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Phantastes (Fantasy Stories) [Paperback]

By George MacDonald (Author)
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Item description for Phantastes (Fantasy Stories) by George MacDonald...

Anodos enters a dream-like fairyland of tree-spirits and magic, where he searches for the spirit of the Earth

Publishers Description
Introduction by C. S. LewisIn October 1857, George MacDonald wrote what he described as a kind of fairy tale, in the hope that it will pay me better than the more evidently serious work. This was "Phantastes" -- one of MacDonald s most important works; a work which so overwhelmed C. S. Lewis that a few hours after he began reading it he knew he had crossed a great frontier. The book is about the narrator s (Anodos) dream-like adventures in fairyland, where he confronts tree-spirits and the shadow, sojourns to the palace of the fairy queen, and searches for the spirit of the earth. The tale is vintage MacDonald, conveying a profound sadness and a poignant longing for death.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Phantastes (Fantasy Stories) by George MacDonald has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Newsweek - 03/03/2008 page 14

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   197
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1999
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Grade Level  Multiple Grades  
Series  Fantasy Stories  
ISBN  0802860605  
ISBN13  9780802860606  

Availability  5 units.
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More About George MacDonald

George MacDonald George Macdonald was born at Huntly, in the western part of Aberdeenshire on 10 December, 1824, the son of George Macdonald, farmer, and Helen MacKay. He was educated in country schools where Gaelic myths and Old Testament stories abounded. He then went on to Aberdeen University in the early 1840's obtaining awards in Moral Philosophy and Sciences. Next he studied for the Congregationalist ministry at Highbury College, London.

In 1850 he was made pastor at Arundel, West Sussex, England. MacDonald resigned however after three years of not living up to the congregational authorities’ expectations for more dogmatic sermons and being accused of heresy. Rejecting his Calvinist upbringing and doctrine of predestination, he came to believe in the divine presence but not divine providence and felt that everyone was capable of redemption.

George MacDonald married Louisa Powell in 1851 and they had six sons and five daughters together. One of their sons, Greville Macdonald would later become a writer himself and author a biography of his father. After a stay in Algiers to gain his health back MacDonald returned to England to tutor and write to provide for his ever-growing family and preach freelance when time permitted. Despite his successful career as a published writer he was continually forced to rely on the charity of his friends. Lady Byron was one such patron who assisted him until her death in 1860 as well as John Ruskin. MacDonald was mentor to C.S. Lewis; formed a strong friendship with Mark Twain after a tumultuous start and G. K. Chesterton, Henry Longfellow, and Walt Whitman were also counted among his friends. Some of his early poetry was Within and Without (1855) and Poems (1857), however his first real successes came with his Scottish country life stories such as David Elginbrod (1862), Alec Forbes (1865) and Robert Falconer (1868).

The 1870s brought an invitation for MacDonald to tour and lecture in America. He was well-received by huge audiences and by writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. A well-paid ministerial position was offered him but he chose to return to England. In 1877 he was pensioned at the request of Queen Victoria. The ill health that had plagued MacDonald the greater part of his life forced him to seek the warmer climates of Europe. One of his daughters was taken to Italy for a cure in 1877 though she ended up dying. However Macdonald found the climate of such benefit to his own maladies that he spent most of the years from 1881 to 1902 in Bordighera, Italy, "Heaven of the English" in his house "Casa Coraggio." His wife was the organist of the Catholic church there and they often held concerts and amateur plays in their home socializing and having a merry time. Titles published around this time were Sir Gibbie (1879), Donal Grant (1883), and the moral allegories Lilith (1895) and Robert Falconer (1868) show MacDonald's early distaste for the limiting Calvinist God's electing to love some and denying it to others.

Louisa Powell died one year after her and George's golden wedding anniversary, in 1902. George Macdonald, after a long illness, died at Ashstead, Surrey, England on 18 September, 1905. His remains were cremated and they were taken to his beloved Bordighera for interment alongside his wife. A memorial to George MacDonald has been erected in the Drumblade Churchyard, Aberdeenshire.

