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Lilith by George MacDonald

Lilith (original 1895; edition 1981)

by George MacDonald

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1,238106,423 (3.8)35
Authors:George MacDonald
Info:Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (1981), Paperback, 252 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Christian, Fantasy, unread

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Lilith by George MacDonald (1895)


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I've loved several books by MacDonald, but the descriptions for this mentioned 'evil' and 'horror' - and sure enough when I started to read it was very darkly mysterious. Not to mention allegorical beyond my abilities to decipher. I did read more than 20% before giving up. Oh well. This edition (at least my copy, which is available to you) has small print but is in a crisp font on bright white paper.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
This story is steeped in lots of symbolism. Macdonald is a Christian Universalist and as such this story concerns the struggles of life, death and salvation. Being written in the late 1800s this is not an easy read but was well worth the effort. ( )
1 vote marysneedle | Jan 17, 2015 |
This book was assigned in high school in a elective on "Myth, Legend, and Fantasy" (Mr. Bleecker, if you're out there, you were amazing). It succeeds as few fantasies do in being truly strange and alienating, and I mean that in the best possible sense. Lewis in his forward notes the deficiencies of the prose style, and I can't disagree, but it's a book that stays with you as few do.
1 vote ben_a | Jan 9, 2014 |
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  keithhamblen | May 29, 2013 |
This 1895 book was recommended in A Reader's Guide to Fantasy's "Seven-League Bookshelf"--a list of 30-odd books considered the "cream" of the genre. Dante's Divine Comedy is mentioned in the book and I can see similarities with not just Dante but works of Carroll and Lewis. Macdonald was a close friend of Lewis Carroll and saw Alice in Wonderland in manuscript; C.S. Lewis greatly admired Macdonald and named him as one of his most important influences. As with Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and Lewis' Narnia, the narrator of this story steps into another world through an ordinary piece of furniture--in this case a mirror--and there are animal characters, notably a talking raven and a leopard. As with Narnia and the Divine Comedy, this is essentially a work of Christian Fiction, even more allegorical than Narnia as dealing like Dante with the landscape of the afterlife. Although given Macdonald's Universalist beliefs, there is no eternal hell--someday all will find salvation, though in Macdonald's conception it won't be easy.

I can't quite say I really liked this. I'd say this hovers between a two and a three star. On one hand, I made it through to the end, it has interesting ideas and historical importance in the fantasy genre. On the other hand, I often found this dull, no characters captured my sympathy or imagination and this just didn't strike me as an outstanding example of the kind of book it exemplifies. This doesn't have the humor, whimsy, wit or charm of Through the Looking Glass or Narnia or the prodigious imagination, unity, beautiful language and architecture of The Divine Comedy. I can't imagine I'll ever reread this, and I just can't see this as being in the same league as Dante, Carroll or Lewis. ( )
2 vote LisaMaria_C | Feb 10, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George MacDonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knopper, HelenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamb, JimCover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Off, Lilith!"

--The Kabala
First words
I had just finished my studies at Oxford, and was taking a brief holiday from work before assuming definitely the management of the estate.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802860613, Mass Market Paperback)

"Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe," the great 20th-century poet W.H. Auden said of this novel, but the comparison only begins to touch on the richness, density, and wonder of this late 19th-century adult fantasy novel. First published in 1895 (inhabiting a universe with the early Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde--not to mention Thomas Hardy), this is the story of the aptly named Mr. Vane, his magical house, and the journeys into another world into which it leads him.

Meeting up with one mystery after another, including Adam and Eve themselves, he slowly but surely explores the mystery of the human fall from grace, and of our redemption. Instructed into the ways of seeing the deeper realities of this world--seeing, in a sense, by the light of the spirit--the reader and Mr. Vane both sense that MacDonald writes from his own deep experience of radiance, from a bliss so profound that death's darkness itself is utterly eclipsed in its light. --Doug Thorpe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

First published in 1895, Lilith chronicles the five trips taken by its narrator, Mr. Vane, into another world, where he explores the ultimate mystery of evil.

(summary from another edition)

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