Monday, August 16, 2010

A treasure trove for George MacDonald scholars

A few years ago, I wrote an essay for a relatively obscure journal called North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies. I accepted with some resignation that the essay would probably fade into oblivion (not that it deserves to be trumpeted as groundbreaking research; it’s really little more than a collation of notes), but I was pleased to see that David Bratman covered it in “The Year’s Work in Tolkien Studies 2006”, where he wrote:
Jason Fisher’s “Reluctantly Inspired: George MacDonald and the Genesis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major” (North Wind 25: 113–20) is less concerned with that particular story than with tracing the history of Tolkien’s attitude towards his predecessor. Fisher lists a few distinct echoes of MacDonald in Tolkien’s pre-1940s children’s fiction, and attributes Tolkien’s later dislike of MacDonald to his increasing distaste for allegory and whimsicality. [1]
Even so, the essay would probably have been quickly forgotten by everyone but me, were it not for this: St. Norbert College, which houses North Wind, has now digitized the entire run of the journal and put all twenty-eight years of its George MacDonald studies online, free for anyone to read! Consequently, anyone who would like to can read my essay, here. You might notice that they misspelled Tolkien’s name in the title of the PDF (and here, in the table of contents for this volume). Regrettable.

Anyway, I wanted to bring this to the attention of MacDonald fans and scholars; this is quite a hoard being opened up to the public. I haven’t done more than merely skim the contents so far, but you can browse the volumes by following the link above, or you can browse essays by contributor, genre/topic, or MacDonald work, here. There’s also a complete index of articles, arranged by title. (Note that the index contains lots of duplicates; I’m not sure why. Probably poor web design.)

[1] Bratman, David. “The Year’s Work in Tolkien Studies 2006.” Tolkien Studies 6 (2009): 315–44, p. 334.


  1. Harm J. Schelhaas8/30/2010 11:21 PM

    Someone at St. Norbert’s apparently reads here (or has subscribed to a good web search) - the misspelling of Tolkien’s name has been corrected.

  2. Well, what do you know! So it has. :)