The writings, spiritual vision, and legacy of George MacDonald & Michael Phillips

The writings, spiritual vision, and legacy of George MacDonald & Michael Phillips


The Legacy:
Who is George MacDonald?

Michael Phillips
Who is Michael Phillips?

George MacDonald's Writings:
A Historical 19th Century Bibliography of His Published Works

George MacDonald’s Writings: “The New Classics”

Michael Phillips’ Writings: A 20th and 21st Century Bibliography of His Published Works

Leben: The MacDonald/Phillips Magazine
Availability and Ordering Information
“Dear Michael Phillips…”: Responses From Readers
“Dear George MacDonald…”: Responses From Readers
From the Heart of George MacDonald: A Selection of Quotations

George MacDonald’s Scotland

George MacDonald’s Faith in Historical Perspective
The Original Writings of George MacDonald

A Historical 19th Century Bibliography of His Published Works

A description of all books authored by George MacDonald in his lifetime.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.Twelve of the Spiritual Songs of Novalis
1851, Christmas, self published by MacDonald and given as Christmas gifts to friends. Poems of MacDonald's favorite poet, translated from the original German.

Within and Without: A Dramatic Poem
1855, May, Longman, Brown, Green. MacDonald's first work published by major publisher. Long narrative love poem in blank verse, portion of which was presented to wife Louisa as a wedding gift. The major part of the book was written in 1850-51, two months before their marriage. The title is taken from Blake's Jerusalem , "God is within and without, even in the depths of Hell."

1857, August, Longman, Brown, Green, MacDonald's first published (of many) collection of poetry. It is generally recognized that poetry was his first love and that MacDonald considered himself foremost a poet rather than a novelist.

Phantastes: A Fairie Romance for Men and Women
1858, October, Smith, Elder & Co., MacDonald's first fantasy, an adult "fairie romance" to distinguish it from many children's fantasies that would follow, and the book that attracted some notice in England's literary circles, in spite of modest sales, and began to set MacDonald apart as a talented young author to watch.

“It must be more than thirty years ago that I bought…the Everyman edition of Phantastes. A few hours later I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.”
—C.S. Lewis, 1946
David Elginbrod
1863, Hurst & Blackett. After a publishing hiatus of five years, MacDonald's first full-length Scottish adult novel appeared. Though a mere "story" (and romance at that) in the eyes of some, David Elginbrod was enormously successful and almost immediately catapulted MacDonald's career forward. Within a decade MacDonald was near the top echelon among British novelists. Though he would continue all his life to write and publish poetry, it would throughout the remainder of his lifetime be as a "Victorian novelist" that he would primarily be known to the reading public. It is in David Elginbrod that the character Robert Falconer makes his first public appearance, though in fact his very first appearance came several years earlier in MacDonald's first fictional effort, a novel called Seekers and Finders. This first novel was rejected by MacDonald's publisher, was never published, and the manuscript was subsequently destroyed by MacDonald's sons.
“I really love MacDonald’s ‘ideal’ characters…the reality of people like Cupples and Malison, Crann and Annie allows us to have sympathy for and even grow to love the variety and all-too-human people we find in our own lives.”

The Portent
1864, Smith, Elder, a fiction tale defying categorization (as does much of MacDonald's work.) Technically a "novel" whose complete title reads The Portent: A story of the inner vision of the highlanders, commonly called the second sight, it is unlike MacDonald's more realistic fiction, such as David Elginbrod which it followed, and is sometimes included with Phantastes and Lilith as one of his "visionary" works. Of biographical interest are the hints of the "old library in the north" which MacDonald is thought to have catalogued one summer while a student and which exercised a powerful influence on his young imagination. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s, MacDonald's short stories and literary essays were being published in magazines, steadily increasing public awareness of his writing and paving the way for the eventual appearance of his full-length novels. The Portent, as one such, had been written earlier and had appeared in "The Cornhill Magazine" in 1860, the first of his lengthy works to be serialized. To some The Portent is a spooky tale that will raise a few goosebumps up the spine of even the most intrepid of readers. His son Greville commented: "The story is different from almost any other of his books.It is weird, yet strangely convincing, and has no touch of the didactic."

