George MacDonald

I was introduced to George MacDonald by Gisela Kreglinger while at Beeson. During the Easter season, I enjoyed reading her book Storied Revelations. The book is a study of MacDonald based on her doctoral research and explores the interface between the Bible and George MacDonald’s fictional writings. It argues that MacDonald developed a profound theological rationale for writing fiction that stemmed from his understanding of scripture, language, and Christology. This confronted Victorian sensibilities in fresh, sometimes shocking, ways. I am hardly the person to give a detailed evaluation of the book, but I found the discussion of MacDonald’s literary influences enlightening, MacDonald’s understanding of the relation of poet and priest practical, and the analysis of MacDonald’s writings approachable even to someone like me who is a non-specialist.

I also enjoyed reading The Princess and Curdie alongside the analysis and enjoyed noting that the king’s healing took place in conjunction with his consumption of bread and wine. I found this portion fitting [from ch. 20, “Counterplotting,” in The Princess and Curdie (orig. 1882)].

‘My dear Princess,’ replied Curdie, ‘you know nothing of him but his face and his tongue, and they are both false. Either you must beware of him, or you must doubt your grandmother and me; for I tell you, by the gift she gave me of testing hands, that this man is a snake. That round body he shows is but the case of a serpent. Perhaps the creature lies there, as in its nest, coiled round and round inside.’

‘Horrible!’ said Irene.

‘Horrible indeed; but we must not try to get rid of horrible things by refusing to look at them, and saying they are not there. Is not your beautiful father sleeping better since he had the wine?’

‘Yes.’

‘Does he always sleep better after having it?’

She reflected an instant.

‘No; always worse—till tonight,’ she answered him.

‘Then remember that was the wine I got him—not what the butler drew. Nothing that passes through any hand in the house except yours or mine must henceforth, till he is well, reach His Majesty’s lips.’

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