George MacDonald occupied a major position in the intellectual life of his Victorian contemporaries. This volume brings together all eleven of his shorter fairy stories as well as his essay "The Fantastic Imagination". The subjects are those of traditional fantasy: good and wicked fairies, children embarking on elaborate quests, and journeys into unsettling dreamworlds. Within this familiar imaginative landscape, his children's stories were profoundly experimental, questioning the association of childhood with purity and innocence, and the need to separate fairy tale wonder from adult scepticism and disbelief.
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a minister who was rejected by his congregation, and struggled thereafter to support his family of eleven children by writing. In his own day he was celebrated as poet, preacher, and lecturer, and as the author of numerous novels. He is best known today for his vivid children's stories. U. C. Knoepflmacher has published widely on children's literature and the Victorian period.