Adela Cathcart
1864, April, Hurst & Blackett, a creative attempt on MacDonald's part to package a collection of short stories in the guise of a "novel." In it a group of travelers becomes snowbound in a country inn and pass the time by telling each other stores. Some of MacDonald's well-known short stories made their first appearance in Adela Cathcart, others had already appeared in periodicals. It was a book whose story-contents changed with new editions, notably the "second edition" of 1882 whose contents were quite different than in the original. Among the contents one finds: The Light Princess, The Shadows, My Uncle Peter, Birth, Dreaming, and Death, The Snow Fight, A Child's Holiday, A Journey Rejourneyed, and others.

A Hidden Life and Other Poems
1864, Longman, Green, a reprint of formerly published Poems.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.Alec Forbes of Howglen
1865, Hurst & Blackett, the second of MacDonald's major Scottish realistic novels, the story of Annie Anderson and Alec Forbes. Set in Huntly in northern Scotland (fictionalized as "Glamerton") this novel contains many autobiographical glimpses into MacDonald's own childhood in the small Scottish town where he was raised. It is considered by some critics as MacDonald's best and most literarily cohesive work of fiction.

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood
1867, Hurst & Blackett, MacDonald's first English novel, set in Arundel on the downs south of London near the coast and site of MacDonald's first and only pastorate as a newly married clergyman in 1851-53. The MacDonald home of those years and the Congregational Church are still standing in Arundel. This book is wonderfully descriptive of the region, with autobiographical hints of MacDonald's outlook as a young pastor. The story had first appeared in serialized form in the "Sunday Magazine" in 1865.

Unspoken Sermons
1867, Alexander Strahan, MacDonald's first collection of spiritual essays, or "sermons." Besides being a poet, MacDonald was at heart a preacher and remained so all his life. Though he continued to preach upon occasion, the resignation from his pulpit in Arundel in 1853 forced him into writing, with the consequence that henceforth he had to put his sermons into written form, a development for which future generations are enormously grateful.

“George MacDonald has influenced the development of my character, desires, and passion for helping others. I was challenged by Robert Falconer to have a love for those in distress in the city…I learned to trust along with little Annie Anderson, and to hurt with Juliet. I admired God’s glorious handiwork with Alister…With Thomas Wingfold I learned tolerance is bred from a true relationship with Christ.”

Dealings with the Fairies
1867, Alexander Strahan, MacDonald's first published collection of short stories, which included: The Light Princess, The Giant's Heart, The Golden Key, Cross Purposes, and The Shadows. In future years, collections of MacDonald's short stories and fairy tales were reprinted in many collections and formats by a wide variety of publishers. This particular collection, sometimes with others added, more commonly came to be published as The Light Princess and Other Fairy Stories, but also as Cross Purposes and the Shadows, or simply Fairy Tales. The reprints are too numerous and too similar to mention individually.

The Disciple and Other Poems
1867, Alexander Strahan, a second full volume of poems, including "The Disciple," a lengthy narrative poem which traces in part MacDonald's own autobiographical spiritual journey out of the Calvinistic tradition of his past and into a new and personal faith of his own.

The Musician’s Quest has become to me the most enjoyable, challenging book that I have ever read of its kind…even months later it still kindles in me a greater desire to be a servant like Robert Falconer, and ultimately, like Jesus Christ.”

Guild Court: A London Story
1868, Hurst & Blackett, one of MacDonald's lesser known but imminently worthwhile stories set in London.

Robert Falconer
1868, Hurst & Blackett, perhaps MacDonald's most well-known novel and life story of his most memorable character. The character of "Robert Falconer" had been with MacDonald a long time, first from the unpublished Seekers and Finders (1859-60), then appearing briefly in David Elginbrod, and later in a much abbreviated story serialized in 1866-67 called "The History of Robert Falconer." Now at last Falconer's full story came to light. Robert Falconer, like Alec Forbes of Howglen, is a highly autobiographical work, with this difference, that in the character of young Robert Falconer the reader gains a rare glimpse into MacDonald's own boyhood, with his internal struggles, his relationship with his grandmother (who largely raised him after the death of his mother) and his spiritual search as a young man attempting to discover God's love amid the hellfire Calvinism of his upbringing. Robert Falconer's resolution of this conflict is a wonderful window into the roots and development of MacDonald's own faith which would turn generations to come toward the Fatherhood of a loving God.

England's Antiphon
1868,1874, Macmillan, a study of the history of religious poetry in England.

