George MacDonald - Author Who Influenced C.S. Lewis

George MacDonald - Author Who Influenced C.S. Lewis Famous People Philosophy Visual Arts

C.S. Lewis said he was influenced by the Scottish writer, and thinker, George MacDonald (who was already dead by the time Lewis was a young adult).  He describes how he first "met" the Scot.

One day, just before catching a train, Lewis bought Phantastes (by George MacDonald) at the train-station's bookstall.  So impressed with what he read, he later remarked: 

A few hours later [after beginning the book] I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.

Lewis was not the only writer influenced by MacDonald (also spelled Macdonald) who is often called "The Father of Fantasy." So were these other famous authors:

  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mark Twain
  • W. H. Auden
  • E. Nesbit
  • Madeleine L’Engle

Julie Oreskovich—writing for Abe Books—tells us more about the writer and his lasting impact on fantasy literature:

George MacDonald (1824-1905) - a Scottish Victorian novelist - was well-read and revered by an impressive selection of literary figures. CS Lewis, CK Chesterton, JRR Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle and Mark Twain (who apparently initially disliked MacDonald but ultimately became his friend) have all cited MacDonald as being a large influence on their own work.

His lecturing and views brought him wide recognition and respect. MacDonald wrote over 50 books, including, poetry, novels, short stories, fantasy, sermons and essays. Many of his novels were part autobiographical and focused on his upbringing and life in Scotland.

The prolific author started his career as a clergyman but that was short-lived as some of his views preached from the pulpit were ill received. It was at this time that he switched focus and began to write full time.

MacDonald is most famously known for his fantasy novels: "The Princess and the Goblin," "Lilith," "Phantastes" and "At the Back of the North Wind" and his fairy tales such as "The Wise Woman," "The Light Princess" and "The Golden Key."

MacDonald famously stated that “I write, not for children, but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five.”

MacDonald can be credited for convincing Lewis Carroll to submit his "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" manuscript for publication after sharing the story with MacDonald’s children. In return, Carroll - a noted photographer of his time - took pictures of MacDonald’s children.

The influence MacDonald had on the literary world is immeasurable.

MacDonald passed away in 1905 and interest in his work started to wane and many of his books went out-of-print. At the centenary of his birth in 1924, a brief uptake in interest in his work resulted in some new titles including the first major biography of his life, George MacDonald and His Wife, written by his son, Greville MacDonald.

This photo depicts George MacDonald at work during 1862.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 11, 2019

Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy George MacDonald.com



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"George MacDonald - Author Who Influenced C.S. Lewis" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 11, 2019.
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