'At the Back of the North Wind' is
one of MacDonald's best loved
First published in 1870, it has
remained in print and in people's
hearts ever since. Full of beauty,
joy and wisdom, this story is
comforting, haunting &
challenging by turns. Set in 19th
Century London, it tells of
Diamond, the son of a
coachman, and his adventures
with North Wind, a mysterious,
beautiful & sometimes dreadful
spirit at whose back lies the
greatest of all adventures.
George Macdonald (1824-1905)
was a friend to Lewis Carroll &
has been acknowledged by
W.H.Auden and many others.
This haunting faerie tale by
MacDonald was an inspiration to
C S Lewis, David Lindsay and J
R R Tolkien.
Many may have read unawares
George Macdonald's words in
the work of C.S.Lewis, who once
wrote, "I have never concealed
the fact that I regarded
Macdonald as my master, indeed
I fancy I have never written a
book in which I did not quote
from him." Singled out as "great
works" by Lewis were :
"Phantastes", The "Curdie"
books, "The Golden Key", "The
Wise Woman", and "Lilith".
MacDonald was a friend to Lewis
Carroll and shared his opinion
that eternal damnation was
incompatible with a Christian
loving God. Both of them held
church positions and were
punished by the authorites of
their respective churches.
Fortunately for us this forced
MacDonald to find his living in
writing for money.
This book follows The Princess
and the Goblin and together
they are the Curdie books which
Lewis regarded so highly. "I do
not write for children, but for the
childlike, whether of five, or fifty,
or seventy-five." - George
This book can be read on its
own, or with 'The Princess and
the Goblin', as a simple fairy
story, a moral tale, or on varying
Mister Vane is learning his way
which is filled with doorways to
another world - the world of
Lilith. What is dream and what is
reality? Is he alive or is he dead?
Will he ever find how to get back
home? If ever find how to get
back home? If he does, will he
want to go?
Published towards the end of his
life Lilith, like Phantastes, is a
fairy-tale for grown-ups, it is also
a profound lesson and warning
and an expression of the version
of Christianity which denies
damnation for espousing which
Macdonald and Lewis Carroll
were rejected by the established
It is possible that this may be
one of the inspirations for the
'Inkling', Charles Williams' book
'Descent into Hell' which features
a character called Lily Samille,
(Lilith daughter of the fallen
angel Samael the Accursed). It
features similar themes of
illusion and self-deception.
George Macdonald (1824-1905) was a great writer of fairy-tales and other stories. He was a friend of Carlyle, Tennyson, William Morris
and Lewis Carroll and is known to have influenced David Lindsay, Charles Williams, C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle,
W H Auden, and many others.
Anodos (whose name means
'the way upwards', 'ascent' or
'enlightenment') has inherited,
on his twenty-first birthday, the
keys to an old desk in which he
finds a secret compartment.
When he has opened it a tiny
woman appears, as if from the
space within, and, soon after, he
finds himself in fairyland.
Phantastes, a Faerie
Romance is a fairy tale for
grown-ups by George
MacDonald, who was an
inspiration to C. S. Lewis, (in
Surprised by Joy Lewis tells of
the transformation this book
worked upon him when he found
it on a book-stand in a railway