Frasi di George MacDonald

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George MacDonald

Data di nascita: 10. Dicembre 1824
Data di morte: 18. Settembre 1905

George MacDonald è stato uno scrittore, poeta e ministro di culto cristiano scozzese, romanziere di genere fantastico che visse molti anni in Italia, presso la cittadina ligure di Bordighera.

Noto specialmente per le sue favole e novelle fantastiche, MacDonald ha ispirato molti scrittori, tra i quali W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit e Madeleine L'Engle. MacDonald ebbe anche un importante ruolo in ambito teologico, con saggi che sono stati ripresi da altri rinomati autori religiosi. Lo scrittore protestante Oswald Chambers affermò che "è un'indicazione evidente della tendenza e superficialità del pubblico di lettori moderni che i libri di George MacDonald siano stati così trascurati."

Frasi George MacDonald

„Il principio primo dell'inferno è: «Io sono mio.»“

—  George MacDonald
Source: Citato in C.S. Lewis, Sorpreso dalla gioia: i primi anni della mia vita, traduzione di Franco Marano, TEA, Milano, 1994, p. 155. ISBN 88-7819-386-0

„He brings hidden things out of the light of his own being into the light of ours.“

—  George MacDonald
Paul Faber, Surgeon (1879), Context: God hides nothing. His very work from the beginning is revelation, — a casting aside of veil after veil, a showing unto men of truth after truth. On and on, from fact to fact divine he advances, until at length in his Son Jesus he unveils his very face. Then begins a fresh unveiling, for the very work of the Father is the work the Son himself has to do, — to reveal. His life was the unveiling of himself, and the unveiling of the Son is still going on, and is that for the sake of which the world exists. When he is unveiled, that is, when we know the Son, we shall know the Father also. The whole of creation, its growth, its history, the gathering total of human existence, is an unveiling of the Father. He is the life, the eternal life, the Only. I see it — ah! believe me — I see it as I cannot say it. From month to month it grows upon me. The lovely home-light, the one essence of peaceful being, is God himself. He loves light and not darkness, therefore shines, therefore reveals. True, there are infinite gulfs in him, into which our small vision cannot pierce, but they are gulfs of light, and the truths there are invisible only through excess of their own clarity. There is a darkness that comes of effulgence, and the most veiling of all veils is the light. That for which the eye exists is light, but through light no human eye can pierce. — I find myself beyond my depth. I am ever beyond my depth, afloat in an infinite sea; but the depth of the sea knows me, for the ocean of my being is God. — What I would say is this, that the light is not blinding because God would hide, but because the truth is too glorious for our vision. The effulgence of himself God veiled that he might unveil it — in his Son. Inter-universal spaces, icons, eternities — what word of vastness you can find or choose — take unfathomable darkness itself, if you will, to express the infinitude of God, that original splendor existing only to the consciousness of God himself — I say he hides it not, but is revealing it ever, for ever, at all cost of labor, yea of pain to himself. His whole creation is a sacrificing of himself to the being and well-being of his little ones, that, being wrought out at last into partakers of his divine nature, that nature may be revealed in them to their divinest bliss. He brings hidden things out of the light of his own being into the light of ours. But see how different we are, — until we learn of him! See the tendency of man to conceal his treasures, to claim even truth as his own by discovery, to hide it and be proud of it, gloating over that which he thinks he has in himself, instead of groaning after the infinite of God! We would be forever heaping together possessions, dragging things into the cave of our finitude, our individual self, not perceiving that the things which pass that dreariest of doors, whatever they may have been, are thenceforth "but straws, small sticks, and dust of the floor." When a man would have a truth in thither as if it were of private interpretation, he drags in only the bag which the truth, remaining outside, has burst and left. Ch. 31 : A Conscience

„If he be not a true man, he will draw evil out of the best; we need not mind how he treats any work of art! If he be a true man, he will imagine true things: what matter whether I meant them or not?“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "But a man may then imagine in your work what he pleases, what you never meant!"  Not what he pleases, but what he can. If he be not a true man, he will draw evil out of the best; we need not mind how he treats any work of art! If he be a true man, he will imagine true things: what matter whether I meant them or not? They are there none the less that I cannot claim putting them there! One difference between God's work and man's is, that, while God's work cannot mean more than he meant, man's must mean more than he meant. For in everything that God has made, there is layer upon layer of ascending significance; also he expresses the same thought in higher and higher kinds of that thought: it is God's things, his embodied thoughts, which alone a man has to use, modified and adapted to his own purposes, for the expression of his thoughts; therefore he cannot help his words and figures falling into such combinations in the mind of another as he had himself not foreseen, so many are the thoughts allied to every other thought, so many are the relations involved in every figure, so many the facts hinted in every symbol. A man may well himself discover truth in what he wrote; for he was dealing all the time with things that came from thoughts beyond his own.