The Seaboard Parish
1868, Tinsley Brothers/Routledge, a sequel to Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood. Set in the English seaside town of Bude and based on a MacDonald family holiday there, this novel contains one of MacDonald's less striking "plots" yet is fuller than most with spiritual insights, gems, and teaching.

The Miracles of Our Lord
1870, Strahan & Co. MacDonald's second volume of "sermons" in which he studies in some detail, by type, all the reported miracles of Jesus.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.At the Back of the North Wind
1871 (Dec.,1870), Strahan & Co, Probably in historical perspective, North Wind ranks as George MacDonald's most well known and enduring book, the haunting tale of Diamond, a simple London cabman's son. It is likely that it has been published in more editions, by more publishers, and been read by more people than any of his other works. Its skillfully woven intermingling of realism and fantasy continued to set MacDonald apart as a writer of uniqueness in distinction in the early 1870s as his reputation and fame steadily mounted.

Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood
1871, Strahan & Co. Turning from North Wind, MacDonald here released his first "juvenile" realistic story, set in Scotland in and around MacDonald's hometown of Huntly. Largely taken from autobiographical incidents (as are boyhood sections of Alec Forbes, Gutta Percha Willie, and Robert Falconer), Ranald Bannerman presents the lighter side of MacDonald's boyhood in fictional form.

“Characters like Malcolm or Gibbie or Annie give me hope as I see the simplicity of their faith.”

Works of Fancy and Imagination
1871, Chatto & Windus. As MacDonald's reputation and the success of his books rose in popularity in both the U.S. and Great Britain, new editions began appearing at an increasing rate. This collection is one that would not have been possible had MacDonald's popularity not been great. It offers a reprint of some of his most popular works in a 10 volume small sized gift set. Included are: Within and Without, most of the poetry from Poems and The Disciple, Phantastes, The Portent, The Light Princess, Cross Purposes, The Golden Key, and ten additional short stories.

Wilfrid Cumbermede,
1871, 1872, Hurst & Blackett/Scribners. A realistic novel some of whose themes grew out of the relationship between George and Louisa MacDonald and author John Ruskin during a troubled time in the latter's life. Some of the descriptive portions contained within this narrative, especially of the Swiss Alps, are among MacDonald's finest.

“I for one can really testify to a book that has made a difference to my whole existence, which helped me to see things in a certain way…It is called The Princess and the Goblin, and it is by George MacDonald.”
—G.K. Chesterton, 1924

The Vicar's Daughter,
1871 (Robert Bros., US), 1872 (Tinsley Brothers, UK), a sequel to The Seaboard Parish, and following the early married life of one of the Walton daughters, this third book in what is sometimes called "The Marshmallows Trilogy" is even less dramatic of plot than its prequel, demonstrating that (though he was paid a tremendous sum for it in comparison to the fifty pounds or less he received for some books), his remarkable output and quality notwithstanding, not every one of MacDonald's titles can be considered a masterpiece. Its characterization of MacDonald's friend and patron Lady Byron, however, is noteworthy.

“Suddenly it seemed I reached the point where Gibbie…became real and imperative. He took me by the hand…and led me…up the slopes of Glashgar where he ran through the heather with the sheep…
“[Sir Gibbie] moved me the way books did when, as a child, the great gates of literature began to open and first encounters with noble thoughts and utterances were unspeakably thrilling.”
—Elizabeth Yates, in the Introduction to her edited edition of Sir Gibbie, 1963

The Princess and the Goblin
1872 (Dec. 1871), Strahan & Co./Routledge. Along with North Wind, the two "Curdie books," of which The Princess and the Goblin is the first, represent the high water mark of MacDonald's "fairy tale" stories. Though the opening scenes in Phantastes and Lilith surely stimulated the transitional "entryway" vehicle used in the seven books, there can be little doubt that the overall concept and flavor of Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia has its origins with the publication of The Princess and The Goblin and its sequel. This is one of MacDonald's finest books and yet again demonstrated, not merely his versatility as an author, but a versatility of excellence at the highest level.

