George MacDonald (10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle.
"I awoke one morning with the usual perplexity of mind which accompanies the return of consciousness. As I lay and looked through the eastern window of my room, a faint streak of peach-colour, dividing a cloud that just rose above the low sell of the horizon, announced the approach of the sun."
"The opening of the <i>Phantastes</i> could be described in several respects as liminal or having to do with the borderline. The hero, whose name Anodos means 'pathless' or also perhaps 'the way up' or 'the way back,' has just reached the age of twenty-one, and has been invested with various legal rights including access to his late father's papers contained in an old secretary."
"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys. his palace was built upon one of the mountains and was very grand and beautiful. The princess, whose name was Irene, was born there, but she was sent soon after her birth, because her mother was not very strong, to be brought up by country people in a large house, half castle, half farmhouse, on the side of another mountain, about halfway between its base and its peak."
It was advice from MacDonald and his young daughters that convinced fellow author Lewis Carroll that his classic novel <i>Alice</i> (1865) was fit for publication.
A common theme of Macdonald's is a journey that springs from the main character's longing for or wanting to know more about some unknown, a search which brings one ever closer to God.
MacDonald suffered a stroke in 1898 before his last novel was published the following year. He died aged 80 in Ashstead, Surrey. His remains were cremated and buried in Bordighera, Italy.
Of his literature for adults, <i>Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women</i> (1858) and <i>Lilith</i> (1895) are good examples. Although his best known book for children is <i>At the Back of the North Wind</i> (1871), his best and most enduring works are <i>The Princess and the Goblin</i> (1872) and its sequel, <i>The Princess and Curdie</i> (1873).
He became a Congregational minister, then a free-lance preacher and lecturer. In 1855 he published a poetic tragedy, <i>Within and Without</i>, and after that he made literature his profession.
His lecturing and views brought him wide recognition and respect. MacDonald wrote over 50 books, including, poetry, novels, short stories, fantasy, sermons and essays. Many of his novels were part autobiographical and focused on his upbringing and life in Scotland.
A native of Scotland, MacDonald attended the University of Aberdeen, but although receiving a master's degree in chemistry and physics in 1845, was uncertain about what to do with his life. Desiring to bring others to the Christian faith, and having a gift of preaching, he attended Highbury College, London, graduating in 1850 with a divinity degree.