Phantastes (The Cullen Collection vol 1)

$ 13.00
This new edition of George MacDonald's 1858 classic is presented and introduced as Volume 1 of 38 in The Cullen Collection by Michael Phillips.

George MacDonald’s first major fiction work, in MacDonald’s words “a sort of fairy tale for grown people,” Phantastes was published in 1858. This unusual fantasy, subtitled a “fairie romance,” is one of MacDonald’s most enigmatic and esoteric titles. The book’s narrator, Anodos, enters Fairy Land through a mysterious old wooden secretary. From that beginning, he embarks on a dream-like series of encounters that follow the form of an epic quest, though the purpose and destination of his journey remain cryptic and obscure and are never fully clarified.

Two volumes of poetry prior to this had set MacDonald apart as a talented young author to watch in England's literary circles. Sales of Phantastes, however, proved a disappointment, and [“thus” removed, which could be done on back cover too—I did not catch Judy’s note about it till now—but not a big deal if you’ve already done the cover] MacDonald ultimately turned to the writing of realistic fiction in the 1860s. When young atheist C.S. Lewis discovered Phantastes in 1916, within a few hours he said he knew he “had crossed a great frontier.” MacDonald’s unusual fantasy set Lewis on the road toward his eventual conversion to Christianity, and forever after he referred to MacDonald as his “master.” In spite of its poor initial reception among Victorian readers, Lewis’s affection for it established Phantastes as one of MacDonald’s most enduring and studied works in literary and academic circles.

Bulloch writes: “This was MacDonald’s first prose work. It took him ‘two months to write without any close work’ (Greville, p. 290). F.D. Maurice introduced him to Smith, Elder, as possible publishers, and they paid him £50 for the book, including the copyright, and it was published on Oct. 28, 1858. The book…has important bearing on MacDonald’s philosophical outlook…Greville MacDonald aptly describes it as ‘as spiritual pilgrimage out of this world of impoverishing possession into the Kingdom of Heaven,’ dealing with ‘the eclipse of truth by the Shadow, whom yet the sun may set speeding into nothingness.’ It is much simpler than the companion ‘Lilith’ written thirty-seven years later (1895). Dr. Greville MacDonald suggests that his father was partly inspired by Hoffman’s fairy story the Golden Pot, probably through Carlyle’s translation of 1827. The title, ‘Phantastes,’ was taken from Phineas Fletcher’s ‘Purple Island’ (1633)…”

Phantastes is included in the Full Length Fantasies set of the Cullen Collection.
225 Pages
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