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The Complete Fairy Tales

February 4, 2018
Complete Fairy Tales MacDonald
Published: 2/24/2000
Page Count: 354
George MacDonald occupied a major position in the intellectual life of his Victorian contemporaries. This volume brings together all eleven of his shorter fairy stories as well as his essay "The Fantastic Imagination". The subjects are those of traditional fantasy: good and wicked fairies, children embarking on elaborate quests, and journeys into unsettling dreamworlds. Within this familiar imaginative landscape, his children's stories were profoundly experimental, questioning the association of childhood with purity and innocence, and…

I give this book 5 stars really on the strength of three of its stories- The Light Princess, The History of Phtogen and Nycteris, and my favorite of all, The Wise Woman or the Lost Princess. Not that the other stories are bad, but to me these three rise above the rest. The Light Princess has a great deal of Christian imagery and symbolism, but it is superficially like most fairy tales, especially Sleeping Beauty. The end is really quite moving. Photogen and Nycteris feels a bit more like classical mythology. Its story and imagery are very much fantastical and even a bit eerie. But its has a great deal of depth. However, even amongst these three, my far and away favorite story was The Wise Woman or the Lost Princess. Pound for pound, word for word, this is probably my favorite piece of fiction that I have ever read. The story contains so much prfound wisdom and spiritual insight that it is truly amazing. The story is powerfully convicting. MacDonald gives us a window into the soul that few writers are able to do. That he did this through a fairy tale was even more incredible, but after reading this book, I will not underestimate the genre again. In fact, from this and other works I’ve read lately, I wonder if the fairy story and its variations are not perhaps the quintessential or ultimate achievement in literature. I absolutely loved this story and will be reading it again and again through the years.

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