Holbrook, David Books
About the author: David Holbrook is an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. He was a fellow of Kings College, Cambridge, and Director of English studies at Downing. In 1984 he was Hooker distinguished visiting Professor at MacMaster University.2000 0-7734-7761-6
The study examines the theory that MacDonald wrote his fantasies out of his private inner world, in an attempt to solve the problems of identity left him by his mother who died while he was very young, problems which pursued him through life. Throughout his work is found a perplexity about the figure of woman. On the one hand the image of woman is a source of great inspiration, as with the old woman spinning the thread of life in the Curdie stories, or in the image of idealised naked women in Phantastes. But then there are images of women who at first seem benign but later turn out to be threatening, or, as with the North Wind in At the Back of the North Wind, turn out to be devastating. Holbrook’s interest is a phenomenological one: trying to explore the symbolism by which an author tackles such a problem in his unconscious mind. The study throws light on the association in the human mind between woman and death. He searches behind the religious impulses of MacDonald to try to find the psychological quest which the writer was trying to perform.