The story centres on the character Anodos ("pathless", or "ascent" in Greek) and takes its inspiration from German Romanticism, particularly Novalis. The story concerns a young man who is pulled into a dreamlike world and there hunts for his ideal of female beauty, embodied by the "Marble Lady". Anodos lives through many adventures and temptations while in the other world, until he is finally ready to give up his ideals.
The edition published in 1905 was illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite painter Arthur Hughes.
C.S. Lewis wrote, concerning his first reading of Phantastes at age sixteen, "That night my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized; the rest of me[,] not unnaturally, took longer. I had not the faintest notion what I had let myself in for by buying Phantastes
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About the Author
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister who was a pioneering figure in the field of fantasy literature. A mentor to Lewis Carroll and a major influence on writers from C. S. Lewis to J. R. R. Tolkien, MacDonald’s best-known books are Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, At the Back of the North Wind, and Lilith, which are all fantasy novels.