Some Kind of Fairy Tale: George MacDonald

With October’s Horror duo over with, I decided that it was time to shift gears again in preparation for the really big fantasy event of the year: The Hobbit, and thus focus on some of the background on Fantasy literature, which I haven’t really focused on thus far. Like Science Fiction, context for the development of Tolkien’s works relies on an earlier look at what came before, and the notable author that I became interested in was George MacDonald, who really jump started the Fantasy genre by creating a number of modern fairy tales that inspired many fantasy authors that came before him. He’s not a household name like Mary Shelley, Jules Verne or H.G. Wells, but he was no less influential in his works, which went on to inspire authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Go read Some Kind of Fairy Tale over on Kirkus Reviews.

Sources Used:

George MacDonald, Michael R. Phillips: This biography of MacDonald is an interesting one, taking on both the man and his works, in both historical and narrative style. It’s a good read, with quite a bit of information about the author and some of his major influences.

An Expression of Character: The Letters of George MacDonald: This volume contains the collected letters of MacDonald, which proved to be marginally useful for this piece: some of his books are mentioned, but nothing other than mentions of his books, rather than process (at least that I could find).

Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature, Vol 3, Frank Magill: I’ve been talking a lot about Science Fiction recently, and as I’ve begun to look more closely at Fantasy literature, needed to pick up the companion to the Survey that I’ve been using. Also edited by Frank Magill, it covers a wide range of fantasy novels and authors. The entry for Phantastes is a great overview of MacDonald and his career, and was incredibly useful for this piece.

George MacDonald, William Raeper: This biography is another good insight into MacDonald and his life and really helped to support the other pieces that I referenced.



Yay for setting my alarm on time, but at the same time, also setting the clock an hour early. Not really sure how that happened. As a result, I’m to class an hour early. Does this mean that I get to skip a day?

Also, in this day in history, the Hobbit was published in 1939, with reluctance from J.R.R. Tolkien.

And, the trailer for Frank Miller’s 300 was released on some random website today. 300 is a graphic novel that Miller (Who also wrote the brilliant Sin City and the Dark Knight Returns comics) about the 300 Spartan warriors at the battle of Thermopylae, where they held off an entire Persian army of thousands. I learned about the story in 3 Democracies in High School, and I got such chills hearing some of the lines in the trailer. “We shall fight in the shade.”

See the trailer here.

Drinking With Legends

Okay, not really, but I did hit a very special pub today: The Eagle and Child. Doesn’t ring any bells?

It’s in Oxford, and it’s where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis went and met up, calling themselves the Inklings, when they were working on their major books. And I went there. I’m happy.


Tolkien’s Signature
The main pub

More photographs here:

Album #2. More on the original album.