Gutta Percha Willie
1873, Henry S. King. The full title, Gutta Percha Willie, the Working Genius, this was a second "juvenile" novel, unconnected with but written for a similar reading audience as Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.Malcolm
1875, Henry S. King/Lippincott. The five year span between 1875 and 1880 must surely represent, if not MacDonald's most significant period of work (for he began Malcolm and perhaps some of these other titles earlier), certainly his most prodigious half-decade of published output. Had he never written any other books but these, his mark would nevertheless have been felt upon posterity. But when one considers that Malcolm, Marquis, Wingfold, St. George, Gibbie, Faber, were all released in a span of five years, and more besides, it is hard to fathom how he could have produced so much at such a high level. Three of this period's novels stand at the very apex of the MacDonald bibliography-Malcolm, Sir Gibbie, and Thomas Wingfold, the first two set in Scotland though the author had not lived in his homeland for years. To write Malcolm, MacDonald returned to the small seaside resort of Cullen on Scotland's north coast, a town he had loved as a boy. The text of the intricate and mysterious tale is more true to place than any of MacDonald's books. In Malcolm, one meets any number of MacDonald's most memorable characters, and many consider it MacDonald's best novel. All along MacDonald apparently realized that Malcolm's story would span two books, and Malcolm ends with the words: "The story of Malcolm's plans, and what came of them, requires another book."

The Wise Woman: A Parable
1875, Strahan & Co., a full length fairy tale in the style of the Curdie books and one of MacDonald's most enduring stories. Originally serialized with the title, A Double Story in "Good Words [Things] For the Young."

1876, Strahan & Co., a collection of poems, mostly by others translated by MacDonald from German and Italian, notably Novalis and Luther. The subtitle reads: A translation of the Spiritual Songs of Novalis, the hymn-book of Luther, and other poems from the German and Italian."

“NC…told me that The Curate’s Awakening seemed to be a message straight from God to her when she read it last month. She went through it with a highlighter and tears.”

St. George and St. Michael
1876 (1875), Henry S. King, a unique novel in the MacDonald collection, his only true "historical novel," set during the English civil war more than two centuries earlier, in which MacDonald-as do all historical novelists-wrote according to the dialect and idiom of that earlier time.

Thomas Wingfold, Curate
1876, Dec.,Hurst & Blackett/Routledge. One of MacDonald's longest novels, set in England, in which the character Thomas Wingfold, who will be a central figure in three books in all, is first introduced. It is the story of a young agnostic curate (Wingfold) and his prayerful journey, even while occupying a pulpit, into faith. Most of MacDonald's novels might well be called "theological novels," but Wingfold most fits that description, including more than one near full-length "sermon" preached from the pulpit by Thomas Wingfold. Thus, for those who want to "get on with the story," it is tedious going to encounter ten or fifteen pages of sermon. For others, however, such digressions are meat indeed! Perhaps C.S. Lewis was thinking of Thomas Wingfold, Curate when he said of MacDonald, "Some of his best things are thus hidden in his dullest books." Here we encounter one of the Christian faith's most unique and memorable apologists-the truth-loving dwarf Polwarth. In spite of its length and occasionally slow-moving plot, the depth and poignancy of Wingfold's spiritual search is significant and makes this one of MacDonald's best-loved novels.

Dramatic and Miscellaneous Poems
1876, Scribner, a collection comprising reprints of Within and Without and A Hidden Life.

“I believe the character of Malcolm in The Marquis’ Secret will continue to influence me forever.”

The Marquis of Lossie
1877, Hurst & Blackett/Lippincott, sequel to Malcolm. The double-set of the two "Malcolm books" represents MacDonald's only true prequel-sequel series in which the stories are inextricably linked and form a single unity of story. In all the other "sets" (Elginbrod/Falconer, Gibbie/Donal, Annals/Seaboard/Vicar's, Wingfold/Faber/There & Back, Goblin/Curdie) each book can stand alone. But Malcolm and Marquis form a single (magnificent!) story. The sequel begins right where Malcolm left off, though the change of venue to London part way through, as well as Malcolm's teaching himself to speak "English" rather than Scots, gives The Marquis of Lossie its own unique flavor. The climax, back on the north coast of Scotland, is as great a wrap-up of many divergent literary threads as can be found anywhere.

Paul Faber, Surgeon
1879 (Dec. 1878), Hurst & Blackett/Lippincott, the second in what some refer to as "the Wingfold Trilogy," in Paul Faber, Surgeon, the apologetic tables are now turned. Wingfold, at last a curate of solid faith which he has made real through a rigorous search for truth, encounters atheist Paul Faber. Now it is Wingfold sharing truth with Faber. Both men's stories, therefore, are "journeys of faith," although Faber experiences no "conversion." All MacDonald says of him in the end is, "He was growing, and that is all we can require of any man."

