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Lilith [Paperback]

George MacDonald
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.53 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

May 1 2009
An unabridged, digitally enlarged edition with modern layout and typeface -

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Lilith + The Complete Fairy Tales + George MacDonald: An Anthology
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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 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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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Myth June 12 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lewis was right when he described MacDonald as not a great writer, but perhaps the best myth-maker he had ever read. There are places where MacDonald could have used a good editor, sections that are unclear that could be made so, or where the feel is disjointed. However, there are other sections where the lack of clarity is simply because of the great depth, as one looks down into a storm-tossed pool extending into the Marianas'. Images and lines of Lilith stay with you and ruminate in your mind, such as individuals lying down on the cold slabs of Mr. Raven's house, the delightful children feeding the gentle giant, or the phrase, "When a man will not act where he is, he must go far to find his work."
A couple further capiats: MacDonald's belief in universal salvation is clearly demonstrated, and his argument that the only way Good can truly be greater than Evil is if all Evil will one day succumb to Good by becoming Good has a certain, if incomplete persuasion. It was also surprising to see MacDonald making use of ancient Gnostic/Jewish heresies such as Lilith, the first wife of Adam.
I highly recommend the book however for it's depth of imagery, for the ideas that can extend into one's mind and bring forth something new, as we give up the old ones. MacDonald's layers and repetitions hearken to something Biblical, or Joycian. In death there is life.
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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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars read this
Superb. To enter this is to taste the Christian imagination that fired CS Lewis. This is mysticism taking literary flight. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Decano
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read this twice so far....
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. Read more
Published 8 months ago by abi
5.0 out of 5 stars MacDonald's Masterpiece
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... Read more
Published on Dec 4 2003 by Mark DeBolt
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 Oct. 31 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"
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