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Wilfrid Cumbermede

by George Macdonald

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George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. Though no longer a household name, his works (particularly his fairy tales and fantasy novels) have inspired deep admiration in such notables as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle. C. S. Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master". Even Mark Twain, who initially despised MacDonald, became friends with him. MacDonald grew up influenced by his Congregational Church, with an atmosphere of Calvinism. But MacDonald never felt comfortable with some aspects of Calvinist doctrine. Later novels, such as Robert Falconer (1868) and Lilith (1895), show a distaste for the Calvinist idea that God's electing love is limited to some and denied to others. Especially in his Unspoken Sermons (1867-89) he shows a highly developed theology. His best-known works are Phantastes (1858), At the Back of the North Wind (1871) and The Princess and the Goblin (1872), all fantasy novels, and fairy tales such as - The Light Princess (1867), The Golden Key (1867), and The Wise Woman (1875).

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When I returned home for the Christmas holidays, I told my uncle, amongst other things, all that I have just recorded; for although the affair seemed far away from me now, I felt that he ought to know it. He was greatly pleased with my behaviour in regard to the apple. He did not identify the place, however, until he heard the name of the housekeeper: then I saw a cloud pass over his face. It grew deeper when I told him of my second visit, especially while I described the man I had met in the wood.



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