(urth) George MacDonald and Peace -Phantastes?
marcaramini at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 5 11:09:17 PST 2014
Well, as we all know, Peace references Lang's Green Fairy Book, Ludwig's biography of Napoleon, some of the fictional literature mentioned in Lovecraft like the Cultes des Goules, the Necronomicon, and Marvells of Science (Ambrose Bierce is involved there, too). There is an additional mention of the tales of George MacDonald near Lang's book, and even though I am thorough, I wasn't about to read the collected works of MacDonald before finishing my Peace write up. So the decision was to look over the more famous work and see if anything resonated.
Maybe Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women does just a bit - it begins on the hero's 21st birthday when his room becomes a natural wood and he crosses into Fairy Land, and he is warned that the Ash Tree and the Alder Tree spirits seek to destroy him, spirits which can leave their trees. Interestingly enough, the Ash tree is in the Olive tree family, and the Alder Tree is related to the elm. He finds a statue by Pygmalion which flees from him, and eventually, he dies in fairy land to wake back up into the real world, thinking that he had been there 21 years when it was only 21 days. While birthdays, deaths, and living statues are not necessarily anything unusual in fantasy, I felt that perhaps there was some, at the very least, riffing on some of these themes, what with the two trees in front of Mr. Tilly's house, a man becoming a living statue, though these are not precise linkages.
The Princess and the Goblin didn't seem to fit too well thematically, save for the old "who will the princess marry?" connection - but that could be about half of all pre 20th century literature.
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