This week on The Literary Life podcast, our series on George MacDonald’s Phantastes continues. Today Angelina and Cindy discuss chapters 15-19. But before they get started, they announce the upcoming reading challenge for next year, the Literary Life 19 Books for 2021 challenge! Also, we are pleased to be bringing you Literary Life Commonplace Books, perfect for recording what you are reading, as well as all your favorite quotes.
Angelina and Cindy open the book discussion with the idea of the “other world” structure in fantasy writing, as well as how influential MacDonald was on writers who came after him. They also go in depth with the concept of the Holy Spirit as the originator of creative thought in conjunction with MacDonald’s thoughts on the imagination. Angelina gets excited about the metaphorical descent into Hades in this section of the book. She and Cindy talk about the importance of the hope of redemption, the platonic ideal versus reality, and learning to let go instead of grasp at things. They also return to the idea of true education being noble unrest introduced in last week’s episode.
Don’t forget to check out the Advent and Christmas resources our hosts have ready for your holiday season. As mentioned before, Cindy’s new edition of Hallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions with Handel’s Messiah is available now, and it is not to late to start if you purchase the Kindle version. Check our CindyRollins.net for more information. Also, Thomas and Angelina have a sale going on for an Advent Bundle of their popular webinars, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and The Poetry of Advent. Additionally, Kelly Cumbee will be teaching a webinar series called “Seeking the Discarded Image: Nature.”
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Thomas Merton recognized at once when he wrote in his journal for July 18, 1964, “I began it this morning, studying it as a tract on monastic life, the myth of pilgrimage, the quest for the impossible island, the earthly paradise, the ultimate ideal,” for it is above all liturgical prayer and liturgical time that provide the structure of the journey as it unfolds around the two key anchor points: the Easter cycle, spent in the environs of the island of sheep, and the Christmas cycle with the monastic community of Alba.Esther de Waal
I never could believe that a man who did not find God in other places, as well as in the Bible, ever found Him there at all. To find God in other books enables us to see clearly that He is more in the Bible than in any other book or in all books put together.George MacDonald
by Robert Bridges
Beautiful must be the mountains whence ye come,
And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams, wherefrom
Ye learn your song:
Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there,
Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
Bloom the year long!
Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
No dying cadence nor long sigh can sound,
For all our art.
Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
As night is withdrawn
From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May,
Dream, while the innumerable choir of day
Welcome the dawn.
The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther De Waal
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood by George MacDonald
A Dish of Orts by George MacDonald
The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers
Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason
Adam Bede by George Eliot
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