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Lilith (1895)

de George MacDonald

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Introduction by C. S. Lewis "Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe,” wrote W. H. Auden in his introduction to the 1954 reprint of George MacDonald’s Lilith, which was first published in 1895. It is the story of Mr. Vane, an orphan and heir to a large house -- a house in which he has a vision that leads him through a large old mirror into another world. In chronicling the five trips Mr. Vane makes to this other world, MacDonald hauntingly explores the ultimate mystery of evil.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 14 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Vorweg: Ja, ich bin mit diesem 1895 erstmalig erschienenen Buch nicht warm geworden - anderen geht das wohl anders. Die englische Ausgabe betont, dass George MacDonalds phantastische Geschichten Vorbild und Inspiration für z.B. Lewis und Tolkien waren.

Laut deutschem Klappentext kommt der Protagonist, Mr. Vane, durch einen Spiegel "in ein Reich mysteriöser Abenteuer voller Schrecknisse und Beglückungen". Wer hier, wie ich, aber eine Art Fantasy-Abenteuerroman erwartet, wird sich, wie ich, mit dem Buch schwer tun. Denn dieses Reich ist wohl am ehesten mit einer Art (Alp-)Traum vergleichbar, und im Kern geht es darum, aus dem Tod zum (ewigen) Leben zu gelangen.

Die Namenswahl ist dabei kein Zufall, war MacDonald doch schottischer Priester. Wenn doch aber Lilith titelgebend ist, hätte ich schon erwartet, dass der im Klappentext erwähnte "junge Mann" recht schnell auf sie trifft - man muss aber bis Seite 127 gelesen haben (von 335), bis sie das erstemal im Text auftaucht (und die folgenden Passagen würde ich jetzt nicht unbedingt als "Romanze" bezeichnen - aber erst auf S. 196 wird sie mit Namen angesprochen. Und auch wenn ich überlegt hatte, das Buch abzubrechen - hier gab es dann doch so etwas wie eine sich entwickelnde Handlung, also bin ich dabei geblieben.

Im Kontext wundert es dann auch nicht, dass auch Adam und Eva mit unter den handelnden Personen sind.

Abschließend zum Buch selbst: Die von mir gelesene (und hier verlinkte) Klett-Cotta-Ausgabe von 1996 füllt mit dem Text die Seiten weit aus, mit 6mm oberen und 1,8 cm unterem Rand (wegen der Seitenzahl - unter der Seitenzahl ist noch 1 cm Platz. Die Schrift dürfte 12 pt sein, aber mit engem Zeilenabstand. Also auch von der Seite jetzt kein besonders "schönes" Buch. Was ich sonst auch noch nicht wahrgenommen habe - die auf dem Rückumschlag abgedruckte ISBN hat eine falsche Ziffer in der Buchnummer.

Von mir also keine Leseempfehlung für diese Klassiker - weder vom Inhalt, noch vom Layout des Buches. ( )
  ahzim | Jan 31, 2021 |
Mystical Christian Quest Fantasy
Review of the Allison and Bubsy Ltd. paperback edition (1989) of the 1895 original

Scottish author and minister George MacDonald (1824-1905) is considered by many to be the founder on modern fantasy fiction. He mentored Lewis Carroll and influenced and inspired authors such as W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Walter de la Mare, E. Nesbit, G.K. Chesterton and Madeleine L'Engle. You can also spot a hint of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan and the Lost Boys" in MacDonald's Lilith in the characters of the "Little Ones' who never grow up.

Lilith (1895) is MacDonald's final major work and it is a much more serious Christian mysticism fantasy as opposed to earlier lighter fare such as the popular The Princess and the Goblin (1872). The plot is rather complex and involves the lead character passing back and forth between our world and another dimension via a mirror in his attic. There is a good summary of the plot at Wikipedia if you are interested, which you can read (with Spoilers obviously) here.