„We spoil countless precious things by intellectual greed. He who will be a man, and will not be a child, must — he cannot help himself — become a little man, that is, a dwarf. He will, however, need no consolation, for he is sure to think himself a very large creature indeed.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: If there be music in my reader, I would gladly wake it. Let fairytale of mine go for a firefly that now flashes, now is dark, but may flash again. Caught in a hand which does not love its kind, it will turn to an insignificant, ugly thing, that can neither flash nor fly. The best way with music, I imagine, is not to bring the forces of our intellect to bear upon it, but to be still and let it work on that part of us for whose it exists. We spoil countless precious things by intellectual greed. He who will be a man, and will not be a child, must — he cannot help himself — become a little man, that is, a dwarf. He will, however, need no consolation, for he is sure to think himself a very large creature indeed. If any strain of my "broken music" make a child's eyes flash, or his mother's grow for a moment dim, my labour will not have been in vain.

„Trust to God to weave your little thread into the great web, though the pattern shows it not yet.“

—  George MacDonald
Context: I record the conviction that in one way or another, special individual help is given to every creature to endure to the end. It has been my own experience, that always when suffering, whether mental or bodily, approached the point where further endurance appeared impossible, the pulse of it began to ebb and a lull ensued. You are tender-hearted, and you want to be true, and are trying to be; learn these two things: Never be discouraged because good things get on so slowly here; and never fail daily to do that good which lies next to your hand. Do not be in a hurry, but be diligent. Enter into the sublime patience of the Lord. Trust to God to weave your little thread into the great web, though the pattern shows it not yet. When God's people are able and willing thus to labor and wait, remember that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; the grand harvest of the ages shall come to its reaping, and the day shall broaden itself to a thousand years, and the thousand years shall show themselves as a perfect and finished day. As quoted in The Way To Win : Showing How To Succeed In Life (1887) by John Thomas Dale, p. 89

„A man may well himself discover truth in what he wrote; for he was dealing all the time with things that came from thoughts beyond his own.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "But a man may then imagine in your work what he pleases, what you never meant!"  Not what he pleases, but what he can. If he be not a true man, he will draw evil out of the best; we need not mind how he treats any work of art! If he be a true man, he will imagine true things: what matter whether I meant them or not? They are there none the less that I cannot claim putting them there! One difference between God's work and man's is, that, while God's work cannot mean more than he meant, man's must mean more than he meant. For in everything that God has made, there is layer upon layer of ascending significance; also he expresses the same thought in higher and higher kinds of that thought: it is God's things, his embodied thoughts, which alone a man has to use, modified and adapted to his own purposes, for the expression of his thoughts; therefore he cannot help his words and figures falling into such combinations in the mind of another as he had himself not foreseen, so many are the thoughts allied to every other thought, so many are the relations involved in every figure, so many the facts hinted in every symbol. A man may well himself discover truth in what he wrote; for he was dealing all the time with things that came from thoughts beyond his own.

„A fairytale, like a butterfly or a bee, helps itself on all sides, sips at every wholesome flower, and spoils not one.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: A fairytale, like a butterfly or a bee, helps itself on all sides, sips at every wholesome flower, and spoils not one. The true fairytale is, to my mind, very like the sonata. We all know that a sonata means something; and where there is the faculty of talking with suitable vagueness, and choosing metaphor sufficiently loose, mind may approach mind, in the interpretation of a sonata, with the result of a more or less contenting consciousness of sympathy. But if two or three men sat down to write each what the sonata meant to him, what approximation to definite idea would be the result? Little enough — and that little more than needful. We should find it had roused related, if not identical, feelings, but probably not one common thought. Has the sonata therefore failed? Had it undertaken to convey, or ought it to be expected to impart anything defined, anything notionally recognizable? "But words are not music; words at least are meant and fitted to carry a precise meaning!" It is very seldom indeed that they carry the exact meaning of any user of them! And if they can be so used as to convey definite meaning, it does not follow that they ought never to carry anything else. Words are like things that may be variously employed to various ends. They can convey a scientific fact, or throw a shadow of her child's dream on the heart of a mother. They are things to put together like the pieces of a dissected map, or to arrange like the notes on a stave.

