From: "Nigel Price"
Subject: (urth) George MacDonald Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 12:35:34 -0000 Tami Whitehead wrote: >>((Honestly, I read Doors, and just sat and scratched >>my head for a day or so. It reminded me a bit of >>Lilith, by ol' what's his name, friend and >>contemporary of C S Lewis etc...rats, what's his name, >>but you know the one, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe >>for adults, with a tad un-orthodox Christian >>symbolism...)) I suppose, strictly speaking, George Macdonald (1824-1905) and C S Lewis (1898-1963) overlapped by about seven years, but you wouldn't normally call them "contemporaries". Years ago, I did a dissertation on Macdonald and read all his fantasy novels and stories and a chunk of his literary criticism and mainstream Victorian fiction too. To quote one of my children's favourite phrases, "it did my head in." Some of his stories were good - I liked "The Golden Key" for example - but most of his work is verbose, poorly structured and mawkishly sentimental. Some of it is also, frankly, perverse. I never did really understand what Lewis saw in him. So imagine my horror when I read the following in Nutria's interview with Wolfe ("That's his name Jim, but not spelt as we know it!"): >>JJ: Now you are reading George McDonald? >>GW: Yes, Lilith. I had not read anything >>except Curdie and the Goblin and At the >>Back of the North Wind and those types, >>and they are quite good but they are >>basically fairy stories. I had read others >>that were about that good, but I don't think >>they had any great theological impact, any >>great feeling from that standpoint. I agree entirely with Wolfe's verdict on the main body of Macdonald's work, but, frustratingly, he doesn't say what he thought of "Lilith". Now that you mention it, though, I can see some points of overlap for Wolfe. Other worlds, ambiguous goddess/queens...and Lilith, if I recall, has some inhuma-like characteristics...She turns into a blood sucking white slug or worm at night. As in the famous C L Moore story "Shambleau", however, MacDonald is deliberately vague...Oh dear, how do I put this?...about what it is exactly that Lilith sucks... I do apologise for that. Love Wolfe, don't like most MacDonald. Nigel --