George MacDonald (1824 - 1905) is the acknowledged forefather of later fantasy writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien: however, his place in his own time is seldom examined. This omission does MacDonald a grave disservice. By ignoring a fundamental aspect of what made MacDonald the man he was, the critical habit of viewing MacDonald's work only in terms of his followers reinforces the long-entrenched assessment that it has a limited value - one only for religious enthusiasts and fantasy lovers. The essays in this anthology seek to correct that omission, by looking directly at MacDonald the Victorian - at his place in the Victorian literary scene, at his engagement with the works of his literary contemporaries and at his interest in the social, political, and theological movements of his age. The resulting portrait reveals a MacDonald who deserves a more prominent place in the rich literary history of the nineteenth century than he has hitherto been given.
Introduction Part One: Belief and Scepticism 1. The Idea of Tradition in George MacDonald - Stephen Prickett 2. 'Divine Alchemy': The Miracles of Our Lord in its Context - Daniel Gabelman 3. 'With all sorts of doubts I am familiar': George MacDonald's literary response to John Ruskin's struggles with epistemology - Jocie Slepyan 4. Thomas Wingfold, Curate and the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Eugenics Debate - Ginger Stelle Part Two: Social Reform and Gender 5. George MacDonald's Approach to Victorian Social Reform in The Vicar's Daughter - Jeffrey W. Smith 6. Military Bodies and Masculinity in 'The Broken Swords' - Jenny Neophytou 7. God and Gender in Robert Falconer: Deifying the Feminine - Philip Hickok 8. Imagining Reformed Communities: Discussing Social Myths in George MacDonald's Princess Novels and Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market' - Christine Chettle 9. Sitting on the Doorstep: MacDonald's Aesthetic Fantasy Worlds and the Divine Child-Figure - Ally Crockford Part Three: Ideals and Nightmares 10. Stirring the Senses: Identity and Suspense in George MacDonald's David Elginbrod - Elizabeth Andrews 11. 'La Belle Dame' - Lilith and the Romantic Vampire Tradition - David Melville Wingrove 12. Gothic Degeneration and Romantic Rebirth in Donal Grant - Jennifer Koopman 13. Pictures on a Page: George MacDonald and the Visual Arts - Helen Sutherland Part Four: Scotland 14. Speaking Matrilineally (and Especially of Uncle Mackintosh MacKay) - Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson 15. How the Fairies were not Invited to Court - John Patrick Pazdziora 16. George MacDonald and the Grave Livers of Scotland - David Robb