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A. J. Prufrock

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Start Date

2-5-2022 9:00 AM

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Lilith (1895) is George MacDonald’s premier work of symbolic fiction. W.H. Auden asserts that Lilith is “equal, if not superior, to the best of Poe." A cursory reading of the novel reveals much in Narnia can be traced directly to passages. Why has MacDonald’s Lilith received so little commentary and why is it picked up and then put down by even avid readers of fantasy? Universalist theology and chauvinism have been blamed, but literary style is unarguably the main stumbling block. C.S. Lewis, who says of MacDonald, “I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him,” went on to criticize MacDonald’s craftsmanship as “undistinguished, fumbling, verbose, floridly ornate, and over-sweet.” Never is this more on display than in Lilith. Lilith could be likened to a twinkling dragon horde, but can its ancient dross be burned away? If it is time, one-hundred and twenty-six years after its creation, for it to be re- penned, what should be cleared away and what left untouched? How might modern audiences take in MacDonald’s take on the ultimate mystery of evil?

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Host: Jolie Hicks

Tech Mod: Cait Rottler


A.J. Prufrock —middle-aged and greying—lives on 13 tucked-away acres with two dogs, three cats, 10 chickens, and a single guinea hen. The guinea is single by her own choosing. Prufrock is not. Prufrock ferrets out literature ripe for rehabilitation wasting away on the trash heap of the public domain. Imagine the sustainability motto—reduce, reuse, recycle—but with fairy tales.

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Feb 5th, 9:00 AM

The Overlooked Vampire: Might MacDonald’s Lilith be Repopularized?

Lilith (1895) is George MacDonald’s premier work of symbolic fiction. W.H. Auden asserts that Lilith is “equal, if not superior, to the best of Poe." A cursory reading of the novel reveals much in Narnia can be traced directly to passages. Why has MacDonald’s Lilith received so little commentary and why is it picked up and then put down by even avid readers of fantasy? Universalist theology and chauvinism have been blamed, but literary style is unarguably the main stumbling block. C.S. Lewis, who says of MacDonald, “I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him,” went on to criticize MacDonald’s craftsmanship as “undistinguished, fumbling, verbose, floridly ornate, and over-sweet.” Never is this more on display than in Lilith. Lilith could be likened to a twinkling dragon horde, but can its ancient dross be burned away? If it is time, one-hundred and twenty-six years after its creation, for it to be re- penned, what should be cleared away and what left untouched? How might modern audiences take in MacDonald’s take on the ultimate mystery of evil?

Mythcon 52: The Mythic, the Fantastic, and the Alien

Albuquerque, New Mexico; July 29 - August 1, 2022
https://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon/mythcon-52.htm

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