“I do not believe any book can replace The Baronet’s Song as my favorite…Gibbie’s unselfish love douched the depths of my heart.”

Sir Gibbie
1879, Hurst & Blackett/Lippincott. Yet another high mark was reached in MacDonald's literary career with the publication of Sir Gibbie, the wonderful story set in the highlands of Scotland of a mute boy with an angel's heart. Every MacDonald reader has his or her favorite MacDonald story, but it is probably safe to say that Sir Gibbie is near the top of that list for just about everyone, lovers of fairy tale and novels and poetry alike. For in a mysterious way, the character of "wee Sir Gibbie" embodies something from the land of "faerie" and his soul is poetry itself. Yet at the same time MacDonald's pure storytelling genius rises here to heights as soaring as Glashgar itself, the mountain where Gibbie roamed barefoot amid fire and flood. It was this book that so captured authoress Elizabeth Yates' (friend of MacDonald's daughter Winifred) imagination as to lead her in the 1960s to "edit" the classic story, which in turn led to and opened the door for the publication of "The New Classics" of MacDonald, and inaugurated the MacDonald renaissance of the 1980s.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.A Book of Strife, in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul
1880, Privately Printed. 366 daily poetic entries, all of seven lines with varying rhyming patterns, mostly concerning internal themes of spiritual growth.

Cheerful Words From the Writings of George MacDonald
1880, Lothrop. The first extensive collection of quotations and selections to appear based on MacDonald's work, selected by E.E. Brown and with an introduction by James T. Fields who had hosted the MacDonalds several years before during their American tour and become a close friend.

Mary Marston
1881, Sampson Low/Appleton. One of MacDonald's lesser known yet powerful novels which provides a role model for young women in living a life of dedication to Christ and obedience to parents. We encounter here, too, along with the book which follows it, a touching example of that earthly relationship so near and dear to MacDonald's heart, because he felt that it so typified man's relationship with God-that between fathers and their sons and daughters.

“The depth of spiritual and Biblical insight of this tremendous author reaches down to this day, and into my heart and life.”

Warlock O'Glenwarlock/ Castle Warlock
1881 (Lothrop, US, as Warlock O'Glenwarlock), 1882 (Sampson Low, UK, as Castle Warlock.) If Castle Warlock is not technically a "sequel" to Mary Marston, thematically the two books are linked in that here MacDonald explores the depth of the father-son relationship, as he had earlier the father-daughter relationship. Neither main character, Mary nor Cosmo, have a living mother, thus accentuating those relationships yet the more and raising them to their ideal. In Castle Warlock, MacDonald again returns to the highlands of Scotland, setting his story in the hills south of Huntly. In it we encounter some of his most vivid descriptions of that wild terrain, including snowstorms, the joys of summer, harvests, etc. Along with What's Mine's Mine, Castle Warlock is one of the most thoroughly Scottish of all MacDonald's novels, and is a favorite with many for its spiritual, relational, and natural splendor.

“From the very beginning, God has used each and every character, starting with wee Sir Gibbie, of each book to reach me where I am in my life.”
—Mrs. RE

Weighed and Wanting
1882, Sampson Low/Lothrop. Another "London story" with female protagonist, who chooses  a single life of ministry among the city's downtrodden. The moving scene of the death of a young boy surely reveals the heartache of MacDonald's own heart-he and Louisa had lost their own son Maurice just three years before the book's publication. It had no doubt been written while the memory of their own loss was fresh and deep.

The Gifts of the Child Christ and Other Tales
1882, Sampson Low, a new collection of six short stories, reprinted in 1883 as Stephen Archer and Other Tales.

“Today I finished The Highlander’s Last Song and promptly turned again to page one to begin anew. These books truly seem to be like close friends.”

1882, Sampson Low, a collection of essays, mostly literary but with a few of spiritual theme. The term "orts" means leftovers or scraps, which may indicate something about the variety of topics included, as does the book's subtitle, "Chiefly papers on the imagination, and on Shakspere."

The Princess and Curdie
1882, Chatto & Windus/ Lippincott. Though this follows The Princess and the Goblin in natural succession, it is not a true "sequel." The themes and reading level in Curdie are far more advanced. It is hardly a "children's" book at all, and the depths of its spiritual analogies certainly rival Narnia in scope. Curdie's gift, once his hand is thrust into the fire, of being able to discern toward what any man or woman is growing inside from a grasp of the hand, is one of MacDonald's most enduring, though in some ways chilling, images.

