I have just finished reading Phantastes by George MacDonald. What an extraordinary work ... not quite as extraordinary as Lilith ... but still deeply compelling. MacDonald's writing reveals a goodness, a simplicity and purity of soul while telling captivating tales. He doesn't tell us how to be good ... he shows us through story.
George MacDonald was a Scot and as the daughter of a Scot, I can verify that many of our clan are passionate, loyal, sentimental, often spiritual, mystics whose imaginations create tales of enormous proportion. MacDonald is, after all, the mentor C.S. Lewis attributes to baptizing his imagination.
Over the next few days, I will post a few MacDonald quotes from Phantastes accompanied by the phenomenal photography from the blog islay pictures. We stayed on Islay a few summers ago and if there is anywhere that captures the mystical ... this island is one of the most evocative.
"Afterwards I learned, that the best way to manage some kinds of painful thoughts, is to dare them to do their worst; to let them lie and gnaw at your heart till they are tired; and you find you still have a residue of life they cannot kill."
"But is it not ... that art rescues nature from the weary and sated regards of our senses, and the degrading injustice of our anxious everyday life, and, appealing to the imagination, which dwells apart, reveals nature in some degree as she really is, and as she represents herself to the eye of the child, whose everyday life, fearless and unambitious, meets the true import of the wonder-teeming world around him, and rejoices therein without questioning."