Introduction to the Sunrise Centenary Editions
A Bibliography of 20th Century New Editions of MacDonald's Works, in both Redacted and Original Formats, Reissued by Michael Phillips.
During the final forty years of the last century, Scottish author George MacDonald (1824-1905) produced some 53 volumes of great diversity, mostly novels but also including poetry, fairy tales, sermons, short stories, and literary essays. Though in his time MacDonald was one of Britain's top-selling and most respected authors, in the twentieth century his books gradually became unavailable. The time eventually came when not a single original full-length novel, not a single volume of poetry, not a single original sermon, and not a single literary essay of George MacDonald's was to be found in print on either side of the Atlantic. A great literary and spiritual legacy seemed in danger of being lost.
However, as MacDonald himself so perceptively noted in Paul Faber, Surgeon through the mouth of Joseph Polwarth, though fashions change and though trends may be neglected for a season, ancient, forgotten flowers can reappear in an old garden suddenly. All the time their essential life has been hid below the surface awaiting opportunity to spring into bloom once again. Such is true with writing styles also as we are witnessing in the late years of the 20th century. After decades of being overlooked, George MacDonald has once again become a literary influence in the lives of many thousands the world over.
As part of that process, Sunrise Books is proud to offer these new "Centenary" editions of the works of George MacDonald, bringing back to the reading public a hundred years after their first publication, the stories, truths, insights, and spiritual perspectives of this man of God.
It is our sincere hope and prayer that these books will exercise an equal impact in our own generation as they did a century ago. Furthermore, when still another hundred years shall have passed, perhaps these 20th century facsimiles will enable publishers, libraries, and editors to continue making MacDonald's life-changing message available to future generations. For it is a message which must be told anew to every generation. The call of George MacDonald's life and the essential cry of his heart through the body of his work is the call to a lifestyle of simplicity and obedience, a call to singleness of mind and purpose in that obedience. It is a challenge to the Christians of the world, both now and in the future, to practice daily, in the next five minutes, their faith in God. It is an exhortation to holiness. It is a call to live like Jesus.
Believing, therefore, in the importance and the permanence of George MacDonald's work, we have given every attention to detail in the reproduction of these volumes. We believe not only that the treasures to be found in these pages are deserving of quality reserved for true classics, we also desire to produce books which will stand the test of time, are worthy to be treasured as family heirlooms, and will provide enjoyment and enrichment for many years to come. We sincerely hope that your investment will yield a truly abundant harvest according to Mark 4:8 in your own life, and in the lives of those with whom you come in contact.
The corpus of George MacDonald's written life's work can roughly be divided into five groupings: Novels, Sermons, Stories, Poems, and Essays. These comprise the five divisions in the series of Sunrise Centenary Editions. We have produced new artwork for the covers. However, much of the front-matter - the pen-and-ink drawings, the 19th century quotations, and whatever dedications MacDonald made - has been taken directly from the original publications. Finally, whenever possible we have photographically reproduced actual original texts for the body of these editions, thus insuring that every word appears just as it originally did. When this has not been possible, every care has been taken to make sure there are no deviations from the original texts.
If through this publication effort, we can have but a small hand in keeping George MacDonald's spiritual heritage alive, we will have fulfilled what we set out to accomplish. Such is our vision, and in that spirit we offer you this present volume.
from the Preface to the Sunrise Centenary Editions