Lilith (novel)

Lilith (novel)

infobox Book |
name = Lilith
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = 1981 paperback edition
author = George MacDonald
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Fantasy novel
publisher = Chatto and Windus
release_date = 1895
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 351 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Lilith" is a fantasy novel written by Scottish writer George MacDonald and first published in 1895. Its importance was recognized in its later revival in paperback by Ballantine Books as the fifth volume of the celebrated "Ballantine Adult Fantasy series" in September 1969. [cite book
authorlink=George MacDonald
publisher=Ballantine Books
location=New York
pages=pp. v-x
chapter=About Lilith and George MacDonald: The Land Beyond the Hidden Door, by Lin Carter (introduction)

"Lilith" is considered among the darkest of MacDonald's works, and among the most profound. It is a story concerning the nature of life, death and salvation. Many believe MacDonald is arguing for Christian universalism, or the idea that all will eventually be saved.

Plot summary

Mr. Vane, the protagonist of "Lilith", owns a library that seems to be haunted by the former librarian, who looks much like a raven from the brief glimpses he catches of the wraith. After finally encountering the supposed ghost, the mysterious Mr. Raven, Vane learns that Raven had known his father; indeed, Vane's father had visited the strange parallel universe from which Raven comes and goes and now resides therein. Vane follows Raven into the world through a mirror (this symbolistic realm is described as "the region of the seven dimensions", a term taken from Jacob Boehme).

Inside the world, Vane learns of a house of beds where the dreamers sleep until the end of the world in death: a good death, in which life is found. Vane's father refused to sleep there and is, instead, forced to do battle with skeletons in a haunted wood. After a treacherous journey through a valley (where the moon is the only thing to keep him safe), Mr. Vane meets the Little Ones, children who never grow up, only get bigger and dumber, turning into "bags" or bad giants. After conversing with Lona, the eldest of the children, Mr. Vane decides to help them, and sets off to gather more information.

While on his journey, he meets Lilith, the princess of Bulika. Vane, although nearly blinded by Lilith's beauty and charms, eventually leads the Little Ones in a battle against Bulika. Lona, Vane's love, turns out to be Lilith's daughter, and is killed by her own mother. Lilith, however, is captured and brought to Adam and Eve at the house of death, where they struggle to make her open her hand, fused shut, in which she holds the water the Little Ones need to grow. Only when she gives it up can Lilith join the sleepers in blissful dreams, free of sin. After a long struggle Lilith bids Adam cut her hand from her body; it is done, Lilith sleeps, and Vane is sent to bury the hand; water flows from the hole and washes the land over. Vane is then allowed to join the Little Ones, already asleep, in their dreaming. He takes his bed, next to Lona's, and finds true life in death.

Publication history

*1895, UK, Chatto and Windus OCLC|27718781, Pub date 1895, Hardback, reprinted 1896
*1895, USA, Dodd, Mead and Company OCLC|27718786, Pub date 1895, Hardback, reprinted 1896
*1924, UK, Allen & Unwin OCLC|8458175, Pub date 1924, Hardback
*1925, USA, E. P. Dutton OCLC|6941443, Pub date 1925, Hardback
*1954, USA, Eerdmans, Pub date 1954, Hardback, with "Phantastes" in "The Visionary Novels of George MacDonald", reprinted 1964
*1969, USA, Ballantine Books OCLC|220455361 , Pub date September 1969, Paperback, as part of the "Ballantine Adult Fantasy series"
*1986, UK, Allison & Busby ISBN 0-85031-626-X, Pub date October 1986, Paperback, reprinted 1987
*1986, UK, Lion ISBN 0-85648-342-7, Pub date October 1986, Paperback
*1994, UK, Johannesen ISBN 1-881084-27-2, Pub date October 1994, Hardcover, omnibus with a first draft as "Lilith: A Duplex"
*2000, USA, Eerdmans ISBN 0-80286-061-3, Pub date 2000, Paperback, reprinted 2002



*cite book | last=Bleiler | first=Everett | authorlink=Everett F. Bleiler | title=The Checklist of Fantastic Literature | location=Chicago | publisher=Shasta Publishers | pages=187 | date=1948
*cite web
last = Brown
first = Charles N.
authorlink = Charles N. Brown
coauthors = William G. Contento
title = The Locus Index to Science Fiction (1984-1998)
work =
publisher =
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-04-25

*cite web
last = Brown
first = Charles N.
authorlink = Charles N. Brown
coauthors = William G. Contento
title = The Locus Index to Science Fiction (2002)
work =
publisher =
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-04-25

*cite book | last=Carter | first=Lin | authorlink=Lin Carter | title=Imaginary Worlds | location=New York | publisher=Ballantine Books | pages=270 | date=1973|id=ISBN 345-03309-4
*MacDonald, George. "Lilith." Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.
*cite book | last=Tuck | first=Donald H. | authorlink=Donald H. Tuck | title=The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy | location=Chicago | publisher=Advent | pages=288 | date=1978|id=ISBN 0-911682-22-8

External links

*gutenberg|no=1640|name=Lilith, a romance

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