The Highlander’s Last Song…is a work of art. As with Malcolm and Gibbie, Alister and Ian truly portray Christ’s likeness.”

Donal Grant
1883, Kegan Paul/Harper, the towering sequel to Sir Gibbie and MacDonald's longest book (in pages, 786). This is a novel with everything-a wonderfully bittersweet romance, Gothic castle scenes (the castle in the story is modeled upon Fyvie Castle in Scotland) with a "mad-scientist" type carrying out his evil strategms in cellar, hidden rooms, and secret passageways. Donal Grant also contains some of MacDonald's profoundest (and occasionally lengthy!) spiritual insights, including his "easy to please but hard to satisfy" description of God that was a favorite of Lewis's. Along with Malcolm, this is one of MacDonald's most intricate and riveting plots.

A Threefold Cord: Poems by Three Friends
1883, Privately Printed, a collection of the poems of George MacDonald, Greville Matheson, and John Hill MacDonald, George's brother. Unfortunately, no assignations are given and thus one is left wondering who wrote what.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke
1885, Longmans, Green, a detailed study of the Shakespeare play, subtitled: "A study with the test of the Folio of 1623." The book received some critical attention in MacDonald's day.

Unspoken Sermons, Second Series
1885, Longmans, Green. The second in the series of "unspoken" sermons.

What's Mine's Mine
1886, Kegan Paul/Routledge. A true Scottish masterpiece, containing wonderfully descriptive passages of the highlands. The story revolves around the highland clearances and the disappearance in Scotland of the old clan way of life. Along with Robert Falconer, What's Mine's Mine also offers a rare look into MacDonald's controversial views about the afterlife. Some of the discussions between hard line Calvinist Mrs. Macruadh and her sons are memorable indeed!

1887, E.P. Dutton, a single volume collection of MacDonald's poetry, not extensive yet containing a total of 89 poems.

“I just finished The Baron’s Apprenticeship last week and again was challenged with MacDonald’s picture of God.”

Home Again, a Tale
1887, Kegan Paul/Appleton, one of MacDonald's "lesser" novels both in length and depth. MacDonald could write nothing that did not in some way radiate light. Every title has merit, and this story of a young poet and his return to his father is touching even in its simplicity.

The Elect Lady
1888, Kegan Paul/Munro. Another of MacDonald's lesser known books, The Elect Lady stands out for the memorable relationship of godliness, trust, honest, humility, and friendship between three children, whose growth into adults MacDonald follows with simple yet moving power.

Unspoken Sermons, Third Series
1889, Longmans, Green. The third in the series.

“I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.”
—C.S. Lewis, 1946

A Rough Shaking
1891 (Dec., 1890), Blackie & Sons/Routledge. A "youth" level book, similar in style to Ranald Bannerman, yet which takes place in Italy, and in which MacDonald describes the major earthquake of 1887 which rocked their own home on the Italian Mediterranean coast.

There and Back
1891, April, Kegan Paul/Lothrop, the belated third of "the Wingfold trilogy," adding yet another dimension to the personal seach for faith, now exemplified in the character of Barbara Wilder. All three of the Wingfold books address directly the logic and reasonableness of the Christian faith, which each of its three main characters must confront within themselves and choose how to respond to. Wingfold's conversations with Barbara are as profound as were his with Polworth during the season of his own struggle and doubt.

The Flight of the Shadow
1891, Kegan Paul/Appleton. Though it gives the appearance of starting out as a "realistic" novel in the tradition of his many others, The Flight of the Shadow soon becomes dark and ominous, tinged with hints of the occult. It is thus linked in the minds of many with The Portent from early in MacDonald's career. Neither book is for everyone, yet those who like one invariably like the other. The demonic Lady Cairnedge perhaps foreshadowed the character of Lilith, the first draft of whose saga was being written about the same time.

“In addition to The Minister’s Restoration, I’ve also read The Laird’s Inheritance and The Highlander’s Last Song. They have outclassed any literature…that I’ve read in years.”

