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Lilith [Paperback]

George MacDonald
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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May 1 2009
An unabridged, digitally enlarged edition with modern layout and typeface -

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"Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe," the great 20th-century poet W.H. Auden said of this novel, but the comparison only begins to touch on the richness, density, and wonder of this late 19th-century adult fantasy novel. First published in 1895 (inhabiting a universe with the early Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde--not to mention Thomas Hardy), this is the story of the aptly named Mr. Vane, his magical house, and the journeys into another world into which it leads him.

Meeting up with one mystery after another, including Adam and Eve themselves, he slowly but surely explores the mystery of the human fall from grace, and of our redemption. Instructed into the ways of seeing the deeper realities of this world--seeing, in a sense, by the light of the spirit--the reader and Mr. Vane both sense that MacDonald writes from his own deep experience of radiance, from a bliss so profound that death's darkness itself is utterly eclipsed in its light. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

George MacDonald(1824-1905) The great nineteenth-century innovator of modern fantasy, whose works influenced C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. "I do not write for children," MacDonald once said, "but for the childlike, whether of five, or fifty, or seventy-five." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I HAD JUST FINISHED my studies at Oxford, and was taking a brief holiday from work before assuming definitely the management of the estate. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bridge between worlds June 11 2003
By A.J.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The arena of twentieth century British Christian fiction, which includes authors from Chesterton to Auden to C.S. Lewis, appears to owe a great deal to George MacDonald, whose Victorian fantasy as demonstrated in "Lilith" has a primitive and dark undercurrent. Nightmarish yet optimistic, "Lilith" is possibly the most vivid life-after-death parable since Dante's Divine Comedy.
The protagonist and first-person narrator is an excitable man named Mr. Vane who lives in an old house that has been in his family for generations. One day he notices an odd creature making its way through the library; this turns out to be the birdlike Mr. Raven, who introduces him to a mysterious world beyond a magic mirror stored in the garret of the house. A more modern author might be tempted to give this world a name to distinguish it from the real one, but to MacDonald it is merely an extension of Mr. Vane's conscience.
Mr. Vane is understandably frightened of but fascinated by this world. Part of it appears to be a realm of the Dead where skeletal apparitions dance and fight as though they were still living; part a forest where stupid, brutal giants and innocent, benevolent "little ones" share their habitats; part a murky moor where leopardesses roam in search of babies to eat and enchanting women are to be found. At the center of this world, embodying its evil, commanded by an entity known as the "Shadow," is the demon princess Lilith, a direct allusion to the Assyrian goddess and to the legend of Adam's first wife.
As a guide to this netherworld, Mr. Raven acts as a kind of Virgil to Mr. Vane's Dante; the structure of the story has a vague analogy to the sequence of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MacDonald's Masterpiece Dec 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
All of MacDonald's work is interesting, but Lilith is by far the best. It's a pity that some who only know his stories for children are not sufficiently moved to read Lilith, a very adult, dark, poetic, delightful excursion into uncharted regions of the human soul. A truly unique and worthy classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few fantasy masterpieces Jan. 17 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The real _masterpieces_ of fantasy, as opposed to the "entertaining reads," are not numerous. This is one of the masterpieces. It is not a perfect book, but it belongs in the company of the greatest, such as
The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion (Tolkien); Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, and Till We Have Faces (Lewis); The Man Who Was Thursday (Chesterton); A Wizard of Earthsea (Le Guin); The Owl Service (Garner); Titus Groan and Gormenghast (Peake)... books of that caliber.
Don't miss MacDonald's magnificent tales such as "The Day Boy and the Night Girl" and "The Golden Key."
Read MacDonald's Lilith. If you are so moved, read it in conjunction with the detailed, free study guide available at the MacDonald "Golden Key" website:
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5.0 out of 5 stars read this March 24 2014
By Decano
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Superb. To enter this is to taste the Christian imagination that fired CS Lewis. This is mysticism taking literary flight. The ineffable strains for words and finds MacDonald audaciously humble to glean them as the Another slips by.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I have read this twice so far.... Dec 30 2013
By abi
Format:Kindle Edition
I first read this book in 1981 after picking it up at a yard sale. It was old, wrinkled, the pages were yellowed and tattered, the cover dark and uninviting. And yet I, who had always preferred the pristine even in library books, bought it. I was at a very low point in my life and was looking for "something different" to read. To this day I believe that I was meant to find it, for it had such a profound effect on my way of thinking. I didn't 'connect" it with heaven and hell, had never heard of George MacDonald and did not know he was a minister until I had finished the book and wanted to know more about him and his other works.

