George Macdonald

1824-1905. Scottish novelist and poet. Born at Huntly, Aberdeenshire, he studied at King's College, Aberdeen, and Highbury Theological College and became minister of a Congregational church at Arundel, Sussex, in 1850. For expressing views on final judgment that left some hope for the heathen, he was opposed by his deacons and had his salary reduced from £150. By 1853 the situation had become intolerable, and he resigned, thereafter supporting himself and his wife by lecturing, tutoring, writing, and occasionally preaching. Though his health was poor and his poverty great, his writings show little trace of this, and much of a deep faith in God. He reacted against the Calvinism of his day, but not violently, and never became liberal in theology. C.S. Lewis,* who owed much to him, rated Phantastes (1858), the Curdie books, and Lilith (1895) among his great works. MacDonald's novels, while containing many quotable sayings, are too verbose to be good. He was at his best as a myth-maker, and it was the quality of cheerful goodness in his work that captured Lewis's imagination and convinced him that real righteousness is not dull.