Macdonald, George, 1824-1905

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MacDonald was British poet and novelist.

From the guide to the George MacDonald papers, ca. 1851-1905., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

MacDonald was a British poet and novelist.

From the description of George MacDonald papers, ca. 1851-1905. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612373115

This Scottish children's author and novelist was the son of a weaver who attended Aberdeen University before training as a Congregational minister. His stories "At the Back of the North Wind" and "The Princess and Curdie," demonstrate a blend of Christian symbolism and mystical imagination.

From the description of Correspondence and Manuscript, 1863-1893. (Temple University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 122468154

George MacDonald, Scottish-born minister and writer, was the author of a large number of popular regional novels, children's books, and poetry collections.

From the description of George MacDonald Collection, (1822-1946). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702132895

George MacDonald--poet, novelist, fantasy writer, and minister--was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on December 10, 1824, one of six children of George and Helen Mackay MacDonald. Educated locally, MacDonald attended King's College, Aberdeen, taking his M. A. degree in 1845. Brought up in a strict Calvinist environment, MacDonald, after a brief stint as a tutor, prepared for the ministry, attending Highbury Theological college in 1848 and accepting a ministerial post at Trinity Congregational Church at Arundel in 1850.

In 1851 he married Louisa Powell, and the next year the first of their eleven children was born. MacDonald's first real publication was a privately printed translation of Twelve of the Spiritual Songs of Novalis, distributed only to close friends. After resigning his position at Arundel and moving to Manchester in 1853, tutoring and giving lectures on English literature to pay for room and board, he turned increasingly to writing. After contributing poems, articles, and brief stories to the Monthly Christian Spectator, he achieved his first publishing success in 1855 with the appearance of Within and Without, a long dramatic poem in blank verse with the strong religious overtones that were to characterize all of his subsequent publications.

Although he never held another full-time pastorate after his post at Arundel, MacDonald remained active in the ministry for the rest of his life, preaching sermons on call as an independent to a wide audience. Except for a brief position as a lecturer in literature at Bedford College in London (1859) and a short term as editor of Good Words for the Young (1869-1872), a popular juvenile publication, he was forced to depend on his writings and his lecture tours for income to support his large family. Never in good health, MacDonald faced a continuous series of afflictions that impeded his productivity and his ability to support his family, although he managed to publish some fifty works of poetry, fantasy fiction, tales of simple Scottish life, essays, sermons, and children's books.

MacDonald's reputation as a writer and a speaker earned him the admiration and patronage of Lady Noel Byron, sister of the poet, and gained him a profitable American lecture tour in 1872, where he met and became friends with most of the famous literati in the country, especially the editor and poet Richard Watson Gilder.

Constantly plagued by health and money problems (even after being awarded a Civil List Pension by Queen Victoria in 1877), MacDonald was often forced to relocate his family to take advantage of good climate and whatever economic opportunities were present; thus the family moved from Manchester to Hastings (1857), to London (1859), to Hammersmith (1867), to Bournemouth (1875), and finally to Bordighera, Italy (1880), a move necessitated by the poor health of MacDonald and several of his children. By 1877 the family found it necessary to help meet expenses by presenting amateur theatrics to a paying audience, an activity that eventually involved the whole family and several neighbors.

George MacDonald has retained some reputation as an author of fantasy fiction and annals of Scottish life. Most popular among his novels and fantasy stories are Phantastes (1858), David Elginbrod (1863), Robert Falconer (1868), At the Back of the North Wind (1871), The Princess and the Goblin (1872), Sir Gibbie (1879), and Lilith (1895). He has been credited with influencing the work of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and other modern practicers of fantasy.

After suffering a serious stroke in 1898 that incapacitated him both mentally and physically, MacDonald needed constant care. He died on September 18, 1905 at age 80 and was buried at Bordighera.