I say all this because as I read the book (or more accurately, absorbed it), its words,images,creatures and surreal atmosphere seemed to enter my very being - my soul, if you will, and I could not put it down until I came to the end. It was magical, mystical, and helped me to realize that there was so much more to life than my self and my point of view. For over 15 years I kept it on my shelf before deciding to read it a second time. This experience was very different, and I connected with the narrative on a much more spiritual level (my life had become more focused and I was more "ready" for the message).

I am now ready for a third reading---the only book thus far that has called me back three times. I am very interested to see what I will find this time. I can say with all my being that, if you only read one of George MacDonald books, it should be this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary Soup--Get your waders June 7 2004
By Jenni
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Breaking with my normal bias and preferences in the written word, I really enjoyed this little book in spite of the fact that the storyline is incredibly bizarre, fragmented and difficult to resolve in many places. This book is not for everyone.
Lilith is built upon a very old myth about the first wife of Adam-an angelic being-who was said to have been very rebellious and eventually was replaced by the more subservient human Eve (Lewis also references this myth in "That Hideous Strength"). I am not altogether certain where or how the story originated except that the Hebrew word which is translated "night specter" is lilyt, which must have somehow given rise to the story about the female demon who seeks to over power men. At points in the MacDonald narrative Adam reverts to King James old English in addressing Lilith, a touch I found a little disturbing. While the character of Lilith embodies the flesh in all of us-not just women-the use of the KJV linguistic style between Adam and Lilith seemed to adhere to the perceived rightness and superiority of the male-oriented theology of the middle ages (when the original myth was likely to have gained momentum as a means of shaming women into more subservient roles).
MacDonald uses this ancient myth to create a fantastic tale about the battle between spirit and flesh but in the telling he divulges vast philosophical/theological thoughts that take considerable energy to wade through. In the absence of realism, the philosophical core makes up for other narrative flaws. But, it's a very difficult story to read and absorb quickly. I made it about  of the way through several months ago but was only able to pick it up again to finish recently.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MacDonald, and the truth about Hell
A few people have rejected Lilith because they have assumed that George MacDonald does not believe there is such a place as hell. A few have refered to C.S. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by B. Hooper
5.0 out of 5 stars George MacDonald had a firm belief in hell
A few people have rejected Lilith because they have assumed that George MacDonald does not believe there is such a place as hell. A few have refered to C.S. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by B. Hooper
5.0 out of 5 stars TWO LEOPARDS
This is not theology. It is a mythic prose poem. Not unlike a mind altering molecule; but safer; maybe. Read this for the raven, the mirror,and the library if for nothing else.
Published on Nov. 1 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for universalist heresy.
Another reviewer has described Lilith as an anti-Calvinist allegory; however, universalism, with its fundamental denial of free will, doesn't fall far from the Calvinist tree. Read more
Published on April 5 2002 by Loudon Is A Fool
4.0 out of 5 stars wake at last
Lilith is typical MacDonald. It is often tedious. It can leave you guessing as to what exactly is going on. It can leave you downright frustrated with the man. Read more
Published on April 2 2002 by Cry the Name
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique and Rewarding Adventure
This is a fantasy for adults. The beginning, middle, and end all seem quite unlike one another to me, with the end worth whatever effort it takes to get through the middle. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2002 by Daniel L Pratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Pale Galilean
David Marshall Christian Fundamentalist and author of Jesus: True Son who teaches in an obscure Japanese college (the Asian equivalent of Jerry Fallwells Liberty university, or Bob... Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2001 by "michael05"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Myth
Lewis was right when he described MacDonald as not a great writer, but perhaps the best myth-maker he had ever read. Read more
Published on June 12 2001 by Jedidiah Palosaari
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