Lilith: George MacDonald’s Most Daring and Dark Novel

Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe.”

– W. H. Auden

George MacDonald was a prolific author of the 19th century. He was predecessor to and had a significant impact on later popular authors – including C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), and J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings).

“No other great literary work, perhaps, has ever dared its reader so boldly slam it shut and fling it out the window.”

David Melville, “Beautiful Terrors–George MacDonald and Lilith in The Bottle Imp, Issue 8 (Nov. 2010).

One of his last works, Lilith, is both loved and hated. Some have found it too confusing, others amazingly profound. MacDonald felt the novel was nearly divinely inspired while his wife resisted publication of the novel finding it much too dark.

“MacDonald, it seems, is not so much telling us a story as mining his reader’s subconscious—laying bare the fears and desires that lurk beneath the surface of other books, but are rarely allowed to break through.”

David Melville, “Beautiful Terrors–George MacDonald and Lilith in The Bottle Imp, Issue 8 (Nov. 2010).

Lilith is now available in a contemporary and annotated edition via Amazon for $2.99. Will you take the plunge?

“It is best to be candid…Lilith is without doubt an extremely beautiful book, but it is also extremely baffling, and we are not ashamed to admit that the proper interpretation of many passages in it eludes us…magic mirrors; lands that exist and exist not…giants; tiny lovers…and so on, and so on–we have more often than not been exceedingly perplexed…the manner of rendering…is astonishingly well done, and it is easy to see the handicraft of a man who is the master of both prose and poetry…This book undoubtedly is an example of fine literature.”

The Literary World, Oct. 4, 1895

Further Reading