Friday, August 28, 2015


C.S. Lewis credited George MacDonald with "baptizing" his imagination; that when he read Phantastes it aroused a special sense of awe and mystery like nothing before; a sense that stayed with him for the rest of his life.

In that mysterious land the hero is a bumbling failure: "Alas, how easily things go wrong! A sigh too much, or a kiss too long, And there follows a mist and a weeping rain, And life is never the same again." But MacDonald was a Universalist, and wrote of hope beyond any disaster.

I liked Lilith better when I first read the books; it seemed to have a stronger narrative, and I liked the characters better. But youth doesn't always understand Fairyland, and I think it is time to read Phantastes again.

Sometimes you re-read a book because you need a little familiar amusement. Sometimes you re-read it because you need to hear the voice again; because you need to be reminded of something important. Last month I went back to A Canticle for Leibowitz.

This chapter of Lilith reminds me of the ending of The Last Battle.


Texan99 said...

I tried both Lilith and Phantastes, but they weren't for me--such a disappointment, given Lewis's recommendation. A Canticle for Liebowitz, on the other hand, is one of my favorites.

james said...

I gather Lewis liked Canticle a lot too.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Same here. I felt I wanted to like George or Lewis's say-so, but just couldn't.