George MacDonald
Makman, Lisa Hermine. “Child’s Work is Child’s Play: The Value of George MacDonald’s Diamond,” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly Vol. 24, No. 3 (Fall 1999): 119-129.
Makman discusses Kingsley's treatment of the child in The Water-Babies, as well as that of Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in her examination of MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind.  While the latter work, she declares, presents the child as the new toy-child, depicting, after the cessation of child-labor, the gradual development of the notion that children are essentially toys, Kingsley's novel has a different orientation.  "But while Kingsley emphasizes the mysterious nature of the play-world and its inhabitants, MacDonald focuses more on the mysterious nature of the child who can enter that world" (122).

The Water-Babies; MacDonald, George; Children; Carroll, Lewis.
 

Manlove, Colin.  “MacDonald and Kingsley: A Victorian Contrast” in William Raeper (ed.) The Gold Thread: Essays on George MacDonald (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990): 140-162.
In this article Manlove compares and contrasts the characters, the views, and the writings of Kingsley and George MacDonald, who, he declares were arguably the only two significant writers of Christian fantasy in the Victorian period. Generally, Kingsley, whose belief and involvement in science were much greater than MacDonald's, places nature first while MacDonald chooses "supernature."  Kingsley's God is so identifiable with the works of His creation that He is only distinguishable from them by faith.  The God of MacDonald, who has a stronger sense of the supernatural and the mystical, is invariably a person, whereas for Kingsley He is a force.  Nevertheless, Manlove argues that the two writers for all their differences share a particular common bond, namely "that they chose, alone and at almost the same time in the nineteenth century, to put what they could of the divine presence in the fairy tale" (159).

MacDonald, George; Religion; Science; The Water-Babies.
 

Prickett, Stephen.  “Adults in Allegory Land: Kingsley and MacDonald,” in his Victorian Fantasy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979): 150-197.
Prickett provides a lengthy examination of The Water-Babies comparing and contrasting it with several allegorical fantasies of George MacDonald.  Among other topics, he discusses the extent to which Kingsley was influenced by Wordsworth regarding his view of nature and his attitude to childhood, as well as by Rabelais.  He also examines Platonism, religion, evolution, and the nature of allegory in The Water-Babies.  Prickett declares that Kingsley and MacDonald have quite distinct mental sets.  “Kingsley, the botanist, marine biologist and historian is fascinated by every minute detail of this world; ‘other’ worlds are constructs – telling us yet more about this.  MacDonald is a temperamental Platonist, only interested in the surface of this world for the news it gives him of another, hidden reality, perceived, as it were, through a glass darkly” (193).

The Water-Babies; MacDonald, George; Rabelais; Wordsworth; Nature; Children; Religion; Plato; Evolution.


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