Sunday, June 3, 2007

Phantastes by George MacDonald

by George MacDonald

1858, 185 pp.

Rating: 4

This was one of C.S. Lewis' favorite books, and it is obvious that Lewis borrowed quite a bit from MacDonald's ideas. I found several passages that were very similar to passages in Lewis' books. There is also a lengthy introduction to the book by Lewis that is well worth reading.

This 1850's fantasy novel involves a man whose grandmothers were descended from the fairies. Because of this, he is granted access to a fairy land where he encounters several strange and wonderful creatures--some benevolent and some malevolent. Both he and the reader learn lessons in his journey through this land and back again to his home world.

"Yet I know that good is coming to me--that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good."
Although I prefer Lewis' books to MacDonald's, I did enjoy this older fantasy tale. Earlier this year I read The Princess and the Goblin by MacDonald and enjoyed it very much. I plan to read the sequel The Princess and Curdie and also another adult tale, Lilith, in 2008.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As Lewis spoke ever so highly of Macdonalds work, so Macdonald recommended this work as the epitome of fairytale. Having read both I'm sure you will enjoy this work at least as much as Phantastes.