Study of George MacDonald and the Image of Woman

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Examines the theory that MacDonald wrote his fantasies out of his private inner world, in an attempt to solve the problems of identity left him by his mother who died while he was very young, problems which pursued him through life. Throughout his work is found a perplexity about the figure of woman. On the one hand the image of woman is a source of great inspiration, as with the old woman spinning the thread of life in the Curdie stories, or in the image of idealised naked women in Phantastes. The study throws light on the association in the human mind between woman and death. He searches behind the religious impulses of MacDonald to try to find the psychological quest which the writer was trying to perform.


David Holbrook not only gives us an imaginative and convincing analysis of MacDonald’s childhood fantasy life but illuminates the universal experience of infancy and , in particular, the arrested sensitivity of the Victorian age.” – Peter Lomas

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Part One: Introductory
1. Introduction: George MacDonald and his Mother
2. The Problem of Weaning
3. A Biographical Note
Part Two: Problems of Symbolism and Woman
4. Problems of Woman, Being and Death
5. The Golden Key
Part Three: George MacDonald’s Fairy Tales
6. The Gifts of the Christ Child
7. The Princess and the Goblin: the Triumph of Love
8. The Princess and Curdie: the Failure of Continuity
9. The Lost Princess: a Double Story
10. At the Back of the North Wind: through the Mother’s Loins to Death
11. Phantastes: the Episodic Attempt to be Born Again
12. Lilith: Loving the Evil Female
Part Four: Conclusions
13. Death, Belief and the other World
14. Conclusions: Art and the Longing for Being
Bibliography; Index

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