George MacDonald Fan Club

Forums -› Welcome to the Forums -› The Rabbit Room Forum -› George MacDonald Fan Club

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 68 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • Others can geek out about movies and games, but does anyone want to geek out about the Princess and the Goblin with me? Or Lilith? Or Sir Gibbie? What is your favorite George MacDonald book, and why?


    Rebecca Reynolds
    Hutchmate
    @rebeccareynolds

    Last week I checked out The Light Princess for M, and he said, “Boys don’t read books about princesses!” And I said, “Oh they read this one. How would you watch over a baby that had no gravity?” And he was intrigued. 🙂 Love that GMD.

    i have loved MacDonald longer than i’ve loved any other stories save Frances the Badger, although i’ve only read his children’s fairytales. Yes, please, let’s geek out.

    My favorite is The Princess and Curdie. i love the complexity and subtlety of the story and of Curdie’s character arc. i love Lina. And i love Ballbody and the snake with the wings and the little feet and all those hideous darlings. The idea of humans descending woke up my moral imagination and my metaphysical imagination. i love the rose fire. (i wonder if that rose fire is where i first fell in love with the beauty and nobility of tragedy.) i love the intrigue, and finding both danger and faithfulness in the shadows. i love Derba and Barbara. i love the bread and the wine. i love the cleansing. i love MacDonald’s female wisdom figures wherever i find them, and i loved this incarnation best, the last revelation most of all.

    MacDonald’s stories have shaped me, but none more than this one. It was the first time i truly lived in another world and found names there that corresponded to things i longed to know in this world.

    MacDonald’s stories have shaped me, but none more than this one. It was the first time i truly lived in another world and found names there that corresponded to things i longed to know in this world.

    @mrs-hittle, wow. That is all I can say!

    To my utter shame, I must admit that I had never even heard of George MacDonald until a few months ago. Right now, I am a third of the way through Lilith and, as the main character has often said, do not have the words to explain its meaning to me!


    Lisa Eldred
    Hutchmate
    @firstcrusader

    After the magic of The Princess and the GoblinThe Princess and Curdie was a disappointment. It may or may not have helped that I own a beautifully illustrated version of the former and a trade paperback of the latter.

    (See, some of us can geek out over video games and GMD both!)


    Miss Mary
    Hutchmate
    @missmary

    Oh, I love George MacDonald books too. We have started collecting them wherever we see them and are gradually getting a good stash. He might be the author we have loaned out the most (besides AP whose books were in such demand we had to buy a second set…they have been steadily borrowed for a year and we are finally getting them back now, because more people have bought their own).

    We were first introduced to his adult fiction oddly when we were still kids, our church at the time didn’t have any kids programs so some friends of our parents drove us to their church for AWANA. We talked their ears off about books all the way to and from so at the end of the year they gave @misslinda  The Maiden’s Bequest (the Michael Phillips editing of Alec Forbes of Howglen), I don’t remember how old we were, but she said that the book would be too old for us now but in a couple of years we would love it. Of course being kids who want to prove their maturity we tried to read it right away, and just couldn’t really get into it. It moved kind of slow for my tastes at the time. A couple years later I tried again and it was amazing.  Sometime after we got that book (but before we actually managed to read it all the way through) was when we found the Princess and the Goblins and more of his kids books.

    I also currently love At the Back of the North Wind, and have loved Sir Gibbie since I got it from the library as a kid. There are so many more that I love, that have shaped my thoughts or challenged my thinking in some way, or just reminded me of the greatness of God and His love.

    @mrs-hittle You need to come spend at least a week or so at my house so you can read all the books on my shelf. If you have only read the children’s ones you are missing out. The grown-up ones are really great too.


    Laure Hittle
    Hutchmate
    @mrs-hittle

    @missmary That sounds wonderful. 🙂 i love the idea of curling up with you and devouring whole shelves of books.

    Have you read his “double tale”—The Lost Princess?


    Linda Rogers
    Participant
    @misslinda

    I’m not her, but if she has read it, it was several years ago. We don’t own that one. Yet.


    Miss Mary
    Hutchmate
    @missmary

    I actually did read that one, but Linda is right that we don’t have it. I read it while petsitting at someone else’s house.


