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The Inklings The best-known members of the group were C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.

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  #11  
Old 07-08-2016, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by inkspot View Post
Thanks for that info, PoTW. I got Phantastes and Lilith, too, because I knew MacDonald had influenced CSL through those books, and I did not enjoy them at all. Isn't it funny? CSL, whose writing I always love, loved MacDonald, whom I can hardly understand! I think it must be because of CSL's educational background in Medievalism and mythology that I don't have? I had a hard time following MacDonald at all! But I love CSL's portrayal of MacDonald in the Great Divorce ... Maybe I have to be a bit smarter to get him! But I will look for the North Wind one, maybe that will be more to my taste?
I just finished reading Phantastes. I had picked it up before, but just couldn't stick with it. This time I enjoyed it more, although the meandering plot gives the story a rather impressionistic feel between samples of poetry.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:44 AM
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Well, considering how early a fantasy it is, MacDonald was probably copying a lot of things from actual poets. Prose fantasy wasn't very common at the time.

I need to re-read Phantastes sometime. I've re-read parts of it a lot, but never the whole thing. In part because it is so episodic and impressionistic. It reads well in fragments, unlike most later fantasies. (LotR is an exception...it's less episodic, but I can still open it anywhere and feel like I'm being fed.)
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkspot View Post
Thanks for that info, PoTW. I got Phantastes and Lilith, too, because I knew MacDonald had influenced CSL through those books, and I did not enjoy them at all. Isn't it funny? CSL, whose writing I always love, loved MacDonald, whom I can hardly understand! I think it must be because of CSL's educational background in Medievalism and mythology that I don't have? I had a hard time following MacDonald at all! But I love CSL's portrayal of MacDonald in the Great Divorce ... Maybe I have to be a bit smarter to get him! But I will look for the North Wind one, maybe that will be more to my taste?
Inkspot, Maybe it would be better for you to start with a book like "The Princess and the Goblin"; "Phantastes" and "Lilith" are both of them heavily symbolic and the writing style of "Phantastes" is especially surreal. "At the Back of the North Wind" is perhaps more easily digestible, but it is still quite long, complete with long passages of nonsensical poetry.
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:10 PM
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So now that I read Phantastes and rather liked it, the next McDonald on my list is Lilith. However, my husband is reading through The Curate of Glaston by MacDonald and just shared a passage in which the gatekeeper of a large estate and his niece talk about the difference between satisfaction and contentment (Book I, Chapter 14, "The Dream").

Satisfaction is having things the way they should be, but that does not often happen for very long in real life; we live in a fallen world. Contentment, on the other hand, is willingly (and cheerfully) accepting your lot in life trusting in God's purpose and goodness towards you. But we still long for the time when the imperfect will give way to the Perfect:

"There is a great difference between I wish I were and I would like to be. To be content is not to be satisfied. No one ought to be satisfied with the imperfect. It is God's will that we should contentedly bear what he gives us. But at the same time we can look forward with hope to the redemption of the body."

The kicker in all this is that both the gatekeeper and the niece have a physical disability (dwarfism) and in this exchange the niece is coming to terms with accepting her disability. I just thought this was so cool and MacDonald was lightyears ahead of his time, in making people with disabilities main characters in a novel (the gatekeeper actually is the person who leads the curate to faith!)

My husband shared this same passage with my daughter who also has a disability, and later that day she changed her Facebook status to:
I am glad that God made me with Down syndrome!!

So maybe my next MacDonald read will be the Curate of Glaston instead of Lilith...
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:38 PM
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The idea of Curdie getting his gift by putting his hands in her fire is also fascinating, and quite original to MacDonald.
SPOILER ALERT (The Princess and Curdie):

It's on that gift that I wanted to focus. Isn't it fascinating how Curdie is given the ability to feel the "hand" or the "body" of a person behind their physical appearance? The true character of a person (or beast) is made manifest through a touch of his hand. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when he put out his hand to his beast-companion (What was the beast's name again?), I believe that he felt the hand of a child. And when he touched that doctor and felt the skin of a snake, that just gave me the creeps!

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I suppose we have him to blame for some later, more unfortunate fantasy literature; but that doesn't make his stories any less interesting.
Might I ask which of MacDonald's works you are referring to here, Glenburne?
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  #16  
Old 08-15-2016, 01:56 AM
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I think the beast's name was Lina... I love the way Curdie's hands had the gift of knowing a person's character by touch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by crjr9833 View Post
SPOILER ALERT (The Princess and Curdie):

It's on that gift that I wanted to focus. Isn't it fascinating how Curdie is given the ability to feel the "hand" or the "body" of a person behind their physical appearance? The true character of a person (or beast) is made manifest through a touch of his hand. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when he put out his hand to his beast-companion (What was the beast's name again?), I believe that he felt the hand of a child. And when he touched that doctor and felt the skin of a snake, that just gave me the creeps!
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