Literary Products of the Lewis Carroll-George Macdonald Friendship. Revised Second Edition
|Author: ||Docherty, John|
This revised volume is the most extensive and wide-ranging study get published of MacDonald's two great mythopoeic romances, Phantastes and Lilith. It is similarly the most extensive and wide-ranging yet published on Carroll's Alice books. The most important aspects of the study are the demonstration that Wonderland is an exploration by Alice of the different regions of her soul (a traditional Imitation of Christ drawing equally on Dante's Inferno and Spenser's House of Alma in The Fairie Queen); and the demonstration that in Looking-Glass Alice explores the three principal regions of the adult world - the religious, economic, and political, in the course of an imaginative, doubly spiraling journey through Oxford.
This revision of the 1995 publication has affected most of the book. The chapter on Lilith has been completely re-written, with the incommensurable nature of Lilith demonstrated for the first time, along with the extent of MacDonald's debt to Wm Blake, Goethe, and Schlegel. The extent to which Lilith is addressed to the 'one reader', Lewis Carroll, is now seen to be vastly greater than was realized in the first edition. The chapter on Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno has been rewritten to emphasize its nature as imaginative biography - of Carroll's relationship, over many years, with MacDonald. Its framework is now shown to be a parody of MacDonald's Adela Cathcart. That work demonstrates the therapeutic value of fairy tales, and the Sylvie and Bruno books portray MacDonald's escape from the tyranny of textuality.
"This is an interesting and unusual work. . . . Of particular use to the reader who might not be familiar with the body of MacDonald's or Dodgson's works is the careful structure of this book. Each section begins with at least some historical background, followed by plot synopsis, structural analysis, and finally Docherty's interpretation of the mutual allusion and literary 'discourse' between the two authors as they are present in each work and as they pertain to the close personal relationship that the two men shared. . . . Although I was acquainted with the more well-known works by both authors, I found Docherty's analysis and explanations of all the works discussed to be well organized and accessible even to a reader who is perhaps not familiar with MacDonald and Dodgson. I highly recommend this volume not only for its subject matter, but also for its thorough examination of these two important authors." - Marvels and Tales