A Cabinet of Gems
1891, Elliot Stock. MacDonald was not a mere author, he also translated, edited, and redacted works of his favorite authors for updated publication, a fact of some note in light of the criticism from certain quarters of the necessity of that same process in latter years to make MacDonald's books more accessible to the general public. In any event, it was not only a process which MacDonald endorsed, but one he practiced throughout his life. About one such redactive work (Letters From Hell, 1884) to which he contributed a Preface and in it illuminating his own view of the editing process, MacDonald wrote: "The present English version is made.the translator faithfully following the author's powerful conception, but pruning certain portions, recasting certain others, and omitting some less interesting to English readers, in the hope of rendering such a reception and appreciation as the book in itself deserves, yet more probable." In this present title, he presents his own "edited" edition of quotations from Sir Philip Sidney, stating in its Preface as an additional insight into MacDonald's view of the editor's role: "In making these extracts, I have taken the following liberties: I have made shorter sentences out of long ones, purely by omission: and I have, in a few places, substituted a word necessary, because of such omission, to bring out the sense." The full title reads: A Cabinet of Gems, cut and polished by Sir Philip Sidney; now, for the more radiance, presented without their setting by George MacDonald.

The Original Writings of George MacDonald >> A bibliography and brief summary of each the original works of George MacDonald published in his lifetime.The Hope of the Gospel
1892, Ward, Lock, Bowden. The fifth and final installment of written sermons which MacDonald produced.

Heather and Snow
1893, April, Chatto & Windus/Harper, another wonderful Scottish tale, not so expansive of theme and style and scope as What's Mine's Mine or Castle Warlock, perhaps, but poignant and melancholy. Who, after reading Heather and Snow, will ever forget Steenie's cry after "the bonny man!"

A Dish of Orts
1893, Sampson Low. Reprinted and slightly expanded edition of Orts.

The Poetical Works of George MacDonald, 2 Volumes
1893, Chatto & Windus. The first complete edition of George MacDonald's poetry, including many previously unpublished poems as well as all the poetry that had appeared in various titles before. MacDonald's passion for rewriting is especially notable in the published editions of his poetry. One often encounters significant differences in the same poems. With the publication of this complete two-volume set so late in his life, all his poems were now set in the final form in which they would remain.

Scotch Songs and Ballads
1893, John Smith, a reprint of that portion of Poetical Works so titled.

Beautiful Thoughts From George MacDonald
1894, James Pott. Another selection of MacDonald quotes, arranged by Elizabeth Dougall for each day of the year.

1895, Chatto & Windus/ Dodd Mead, subtitled, a little oddly it seems, "A Romance." Eight distinct manuscript versions of interest exist, chronicling the development of this book. For some Lilith represents the high point and climax of MacDonald's literary career, the towering climax, as it were, to the other-worldly set with which he began his career, Phantastes, a title with which it is usually linked. Like Phantastes, the narrator of Lilith finds himself embarking on a journey, but unlike the earlier journey into the land of faerie, the journey in Lilith in both inward, and into the world of death, exploring what new self-awarenesses, even repentance, may be possible in that world. Lilith has its dark moments and can be difficult to understand. It is not for all MacDonald readers. Yet many consider it their favorite MacDonald of all. MacDonald himself always felt that it had been inspired by God, though his wife Louise confessed herself troubled by it.

“I cannot say which book is my favorite, so I’ve decided to read them all over again.”

Salted With Fire
1897, Oct., Hurst & Blackettt/Dodd Mead. MacDonald's final full length, realistic Scottish novel, replete with dense Scottish dialect and spiritual themes. The repentance (through "fire") of a young minister, recognizing the sham of his outer crust of spirituality is reminiscent of Thomas Wingfold's spiritual journey, and thus establishes Salted With Fire as a work of lasting importance in the MacDonald corpus.

George MacDonald - Scotland's Beloved StorytellerRampolli, Growths from a Long-Planted Root
1897, Longmans, Green, an expanded edition of Exotics with the addition of the Diary. The subtitle reads: "Translations, new and old, chiefly from the German; along with A Year's Diary of An Old Soul."

Far Above Rubies
1898, Dodd Mead. MacDonald's final book which never appeared in book form in the U.K., only in U.S. editions. This novella has sometimes been called "a slender tale," and is not even broken into chapters. It gives a poignant final glimpse of MacDonald's waning energy and craft. A year after its publication, a stroke at length silenced the pen of this remarkable literary genius and man of God.

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