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

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

New Releases

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
Michael Phillips - A Brief Biography

A brief biography of Michael Phillips along with a description of his redactive efforts to bring the works of George MacDonald back into prominence.

Michael Phillips (1946-), Californian writer and novelist, is the man responsible for reawakening worldwide public interest in George MacDonald through publication of his edited and original editions of MacDonald's books.        Michael Phillips (1946-), Californian writer and novelist, is one of the key individuals responsible for reawakening worldwide public interest in George MacDonald through publication of his edited and original editions of MacDonald's books. He is himself of Scottish royal descent traceable in a direct line back to Scotland's King Malcolm and Queen Margaret.
        Phillips first discovered MacDonald's work in the early 1970s. Dismayed to learn that all MacDonald's major fiction, as well as most other titles, were unavailable, Phillips embarked on an ambitious lifetime project to re-introduce the world to the remarkable Victorian author. Phillips' vision was fivefold: 1) To produce edited versions of MacDonald's dialect-heavy Scottish novels. The purpose of redacting these masterpieces was a practical one-hopefully to interest a contemporary publisher (skeptical about a dense 500 page Victorian tome) to publish and promote them, and also to make MacDonald's stories and spiritual wisdom attractive and compelling to a new and less literarily patient reading audience. 2) To produce high quality editions of MacDonald's original works that would stand the test of time and insure that MacDonald's legacy endured into future generations. 3) To produce additional books, studies, and materials about MacDonald, which included the first major new biography of MacDonald in more than fifty years. 4) To author his own original books emphasizing similar priorities and perspectives as did MacDonald, and, to the extent the marketplace allowed, to adapt himself to MacDonald's style in order to turn readers comfortably from his own work to MacDonald's. 5) To produce a periodical that challenged Christians toward bold thinking Christianity, by keeping alive the legacy of George MacDonald as well as his own spiritual vision.
        Phillips began his initial editing of MacDonald's Malcolm in the mid 1970s. Though it took five years and rejections by thirty houses to find a publisher to believe with him that MacDonald could speak to new generations, the eventual publication of Phillips' redacted edition of Malcolm was so successful and received so enthusiastically by the reading public and the MacDonald community, that it led to the eventual publication of eighteen redacted volumes. The 20th century MacDonald renaissance had begun!
        Over the next twenty years, Phillips expanded his efforts toward the other aspects of his vision, producing original full length editions to accompany the redacted novels, writing an acclaimed biography of MacDonald, George MacDonald, Scotland's Beloved Storyteller, producing a series of books and studies about MacDonald, penning dozens of novels of his own that were equally well received, and most recently inaugurating the periodical Leben. Phillips' home in Eureka, California remains the base of his work, Sunrise Publishing, Leben, and the MacDonald/Phillips Center.
        Phillips is today generally recognized as one of the foremost purveyors of MacDonald's message. As his own volume of work reaches a stature of significance in its own right, he is regarded by many as one of many successors to MacDonald's vision and spiritual legacy for a new generation.

How The Vision Began To Bring George MacDonald Back Into Print
by Michael Phillips

Reprinted from the Preface to the 1982 edition of The Fisherman's Lady

Dear Mr. Phillips,
It was with great interest that I procured a copy of The Marquis Secret…Naturally it is with great delight that myself and the members of the Society greet any re-issue of a GMD book…I would of course be interested to know of any future plans that you have for out of print MacDonald books.
I hasten to add my grateful thanks for your literary initiative….
Phil Streeter, Chairman

        I first heard of George MacDonald ten or twelve years ago when a friend read me the following quote from an old out-of-print book he was reading: "Anyone who has enjoyed the writings of C.S. Lewis will quite naturally want to move on eventually to George MacDonald."
        My first reaction was very near shock.
        "How dare she say - even hint! - that anyone can compare with C.S. Lewis?" I said to myself. "Not to mention the implication that this MacDonald, whoever he is, could have produced writings beyond his; why, the thing's preposterous!"
How The Vision Began To Bring George MacDonald Back Into Print        I was a totally committed C.S. Lewis devotee - still am! I was jealous of any insinuation threatening Lewis's position in my mind as the greatest writer of all time. And to say you could "move on" from Lewis to someone else - implying Lewis to be the lightweight, MacDonald the heavyweight - that was a premise I could never allow, no matter who MacDonald was!
        Yet somehow I couldn't get that quote out of my head. And eventually I had to find out who George MacDonald was and what he had written.
        When I found MacDonald's two Princess and Curdie fairy tales in our local library, my Narnian appetite for top-notch fairy stories coupled with Christian allegory was quite naturally aroused. And upon completion I did have to admit, "Hmm, these are pretty good - a definite addition to the Narnian tradition."

“Dear Mr. Phillips,
“My good friend DP has forwarded your letter to me and requested that I send it along to Dr. Lyle Dorsett, Curator of the Marion E. Wade Collection, Wheaton College, My successor in that position. I am pleased to do so.
As for myself, I continue to have a real interest in your work and should be glad to go on your mailing list…I do believe that MacDonald is undergoing a ‘revival’ just now and am glad for it.”
—Clyde S. Kilby, 1984

        I continued to seek out other MacDonald works, for by now I could see that he held definite promise. I found Gibbie and North Wind and enjoyed them as well. I was discovering in MacDonald the very thing that had always made Lewis so special - the ability to include insightful principles and profound wisdom in a top-flight, well-written, compelling story. And MacDonald seemed to share Lewis's wide-ranging gifts and abilities as a writer. He was not limited to one or two particular styles or genres. I found adult fantasies, children's fantasies, adult novels, children's novels, realism, allegory, short stories, daily devotions, poetry, sermons, essays, translations and history. And in whatever he did I sensed the same wisdom coming forth, the same penetrating spiritual perception concerning intensely practical concerns.