„If there be music in my reader, I would gladly wake it.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: If there be music in my reader, I would gladly wake it. Let fairytale of mine go for a firefly that now flashes, now is dark, but may flash again. Caught in a hand which does not love its kind, it will turn to an insignificant, ugly thing, that can neither flash nor fly. The best way with music, I imagine, is not to bring the forces of our intellect to bear upon it, but to be still and let it work on that part of us for whose it exists. We spoil countless precious things by intellectual greed. He who will be a man, and will not be a child, must — he cannot help himself — become a little man, that is, a dwarf. He will, however, need no consolation, for he is sure to think himself a very large creature indeed. If any strain of my "broken music" make a child's eyes flash, or his mother's grow for a moment dim, my labour will not have been in vain.

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„Thou goest thine, and I go mine —
Many ways we wend;
Many days, and many ways,
Ending in one end.“

—  George MacDonald, libro Phantastes
Phantastes (1858), Context: Thou goest thine, and I go mine — Many ways we wend; Many days, and many ways, Ending in one end. Many a wrong, and its curing song; Many a road, and many an inn; Room to roam, but only one home For all the world to win.

„The greatest forces lie in the region of the uncomprehended.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: A fairytale, a sonata, a gathering storm, a limitless night, seizes you and sweeps you away: do you begin at once to wrestle with it and ask whence its power over you, whither it is carrying you? The law of each is in the mind of its composer; that law makes one man feel this way, another man feel that way. To one the sonata is a world of odour and beauty, to another of soothing only and sweetness. To one, the cloudy rendezvous is a wild dance, with a terror at its heart; to another, a majestic march of heavenly hosts, with Truth in their centre pointing their course, but as yet restraining her voice. The greatest forces lie in the region of the uncomprehended. I will go farther. The best thing you can do for your fellow, next to rousing his conscience, is — not to give him things to think about, but to wake things up that are in him; or say, to make him think things for himself. The best Nature does for us is to work in us such moods in which thoughts of high import arise. Does any aspect of Nature wake but one thought? Does she ever suggest only one definite thing? Does she make any two men in the same place at the same moment think the same thing? Is she therefore a failure, because she is not definite? Is it nothing that she rouses the something deeper than the understanding — the power that underlies thoughts? Does she not set feeling, and so thinking at work? Would it be better that she did this after one fashion and not after many fashions? Nature is mood-engendering, thought-provoking: such ought the sonata, such ought the fairytale to be.

„Room to roam, but only one home
For all the world to win.“

—  George MacDonald, libro Phantastes
Phantastes (1858), Context: Thou goest thine, and I go mine — Many ways we wend; Many days, and many ways, Ending in one end. Many a wrong, and its curing song; Many a road, and many an inn; Room to roam, but only one home For all the world to win.

„A fairytale is not an allegory. There may be allegory in it, but it is not an allegory.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: A fairytale is not an allegory. There may be allegory in it, but it is not an allegory. He must be an artist indeed who can, in any mode, produce a strict allegory that is not a weariness to the spirit.

„I say again, if I cannot draw a horse, I will not write THIS IS A HORSE under what I foolishly meant for one.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "But surely you would explain your idea to one who asked you?" I say again, if I cannot draw a horse, I will not write THIS IS A HORSE under what I foolishly meant for one. Any key to a work of imagination would be nearly, if not quite, as absurd. The tale is there, not to hide, but to show: if it show nothing at your window, do not open your door to it; leave it out in the cold. To ask me to explain, is to say, "Roses! Boil them, or we won't have them!" My tales may not be roses, but I will not boil them. So long as I think my dog can bark, I will not sit up to bark for him.

„God hides nothing. His very work from the beginning is revelation, — a casting aside of veil after veil, a showing unto men of truth after truth.“

