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The Princess and the Goblin (Charming Classics) Paperback – January 6, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
First, and perhaps most importantly "The Princess and the Goblin" is a delightful story. There is a lot of the "just plain fun reading" stuff going on in this story. There is also a lot more.
MacDonald has buried a lot of treasures within the cave walls of his story. If the reader looks carefully as they follow the fates of Irene and Curdie, they will find these jewels just sitting there shining in the darkness, ready to be mined. There are nuggets of wisdom to be gained here in the dialogue, the narration, and in the overall arch of the story.
More than this, MacDonald's story features the best of what was Romantic literature and blends it with the greatest characteristics of fairy tales--then he turns convention on its head. Some examples:
-Whereas in fairy tales wisdom is associated with the old and knowledgeable, wisdom is here associated with innocence.
-While in traditional tales, it is the hero who saves the princess, here the princess must rescue the hero.
-Fans of modern fantasy may be used to Providential Guidance being related to male literary figures such as Tolkien's Gandalf, Lewis' Aslan. Here the figure is Feminine--the Grandmother.
In the process of playing off of and twisting traditional Romantic literature and fairy tales MacDonald manages to transcend both genres and create a truly original work of wonder.
I recommend the "Princess and the Goblin" most highly. Get it today. Just be careful that you don't pick up an abridgment--they tend to rip out the heart of the tale in an attempt to make the text more modern (neutered).
George MacDonald, a Congregational minister turned novelist, who seems nearly forgotten now, was one of the seminal figures in the development of Fantasy. His influence on other Fantasy authors is obvious, he was a childhood favorite of JRR Tolkein, who especially liked this book, and C.S. Lewis named him one of his favorite authors. His own stories draw on many of the themes and characters of classical European fairy tales. But where they were often merely horrific and meaningless, MacDonald adds a layer of Christian allegory. Thus, Irene and Curdie are eventually saved by a thread so slender that you can't even see it, but which leads them back to safety, teaching Curdie that you sometimes have to believe in things that you can't see.
The book would be interesting simply as a touchstone of modern fiction, but it stands up well on its own and will delight adults and children alike.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You can almost imagine yourself seated at the foot of the 'master', as C.S.