It was a pleasure meeting you…you are doing an important work. I pray God will bless these efforts, that more people will read MacDonald, and that ultimately people will know our Savior.
—Lyle Dorsett, Curator
The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton.

        After reading the few MacDonald's I could find, my curiosity was kindled to learn what I could about the man. And what should I discover first but that he had been Lewis's favorite author! He was to C.S. Lewis what Lewis had always been to me. So highly did Lewis feel indebted to him, in fact, that he compiled an anthology of selections from MacDonald's works, in the forward of which he made the statement: "I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master." And, indeed, wherever I went in the writings of Lewis from that time on, I began to find hints of this very thing: His letters often mention various MacDonald books he was reading at the time. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis credits MacDonald's Phantastes with starting him on the road toward conversion to Christianity, and in The Great Divorce Lewis has MacDonald act as his guide through heaven. I wondered how I could have missed all this before!
        Clearly, though MacDonald had been dead for three quarters of a century, he was nevertheless a literary force to be reckoned with; his books seemed to have a profound influence wherever they were read. Yet as I began to delve more deeply into the life of this nineteenth-century Scotsman, I quickly discovered that though he had written over fifty volumes, less than ten were currently in print or available.
        So I began a long search - through old bookstores dealing in used books, out-of-print search services, obtaining copies from other loyal fans - and gradually unearthed many more of MacDonald's books which I had not read. What I discovered was that his most common form of writing was the lengthy Victorian novel, much like those of his friend and contemporary Charles Dickens. Though none of his full-length adult fiction was then in print, it had been by far MacDonald's most frequently used format.

“Anybody who likes MacDonald owes you, Mr. Phillips, some thanks. Through your edited versions he has become my favorite author.”

        And as I began to read these novels, something very similar to the aura surrounding the Narnian tales settled upon me. But it was different. I was transported, not to a make-believe fairy world, but to the solid reality of Scotland, where the raw force and beauty of nature - the peat moors, the rugged seascape, the high mountains, the icy streams - and the simple, strong and passionate natures of the Scottish people of MacDonald's creation captured my heart and fancy just as thoroughly as had the talking beasts, the green meadows and the ocean's warm salt spray of Aslan's Narnia.

“These books will assuredly be read yet again when the world has grown wise enough to appreciate their writer’s singleness of vision and the open road between him and God.”
—Greville MacDonald, 1924

        Great writers have the gift of creating a world in the imagination of their readers. Tolkien has given us middle earth; for his readers Lewis brought Narnia, Malacandra and Perelandra to life. MacDonald's contribution is a Scotland where the heroes are as real and captivating as Sam, Frodo, Caspian or Lucy. Who could meet David Elginbrod, wee Sir Gibbie, Donal Grant's mentor - old Andrew, or the piper Duncan and be the same afterward? Because the fairy-tale allegory is in such high vogue today is no reason to overlook the traditional novel as being able to yield equal fruit in the imagination. For though MacDonald's created world is solid and real - an actual place - it is nonetheless powerful to move our hearts and change our lives. Surely his heavy impact on the writing and ideas and created worlds of Tolkien and Lewis and others speaks for itself.

“We were hooked on George MacDonald. I could not understand how I ever missed him all these years…Like a breath of fresh air, so full of nuggets of wisdom, so rich in spiritual lessons and insights.”

        It is my hope to introduce you to the world of George MacDonald's fiction. This is, in my opinion, one of MacDonald's most pleasurable novels. It is a thriller in every sense of the word. Yet, as you will see, it contains far more than mere plot.
        I can truthfully say that if you enjoy fiction, and especially if you enjoy the writings of C.S. Lewis, you will want to move on to George MacDonald - not because MacDonald is necessarily better than Lewis, but because he offers more of the same. What is great in Lewis is also great in MacDonald.
        Snuggle up cozily to a warm fire, let your mind drift off across the miles to MacDonald's homeland, and allow that man of wisdom and spinner of yarns to envelope you in his tale.

        I hope you enjoy your journey into MacDonald's world as much as I have!


PRESS RELEASE, JUNE 1999 BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS AUTHOR NEWSBethany House Publishers is pleased to announce that sales for their books by Michael Phillips have reached the four million books mark. A multi-talented author with a particular involvement in the history and legends of Scotland and the British Isles, Phillips is well known for his layered plots, his compelling characterization, and the unique spiritual aspects that he brings to all of his works.

Ranging from original myths in the tradition of C.S. Lewis-The Garden at the Edge of Beyond-to historical fiction in the tradition of George MacDonald, Phillips has written or co-authored over twenty books including the popular historical fiction series, "The Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall" and "The Stonewycke Trilogy" and "The Stonewycke Legacy." He is also the biographer of George MacDonald and the editor of "The George MacDonald Classics"  series. His most recent work includes a new historical series, "Caledonia," which traces the ancient heritage and history of his beloved Scotland. We congratulate him for this fine achievement and thank all of the readers who have immersed themselves in the worlds he has created.

A Reprint from Release Ink, August/September 1995
By Holly G. Miller

A Reprint from Release Ink, August/September 1995

Michael Phillips - The Eleventh Hour


Michael Phillips - A Rose Remembered


Michael Phillips - Dawn of Liberty

Michael Phillips - A God to Call Father & "Master it is good for us to be here"

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