—  George MacDonald
Paul Faber, Surgeon (1879), Context: God hides nothing. His very work from the beginning is revelation, — a casting aside of veil after veil, a showing unto men of truth after truth. On and on, from fact to fact divine he advances, until at length in his Son Jesus he unveils his very face. Then begins a fresh unveiling, for the very work of the Father is the work the Son himself has to do, — to reveal. His life was the unveiling of himself, and the unveiling of the Son is still going on, and is that for the sake of which the world exists. When he is unveiled, that is, when we know the Son, we shall know the Father also. The whole of creation, its growth, its history, the gathering total of human existence, is an unveiling of the Father. He is the life, the eternal life, the Only. I see it — ah! believe me — I see it as I cannot say it. From month to month it grows upon me. The lovely home-light, the one essence of peaceful being, is God himself. He loves light and not darkness, therefore shines, therefore reveals. True, there are infinite gulfs in him, into which our small vision cannot pierce, but they are gulfs of light, and the truths there are invisible only through excess of their own clarity. There is a darkness that comes of effulgence, and the most veiling of all veils is the light. That for which the eye exists is light, but through light no human eye can pierce. — I find myself beyond my depth. I am ever beyond my depth, afloat in an infinite sea; but the depth of the sea knows me, for the ocean of my being is God. — What I would say is this, that the light is not blinding because God would hide, but because the truth is too glorious for our vision. The effulgence of himself God veiled that he might unveil it — in his Son. Inter-universal spaces, icons, eternities — what word of vastness you can find or choose — take unfathomable darkness itself, if you will, to express the infinitude of God, that original splendor existing only to the consciousness of God himself — I say he hides it not, but is revealing it ever, for ever, at all cost of labor, yea of pain to himself. His whole creation is a sacrificing of himself to the being and well-being of his little ones, that, being wrought out at last into partakers of his divine nature, that nature may be revealed in them to their divinest bliss. He brings hidden things out of the light of his own being into the light of ours. But see how different we are, — until we learn of him! See the tendency of man to conceal his treasures, to claim even truth as his own by discovery, to hide it and be proud of it, gloating over that which he thinks he has in himself, instead of groaning after the infinite of God! We would be forever heaping together possessions, dragging things into the cave of our finitude, our individual self, not perceiving that the things which pass that dreariest of doors, whatever they may have been, are thenceforth "but straws, small sticks, and dust of the floor." When a man would have a truth in thither as if it were of private interpretation, he drags in only the bag which the truth, remaining outside, has burst and left. Ch. 31 : A Conscience

„It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning. If it do not even wake an interest, throw it aside. A meaning may be there, but it is not for you.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "Suppose my child ask me what the fairytale means, what am I to say?" If you do not know what it means, what is easier than to say so? If you do see a meaning in it, there it is for you to give him. A genuine work of art must mean many things; the truer its art, the more things it will mean. If my drawing, on the other hand, is so far from being a work of art that it needs THIS IS A HORSE written under it, what can it matter that neither you nor your child should know what it means? It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning. If it do not even wake an interest, throw it aside. A meaning may be there, but it is not for you. If, again, you do not know a horse when you see it, the name written under it will not serve you much.

„A genuine work of art must mean many things; the truer its art, the more things it will mean.“

—  George MacDonald
The Fantastic Imagination (1893), Context: "Suppose my child ask me what the fairytale means, what am I to say?" If you do not know what it means, what is easier than to say so? If you do see a meaning in it, there it is for you to give him. A genuine work of art must mean many things; the truer its art, the more things it will mean. If my drawing, on the other hand, is so far from being a work of art that it needs THIS IS A HORSE written under it, what can it matter that neither you nor your child should know what it means? It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning. If it do not even wake an interest, throw it aside. A meaning may be there, but it is not for you. If, again, you do not know a horse when you see it, the name written under it will not serve you much.

„I think the reason children get tired of their toys so soon is just that it is against human nature to be really interested in what is of no use.“

—  George MacDonald
Context: !-- After a few days, Willie got tired of [the water-wheel] — and no blame to him, for it was no earthly use beyond amusement, and that which can only amuse can never amuse long. --> I think the reason children get tired of their toys so soon is just that it is against human nature to be really interested in what is of no use. If you say that a beautiful thing is always interesting, I answer, that a beautiful thing is of the highest use. Is not the diamond that flashes all its colours into the heart of a poet as useful as the diamond with which the glazier divides the sheets of glass into panes for our windows? The History of Gutta Percha Willie, the Working Genius (1873)

„I firmly believe people have hitherto been a great deal too much taken up about doctrine and far too little about practice. The word doctrine, as used in the Bible, means teaching of duty, not theory.“

—  George MacDonald
Context: I firmly believe people have hitherto been a great deal too much taken up about doctrine and far too little about practice. The word doctrine, as used in the Bible, means teaching of duty, not theory. I preached a sermon about this. We are far too anxious to be definite and to have finished, well-polished, sharp-edged systems — forgetting that the more perfect a theory about the infinite, the surer it is to be wrong, the more impossible it is to be right. From a letter to his father, quoted in George MacDonald and His Wife (1924) by Greville MacDonald

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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