In his George MacDonald: An Anthology (1947) C. S. Lewis states that while reading a copy of MacDonald's Phantastes (1858) "a few hours later," through inspiration of the gentle Christian's words "I knew I had crossed a great frontier.".... "I know hardly any other writer who seems closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ himself." W.H. Auden and J. R. R. Tolkien also admired his efforts. Phantastes was to become a definitive work of MacDonald's career. Through his writing, peppered with the Doric Dialect, he asserted that there was a God and art and the expression of creativity of spirit brought one closer to Him. Other successful titles were At the Back of the North Wind (1871), The Princess and the Goblin (published sometime in the 1880s) and it's sequel The Princess and Curdie (1883). The Diary of an Old Soul first published posthumously in 1965 strikes a deeper note of thoughtfulness where MacDonald offers a prayer for each day of the year.

George MacDonald was born in 1824 and died in 1905.

George MacDonald has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classics for Young Readers
  2. Everyman's Library Children's Classics
  3. Focus on the Family Radio Theatre
  4. Penguin Classics
  5. Sunburst Book

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Macdonald, George
4Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > MacDonald, George
5Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General
6Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction > Fantasy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Fiction > General Christian > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Phantastes?

a reminder of fantasy in 1858  Mar 12, 2008
Phantastes, by George MacDonald, was first published in 1858. The somewhat rambling prose style reflects the writing of that era. In spite of the wordiness, the story is delightful and very interesting. I was impressed that the yearnings of the main character and the yearnings of us 21rst- century humans are largely the same. On the whole, I much enjoyed the tale.
A difficult read but good nonetheless  Feb 22, 2008
This book is well worth the effort it takes to read. Mr. Macdonald's writing style is difficult to say the least, however, the richness of the storyline makes it well worth the effort. This is a book that I intend on reading again and each time I read I will update my review of the book.
Phantastes is fantastic  Oct 31, 2007
MacDonald is a master of fantasty, and in the "Phantastes" he is at his best. MacDonald's best is providing a window that looks out on the world in way you have never seen before. That window is fairie land, and he combines both the strange, original, and striking with the a masterly handle on familiar types and images. You will meet the fairies, tree spirits, castles, a beautiful maiden, the round-table knight, and other fairy staples. You will be challenged to imagine new things. The hero of the story is Anodos, a man without any distinct purpose in his life. He is thrown into fairie land and sets off to find his ideal, and in the end finds his purpose. It is a journey worth taking with him. Even if you do not agree completely with MacDonald (I don't), it is well worth the while to sit under his imagination. He will teach you to see the world differently.
Father of modern fantasy- or father of depth psychology?   Oct 6, 2007
I was not sure what to expect from this novel. I had from reading C.S. Lewis known that he considered MacDonald to be his "master." I also knew that he was highly regarded by both J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton. Then there was the fact that so many called him the father of modern fantasy. In light of this I expected to find an early adventure tale set in faeryland with a few elves and dragons thrown in- and interlaced with Christian platitudes. I could not have been more wrong...

What I found beneath the dense Victorian and Scottish veneer of his writing style was pure depth psychology- written in 1858!

It is all here: anima, animus, shadow, Self, the higher spiritual world as the source of patterns (archetypes), the subconscious reached through dreams- and through the plane of the mirror or of the surface of the waters, the necessity that the ego or small self must die that the Self find its place. Then there are hints and suggestions of the earth, or even faery, as a place of struggle for the purpose of growth and transcendence. Chapter 24 gives hints of the immortal part of the soul separating from the body for spiritual life- or rebirth ("take to itself another form.")

In short, there is no "fantasy" here, for George MacDonald instead broke through into the Higher Reality. His Faeryland is the higher spiritual world that interfaces with our own like veins of silver through granite. No, I would not call McDonald the father of fantasy, but I would call him the father of depth psychology, for he had obviously anticipated Jung's life work- and even gone directly to his hard-won spiritual conclusions. Both men crossed the plane of the subconscious to bring back Truth, for as C.S. Lewis told us in THE GREAT DIVORCE, MacDonald would never lie to us.
A Mystery Indeed  Aug 14, 2007
Why am I writing a review on this? I'm not entirely sure. This book is probably the most confusing I have ever read. I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't understand it at all. That is not to say that I never will - I very much hope to someday. I was for some reason deeply moved by many passages from this book, although as I say I had no clear notion of the point.
I hesitantly recommend this book - but not as a first MacDonald. The Curdie books are excellent for adults as well as children, and as far adult fare, 'Lilith' I think is more approachable.

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