Story, the Teller, and the Audience in George Macdonald’s Fiction

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Emphasizes George MacDonald’s achievement as a Victorian novelist, critic, and thinker who anticipates many of the issues surrounding readers, texts, and authors we tend to think of as modern or postmodern. It also shows his awareness of the role of faith in these literary interrelationships. It examines novels which are often overlooked, such as Sir Gibbie and Wilfrid Cumbermede, finding in these more realistic works similar textual preoccupations to those in the fantasies.


“Good and intelligent literary criticism is, today, a relatively rare phenomenon as dry theory trends replace the careful reading and appreciation of texts. This rarity makes [Ankeny’s] book on the writings of George MacDonald all the more welcome. . . . This study places MacDonald firmly at the heart of Victorian conversations about religion and literature and confirms the importance of the latter. It also demonstrates how MacDonald is more than just an inspiration for Lewis and Chesterton, but also anticipates much in modern (and even postmodern) literary exploration, and most specifically many of the central issues in our own debates about the relationship between literature, textuality and reading, and the questions of religious belief.” – David Jasper

"Ankeny's innovative study examines the text as a means of communication between author and audience, and links writing with other forms of creation in claiming that a writer is like the creator of nature." - Years Work in English Studies, vol. 81, number 13

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface by Roderick McGillis
1. The Significance of Text and the True Reader
2. ‘Can Ye Read, Cratur?’” Literacy, Humanity, and Epistemology
3. ‘Come in to the Beuk’: Text as Invitation to Relationship
4. ‘I’ll Gather O’ the Healin; ‘At Grows Up’ The Tree O’ Life: Authors and their Audience
5. ‘A Man May Do Well to Write His Own Life’: Autobiography and the Co-Creation of Text
Bibliography; Index

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