The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald

The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald

The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald

The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald

Excerpt

This book could hardly be more timely. George MacDonald is one of the most individual and intriguing of nineteenth-century writers and academic interest in his work has grown considerably over the past ten to fifteen years. The reasons for this are linked to recent developments in criticism, many of which are touched on in the essays in this volume, and which have shown MacDonald's writing as more valuable and important than it was previously held to be.

The aim of this volume is to bring together new essays by leading MacDonald critics in order to show the vitality and depth of current MacDonald criticism. It is hoped that this book will stimulate further research on MacDonald, establishing him more firmly as a subject for serious study. All the essays have been written specially for this book; all deal with some important aspect of MacDonald's writing. As a collection it is the first of its kind.

MacDonald's enduring works have been his children's books -- notably At the Back of the North Wind ( 1871), The Princess and the Goblin ( 1872), The Princess and Curdie ( 1883) and the handful of fairy tales collected in The Golden Key ( 1867). MacDonald's two adult fantasy novels Phantastes ( 1858) and Lilith ( 1895) have also remained in print, appearing regularly in new editions since they were first published, and are now recognised as classics of their kind.

Both children's literature and fantasy literature have become established as genres for critical study in recent years, especially in the States. As one of the outstanding children's authors of the nineteenth century and a pioneer of fantasy writing, MacDonald has become the just focus of increased attention. As an acknowledged influence on many authors who came after him -- authors such as E. Nesbit, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot -- MacDonald is one of those rare writers whose work is a starting point for evaluating the achievments of others. New forms of critical theory-Jungian, psychoanalytic and feminist -- turning towards the exploration of sexuality and the fantastic -- have also found fitting subjects in MacDonald's texts.

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