wrote over fifty books, nearly half of them novels for adults, along with some theological studies, several volumes of essays & criticism, a few volumes of poetry, and three best selling children's novels accompanied by a couple more volumes of fairytales. He wrote in nearly every literary genre. Although today much of his poetry and adult fiction would be considered rather prosaic, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, it was fantasy that he really excelled in. His only two fantasy novels written for adults--Phantastes and Lilith--are often spoken of as two of the best novels ever written in the English language. His three fantasy novels for children, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and the Curdie, and At the Back of the North Wind are so strange and otherworldly that adults often enjoy them as much, or more, than children. The latter tale is still his best-selling book ever. Strangely though, it was his non-fantasy adult fiction that sold best throughout his lifetime."
George MacDonald and Lewis Carroll (a.k.a Charles Dodgson)were friends. He brought his manuscript of Alice's Adventures Underground to MacDonald and asked for his opinion on it. MacDonald gave it to his wife and had her read it to their children. The children heartily approved of it, of course.
Many of MacDonald's works are available on Project Gutenberg. I recommend The Princess and the Goblin, The Light Princess and Lilith. For a little taste of his work now, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite MacDonald quotes.
Love is the opener as well as closer of eyes.
You can't live on amusement. It is the froth on water - an inch deep and then the mud.
To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power
Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon.
Posted by Kara Lynn Russell at 2:44 PM