Alec Forbes of Howglen

Alec Forbes of Howglen

by George MacDonald

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Overview

Many critics have longed viewed Alec Forbes of Howglen as the best of MacDonald’s Scottish novels. The tale follows the lives of two childhood friends, Alec and Annie, from their upbringing in the country to their adult lives and Alec's experiences in the big city. While not a romantic novel, it has many romantic moments in it. However, it might best be described as a story of spiritual growth which at its best moments aptly implies the meaning, and dare we say value, behind the apparent fickleness of Fate in its limitless procession of granting our wishes when we no longer remember having made them while also dealing out blows and hardships when they are least expected.

Almost exactly half of MacDonald’s novels were written in his native Scotch dialect with the remainder in English. However, one will find that in his Scottish novels, only the dialogues are written in Scottish, while the narrative is in English. It takes a bit of getting used to, but readers who have little or no familiarity with Scottish dialects can still generally figure out enough of the meanings behind the Scottish words to understand the telling of the tales.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148300960
Publisher: Horatio Press
Publication date: 01/26/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 440
File size: 761 KB

About the Author

George MacDonald was one of the most respected authors of his generation in 19th century Scotland. He wrote over fifty books, nearly half of them novels for adults, along with some theological studies, several volumes of essays & criticism, a few volumes of poetry, and three best selling children's novels accompanied by a couple more volumes of fairytales. He wrote in nearly every literary genre. Although today much of his poetry and adult fiction would be considered rather prosaic, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, it was fantasy that he really excelled in. His only two fantasy novels written for adults--Phantastes and Lilith--are often spoken of as two of the best novels ever written in the English language. His three fantasy novels for children, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and the Curdie, and At the Back of the North Wind are so strange and otherworldly that adults often enjoy them as much, or more, than children.

MacDonald, born December 10, 1824, drew an enjoyment from reading books even as a young boy that encompassed all the typical poetic elements of elusiveness that so engage the mystical minded. By his late teens, as a student at King's College in Aberdeen, young George was already reading Shelley, Coleridge, James Hogg, and Tom Moore while also finding time to write poetry of his own. He had a powerful intellect, winning 3rd prize in Chemistry and 4th in Natural Philosophy, subjects he would lecture on years later at a Ladies' College to earn some much needed money.

The MacDonald family was quite poor early on, barely staying away starvation at times, often accepting the charity of friends and family. Eventually, however, George MacDonald would run in some very high literary circles. During the winter of 1872-73 he would address several thousands at a time during his lecture tour of the USA. He was great friends with Samuel Clemens (A.K.A.--Mark Twain), Charles Dodgson (A.K.A.--Lewis Carroll), John Ruskin, Lady Byron (widow of Lord Byron), and Ralph Waldo Emerson among others. Several of his closest friends sat in high positions of government such as William Cowper-Temple. Others were well known clergymen like F.D. Maurice or college professors such as Dean Stanley. By the late 1860's he had become a very celebrated author. Children would walk back and forth in front of his home hoping to catch a glimpse of the man who was so much loved. He would later be held in high esteem by CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, and JRR Tolkien.

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