    Laure Hittle
    Hutchmate
    @mrs-hittle

    Our copy came slipcased with The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie. It wasn’t till i was in college that i realized it was less commonly known and not generally thought of as part of the set, even though it’s clearly separate. It’s not my favorite of the MacDonald books i’ve read, but i was fascinated by the way the double tale was woven together. And the flowers, and the picture hall! i wonder what effect this book had on my affinity for Charles Williams, come to think of it.


    Kate Willis
    Hutchmate
    @katewillis

    I’ve only read “At the Back of the North Wind” and “The Light Princess”, but I just checked out “The Princess and Curdie” from the library at Lanier Ivester’s recommendation. Glad to see that you all like it. ; )

    @katewillis, just so you know, The Princess and Curdie is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin. The two books are so different in tone, themes, plot, and maturity level that it might not matter, but they do follow the same characters and the second book builds on the first.


    Kate Willis
    Hutchmate
    @katewillis

    @mrs-hittle Thanks for the tip! ; )

    Now is a fine thread of GM geekery.

    @rebeccareynolds I looooooooveooove “The Light Princess.” It’s up there in my top 2 or 3 GM stories. I love every jot and tittle of it.

    @mrs-hittle I totally agree about The Princess and Curdie. I prefer it to The Princess and the Goblin for all of the reasons you mention, and I’ve always wondered if T. S. Eliot might have been influenced by the rose fire in Curdie when he wrote The Four Quarters, because of lines like “the flame is roses” and “the fire and the rose are one.” Back in school I tried to find any bit of scholarship that drew a link between the two, but I didn’t come up with anything.

    But @firstcrusader I can also understand why it might be a disappointment if you loved The Princess and the Goblin – it’s a very different sort of book, and strange in a lot of ways (especially the ending!) Here’s something you and @mrs-hittle might find interesting. A friend of mine has done a lot of work comparing Curdie to the book of Isaiah, and she wrote a beautiful article about MacDonald’s purposes in Curdie for Christian History magazine while I was editor there: http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-86/sacred-story.html

    @beloved I hope Lilith is not your introduction to MacDonald! I love the book, but it’s not the best first date. I’d start with At the Back of the North Windor the Princess books. But when you do finish Lilith, let’s talk about it. It’s immensely rich.

    @missmary I’d love to see your stash! Have you ever read Alec Forbes of Howglen or the other Scottish novels in their non-Michael Phillips versions? It’s slow going but I think it’s a blast to sink knee deep into all of that delightful dialect and try to figure out what the heck everybody is saying. 🙂 I am also fond of David Elginbrod and Robert Falconer.

    @katewillis So glad you’re following Lanier’s advice! And yes, definitely start with The Princess and the Goblin. 

    We really need to get Ron Block into this forum. One of my first introductions to the Rabbit Room was hearing Ron talk about George MacDonald at Hutchmoot.


    Miss Mary
    Hutchmate
    @missmary

    I don’t own any that haven’t been edited by someone, though I always have my eyes open for them, but I do have a number of them that were pre-Michael Phillips versions. I have read one or two from a library that was not edited though and it made me realize just how much dialect really is there in the original. I found it worked better read aloud at first until I got the hang of it. Then I just wished I could do the accent right.

    I have an edited version of both David Elginbrod and Robert Falconer. Sometime when I am not dogsitting, I will have to go see what all I actually have (I say I, but I really don’t know which are mine and which are my sisters’ but we all share well), and which versions of each.

    I know we have Phantastes and Lillith but I haven’t gotten them read yet. I started Phantastes once years and years ago when I was still in school, but it was due at the library around the same time a bunch of big projects were also due and so I started it and was pretty far in, but then had to stop reading anything for fun. I really should try again now that there are no deadlines to interfere.


