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George MacDonald

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. As an author, he was a primary influence on C.S. Lewis and a generation of early 20th century fantasy authors.

He was born on December 10, 1824 at Huntly[?], Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His father, a farmer, was one of the Macdonalds of Glencoe, and a direct descendant of one of the families that suffered in the massacre of 1692.

Macdonald grew up influenced by his Congregational Church, with an atmosphere of Calvinism.

He took his degree at Aberdeen University, and then migrated to London, studying at Highbury College for the Congregational ministry.

In 1850 he was appointed pastor of Trinity Congregational Church, Arundel, and later was engaged in ministerial work in Manchester. He left that because of poor health, and after a short sojourn in Algiers he settled in London and became an author.

His most well-known works are Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin and Lilith, all fantasy novels.

Partial list of works:

  • Within and Without (1856)
  • Poems (1857)
  • Phantastes (1858)
  • David Elginbrod (1862)
  • Alec Forbes of Howglen (1865)
  • Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood (1866)
  • Robert Falconer (1868)
  • Malcolm (1875)
  • The Marquis of Lossie (1877)
  • Donal Grant (1883)
  • Lilith (1895)

He was for a time editor of Good Words for the Young, and lectured successfully in America in 1872-1873. He wrote admirable stories for the young, and published some volumes of sermons. In 1877 he was given a civil list pension. He died on September 18, 1905.

MacDonald's use of fantasy as a literary medium for exploring the human condition greatly influenced a generation of such notable authors as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle[?].

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e-texts of some of George MacDonald's works:

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