As the above plot summary reveals, the main quest of the piece involves the salvation of Adam's first wife Lilith who has become an evil sorceress princess ruling the city of Bulika. Lilith is a character that originates in Jewish mythology, but who has been excised from the Christian Bible except for an oblique reference in Genesis 1:27 which implies that there was originally a woman created at the same time as Adam, and not from his rib (as occurs later in Genesis 2:23). A lot of this is heavy going of course, but it is still fascinating to read if mythology and fantasy is of interest to you. The novel can still be read for its lighter parts involving the "Little Ones" and their mobilization with a herd of horses and elephants to conquer the kingdom.

My thanks to Liisa and Martin & family for this lovely rare edition gift!

Trivia and Link
Lilith (1895) is out of copyright protection, so it is available to read for free in various eBook formats at Project Gutenberg. ( )
  alanteder | Aug 19, 2020 |
What to say about this book? Well, it's the darker companion to [b:Phantastes|174948|Phantastes|George MacDonald|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327629648s/174948.jpg|2206809]. It's an immersive fantasy dream-experience that transcends plot (though it has one). It's a Christian exhortation to the reader: die to self if you would live forever. It is by turns odd, humorous, witty, sweet, downright chilling, and glorious. It's often a blend of [b:The Pilgrim's Progress|29797|The Pilgrim's Progress|John Bunyan|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1405982367s/29797.jpg|1960084] and [b:Alice in Wonderland|13023|Alice in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1)|Lewis Carroll|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1391458382s/13023.jpg|2933712], but I love it more than both those books put together.

Lilith begins as a man called Vane steps through a mirror into a vividly detailed fantasy world. His guide is an old librarian who, in the alternate realm, appears as a raven and offers him both practical advice and spiritual challenges (and their arguments on metaphysics, not without wordplay, leave no doubt as to MacDonald's influence on [a:Lewis Carroll|8164|Lewis Carroll|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1192735053p2/8164.jpg]). Midway through the book, Vane's path crosses that of Lilith--yes, the same Lilith who, in Jewish mythology, was the rebellious first wife of Adam, replaced with Eve.

As anyone who knows MacDonald will expect, the journeys of Vane and Lilith each illustrate the Christian's journey to redemption. He writes said journey with so many layers--of justice, mercy, sorrow, love for fellow man, willful sin vs. ignorant sin, mysteries vs. revelations of God. If all that sounds preachy, well, I never found the book to be so. I walked in the protagonist's footprints, saw the fantasy realm as he saw it, felt the pricking of his heart in my own.

MacDonald wrote with a profound awareness of eternity I've never found in any other writer (except perhaps in the song lyrics of Rich Mullins). That bright and beautiful view is perhaps at its most resplendent in Lilith. ( )
1 vota AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
A Portrait of the Other Side

This book is not for everyone, but if you find yourself longing for a mystical place that at one time you might have called home, you have something in common with the protagonist of this story. It is not fast paced by today's standards, but I never got bored with it. I would recommend it for the spiritual inclined. ( )
1 vota shedthenegative | Jul 19, 2017 |
Both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien list MacDonald as one of their influences and it is certainly apparent in his story telling. This book has shades of Narnia and Middle Earth both in it. It is a good story, but it was originally written in 1895 so the syntax and grammar make it a bit cumbersome to read. Still it is worth the read if one can wade through that aspect of it - the story is both dark and haunting and offers insights into MacDonald's theology (he was preacher and theologian as well as a writer) and understandings of the Divine as Mr. Vane (the main character) struggles to understand what it means to be alive, to love, and to be in relationship. ( )
1 vota Al-G | Dec 14, 2016 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
George MacDonaldautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Carter, LinIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gallardo, GervasioAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Knopper, HelenTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lamb, JimCover Artistautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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"Off, Lilith!"

--The Kabala
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I had just finished my studies at Oxford, and was taking a brief holiday from work before assuming definitely the management of the estate.
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Introduction by C. S. Lewis "Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe,” wrote W. H. Auden in his introduction to the 1954 reprint of George MacDonald’s Lilith, which was first published in 1895. It is the story of Mr. Vane, an orphan and heir to a large house -- a house in which he has a vision that leads him through a large old mirror into another world. In chronicling the five trips Mr. Vane makes to this other world, MacDonald hauntingly explores the ultimate mystery of evil.

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