    Jilly
    Hutchmate
    @jilliancomrie

    Oh happy day!!!! You have no idea how excited I am about geeking out with you all!!! =D

    First of all, has anyone else discovered the George MacDonald Books app for Ipad? It’s really nice to have so much of his work in one place and a great way to enjoy some of his short stories and poetry! I read a poem, called ‘A Story of the Sea Shore’, on a recent trip to the coast and loved it! O thou who liv’st in fear of the To come! Around whose house the storm of terror breaks all night; to whose love-sharpened ear, all day, the Invisible is calling at thy door, to render up that which thou can’st not keep, be it a life or love! Open thy door, and carry forth thy dead unto the marge of the great sea; bear it into the flood, braving the cold that creepeth to thy heart, and lay thy coffin as an ark of hope upon the billows of the infinite sea. Give God thy dead to keep: so float it back, with sighs and prayers to waft it through the dark, back to the spring of life. Say–“It is dead, but thou, the life of life, art yet alive, and thou can’st give the dead its dear old life, with new abundance perfecting the old. God, see my sadness; feel it in thyself.”

    @jennifert  I really enjoyed listening to the recordings of some of your talks at Hutchmoot! I’ve never attended, but I’m so happy I got to listen in from way down here in Quito, Ecuador! One of my favorites is The Shepherd’s Castle (Donal Grant) just because it is so delightfully creepy and, as a musician, I love imagining the sound of the Aeolian harp. I recommend accompanying it with a listen to Debussy’s “Sunken Cathedral”. I literally was reading the book for the first time in college and my music theory teacher had us listen to this piece right after I found out about the chapel in the book! =) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-jmCNtgJ_g

    Another favorite is The Musician’s Quest (Robert Falconer) because I love the parts about music and also how MacDonald deals so patiently with the complex motivations people have for religiosity. It’s an important topic for Christians to deal with and MacDonald has great insights because it was so personal to him. Another favorite is The Gentlewoman’s Choice, which I “coincidentally” read when I was the same age as the heroine and it had a huge impact on my life. My final favorite of his novels is The Vicar’s Daughter, just because I can really relate as a missionary who does music ministry and I think it has great insights about ministering to people who live in poverty. Of course, I love all of his fantasy, especially At the Back of the North Wind!!

    @mrs-hittle I have read The Lost Princess and it is one of my absolute favorites!! It is actually intensely convicting to me and I see it as a great warning against selfishness. I wrote a poem about it that I’m hoping to turn into a song at some point…will never forget the imagery of the naked, little girl utterly alone in the hollow, blue sphere, seeing her true self as with a mirror and finally trying to destroy what she saw! Also a warning for parents, I think!

    And, finally, here’s a quote from Sir Gibbie that I thinks get to the heart of MacDonald (taken from 365 Meditations from George MacDonald’s Fiction):

    Doubtless Gibbie, as well as many a wiser man, might now and then make a mistake in the embodiment of his obedience, but even where the action misses the command, it may yet be obedience to him who gave the command, and by obeying one learns how to obey.

    I apologize, @jennifert. Lilith was my first introduction to MacDonald. When I read your comment, I was at a point in the book where I felt that I needed to finish it… But considering I have just finished it a few days ago, I would like to talk about it! There were a few things that I thought I understood the meaning of, but most of it went over my head, I think. Everything was going great, until I got to the part where he found Lilith in the woods, and of course the whole ruckus with the spotted leopardess and the white leopardess, and with Mara and all of that… And I couldn’t figure if the sleep in the house of the dead was salvation or something more like purgatory? As you can probably see, I would really appreciate any insight you might have about it!


    Linda Rogers
    Participant
    @misslinda

    Lilith is HARD. I love George MacDonald, but that book confuses me every time I read it. I can get bits of meaning here and there, but I know I’m missing more than I get.


    Pete Peterson
    Hutchmaster Prime
    @pete

    Dare I say that if you’re reading a book to divine its meaning, you are doing it wrong?

     

    🙂

    ---Hutchmaster Prime, wielder of great and terrible cheeses

    Actually Pete’s question is right on the nose when it comes to MacDonald’s fantasies and fairy tales. I’ll respond more thoroughly later, but I highly recommend reading his essay “The Fantastic Imagination,” which sheds light on how he thought about his role as a writer, the question of “meaning,” and what effect a story should have on a reader: http://www.sfu.ca/sfublogs-archive/courses/spring2012/engl387/uploads/2012/01/The-Fantastic-Imagination1-1.pdf

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 68 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.