From the guide to the George MacDonald Collection, (1822-1946), (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn J.M. Dent & Sons. J.M. Dent & Sons records, 1834-1986 (author files L-M). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885. Autograph file, M, 1648-1975. Houghton Library
referencedIn Cartes-de-visite album and biographies, ca. 1875-1876. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Macbride, David. Nycteris and the lamp : a one movement ballet for orchestra / David Macbride ; based on a fairy tale by George Macdonald. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
creatorOf Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888. Album leaf with autograph quotations, 1868-1891. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Harcourt Amory collection of Lewis Carroll, 1843-1915. Houghton Library
creatorOf MacDonald, John Hill, 1830-1858. My journal : manuscript, 1850-1856. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Holland, J. G. (Josiah Gilbert), 1819-1881. Autograph letter signed : New York, to Saxton, [Troy, N.Y.],f1873 Feb. 21. Texas Christian University
creatorOf MacDonald, George, 1824-1905. George MacDonald Collection, (1822-1946). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf George MacDonald Collection, (1822-1946) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn William Tallack Correspondence, 1830-1907 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf MacDonald, George, 1824-1905. Autograph letter signed George MacDonald to: Dear Sir [John W. Tufts] October 23, 1882. Wellesley College
referencedIn Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882. Letters to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1761-1904 (bulk 1820-1888) Houghton Library
referencedIn Portrait file: Guide. Houghton Library
referencedIn John MacKay Shaw Collection, 1737-2007
referencedIn Autograph File, M, 1648-1985. Houghton Library
creatorOf MacDonald, George, 1824-1905. George MacDonald papers, ca. 1851-1905. Houghton Library
referencedIn The Briggs Collection of Literary Papers and Correspondence from the Sutton family, Nottingham, 1818-1915, 1818-1915 The University of Nottingham
referencedIn W. B. (William Butler) Yeats letter to George MacDonald, 1938 and undated University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Macdonald, Greville, 1856-1944. Papers, 1905-1949 (bulk 1924-1944). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf MacDonald, George, 1824-1905,. Autograph letter signed from George MacDonald, Hastings, to Mess. Redpath & Fall, Boston [manuscript], 1872 March 12. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt & Son correspondence, 1883-1917. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885. Papers of Helen Hunt Jackson [manuscript], 1865-1884. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Free Library of Philadelphia Collection of Literary Manuscripts, 1666-1990 Free Library of Philadelphia: Rare Book Department
creatorOf George MacDonald papers, ca. 1851-1905. Houghton Library
referencedIn Holland Collection of Literary Letters (MS 168), 1850-1880, 1872-1878 University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.
creatorOf NDWT Archives (University of Guelph). At The Back Of The North Wind / by George MacDonald, 1976 - unproduced reading script. University of Guelph
referencedIn A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors Le-M). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn A. P. Watt & Son, 1883-1917. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Amy Lowell autograph collection, 1523-1930. Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859. Autograph manuscript letter (signed) to [Mary] Berry; Bourges, 1843 September 1. Houghton Library
creatorOf MacDonald, George, 1824-1905. Correspondence and Manuscript, 1863-1893. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
referencedIn Papers of and relating to George MacDonald, c 1846 - 1924 University of Aberdeen
referencedIn Du Bois, Henry Osgood, 1855-1949. Henry Osgood Du Bois papers, 1803-1944. New-York Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander Strahan and Company, Publishers. corporateBody
correspondedWith Amory, Harcourt, 1855-1925 person
associatedWith A.P. Watt (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888. person
associatedWith Carroll, Lewis, 1832-1898. person
associatedWith Created by John MacKay Shaw person
associatedWith Dodge, Mary Mapes, 1830-1905. person
associatedWith Du Bois, Henry Osgood, 1855-1949. person
associatedWith Free Library of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith George MacDonald, 1824-1905 person
associatedWith Gilder, Richard Watson, 1844-1909. person
associatedWith Greville MacDonald. person
associatedWith Hill, Octavia, 1838-1912. person
associatedWith Holland, J. G. (Josiah Gilbert), 1819-1881 person
associatedWith Hughes, Arthur, 1832-1915. person
associatedWith Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885. person
associatedWith J.M. Dent & Sons. corporateBody
associatedWith La Touche, Rose. person
correspondedWith Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882 person
correspondedWith Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925 person
associatedWith Macbride, David. person
associatedWith Macdonald, Greville, 1856-1944. person
associatedWith MacDonald, John Hill, 1830-1858. person
associatedWith MacDonald, Louisa (Powell). person
associatedWith Maurice, Frederick Denison, 1805-1872. person
associatedWith McDonald family. family
associatedWith McDonald family. family
associatedWith Munro, Alexander. person
associatedWith Munro, Alexander. person
associatedWith NDWT Archives (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Oliphant, Mrs(Margaret), 1828-1897. person
associatedWith Redpath & Fall. corporateBody
associatedWith Rhys, Ernest, 1859-1946. person
associatedWith Ruskin, John, 1819-1900. person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. person
associatedWith Strahan, Alexander, 1834?-1918. person
associatedWith Tallack, William, 1831-1908 person
associatedWith Tufts, John W. (John Wheeler), 1825-1908. person
associatedWith Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Great Britain
Great Britain
Bordighera (Italy)
Bordighera (Italy)
Family--Religious life--19th century
Amateur plays
Religious fiction
Children's literature
Poetry, Modern--19th century
Religious poetry
Spiritual life
English poetry--19th century
Scottish literature--19th century
Religion in literature
English fiction--Scottish authors
English literature--19th century
Religious thought--19th century
Fiction--19th century
English literature--Illustrations
Scottish fiction
Fantasy fiction, English
Authors--Great Britain
Poets--Great Britain
Novelists--Great Britain
Priests--Great Britain


Birth 1824-12-10

Death 1905-09-18





Ark ID: w6b57js7

SNAC ID: 53838228