“And that is all my double story. How double it is, if you care to know, you must find out. If you think it is not finished—I never knew a story that was. I could tell you a great deal more concerning them all, but I have already told more than is good for those who read but with their foreheads, and enough for those whom it has made look a little solemn, and sigh as they close the book.”
George MacDonald, “The Wise Woman or the Lost Princess” in The Wise Woman and Other Fantasy Stories (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980), 108.
2 Replies to “George MacDonald on the proper length of stories and the anatomy of reading”
Ah, MacDonald. The Master. I hope to get to a bit of him later this summer. Have you read his essay “The Fantastic Imagination”? You can find it easily online. It is about ten pages long and well worth the read.
I’ll look it up, I haven’t seen it. MacDonald has a phenomenally bright and warm way of telling even a difficult story. Everything in his fictive worlds seems to glow.
This bit came from the end of a story that Carolyn was reading (I haven’t gotten to read the whole thing either). For her birthday, though, I read her one of the shorter fairy stories aloud (after a nice dinner and a bottle of wine). It was a very nice evening, made much richer by MacDonald’s imagination.