The Princess and the Goblin and Other Fairy Tales
  • Publication Date: October 21, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554810079 / 1554810078
  • 390 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Princess and the Goblin and Other Fairy Tales

  • Publication Date: October 21, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554810079 / 1554810078
  • 390 pages; 5½" x 8½"

George MacDonald’s Victorian fairy tales transformed the genre of fantasy. His work also shaped the next generation of both children’s literature and modernism: C.S. Lewis regarded MacDonald as a major influence, and writers as diverse as G.K Chesterton and W.H. Auden acknowledged his significance. His best known story for children, The Princess and the Goblin, tells the story of a lonely child princess and her friend, a brave miner boy, in their battle with subterranean monsters.

Along with The Princess and the Goblin, this edition includes four other major fairy stories by MacDonald, as well as a selection of historical documents on the works’ composition and reception, Victorian fairy tales, and MacDonald’s literary criticism.


“A judicious, insightful introduction prepares us for a wonderfully attentive reading of MacDonald’s work—an excellent opener for all, but for undergraduates in particular. Shelley King and John Pierce include MacDonald’s two essays on imagination, as well as excerpts from contemporary literary fairy tales and responses to his work, giving an enriching historical and literary context in which to understand the stories. A balanced, illuminating volume.” — Deirdre Baker, University of Toronto

“The exciting strength of this edition lies in the editors’ astutely researched introduction, which skillfully places MacDonald’s fairy tales in their contemporary literary context. All readers of MacDonald’s work will be delighted with this selection and feel a hearty gratitude for the help that King and Pierce offer.” — Rolland Hein, Wheaton College

“This excellent new scholarly edition of The Princess and the Goblin attempts to place George MacDonald’s beloved children’s classic fully within its Victorian context … this is an invaluable edition, one which will hopefully reinvigorate intellectual and imaginative interest in this seminal work of Victorian children’s literature.” — Daniel Gabelman, Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center

George MacDonald: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Illustrations
A Note on the Texts

The Princess and the Goblin
The Light Princess
The Giant’s Heart
The Golden Key
The History of Photogen and Nycteris: A Day and Night Märchen

Appendix A: Contemporary Reviews

1. The Princess and the Goblin

  1. From “Christmas Book,” Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art (1871)
  2. Sidney Colvin, Academy (1872)
  3. From “Christmas Books,” Athenaeum (1871)
  4. From “Belles Lettres,” Westminster Review (1872)
  5. Netta Syrett, “On the Right Choice of Books for Children,” Academy and Literature (1903)

2. Dealings with the Fairies

  1. London Review of Politics, Society, Literature, Art, and Science (1867)
  2. Dealings with the Fairies, ‘Where more is meant than meets
    the Ear,’” The British Quarterly Review (1867)
  3. From “Our Book Club,” Eclectic Review (1867)
  4. Athenaeum (1893)

Appendix B: MacDonald on the Imagination

  1. “The Fantastic Imagination” (1893)
  2. “The Imagination: Its Functions and Its Culture” (1867)

Appendix C: Victorian Fairy Tales

  1. From John Ruskin, The King of the Golden River (1851)
  2. From William Makepeace Thackeray, The Rose and the Ring or The History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (1855)
  3. From Norman Macleod, The Gold Thread: A Story for the Young (1861)

Appendix D: MacDonald’s Composition and the Manuscript of The Princess and the Goblin

Select Bibliography

Shelley King is Professor and Head of the Department of English at Queen’s University.

John Pierce is Professor of English at Queen’s University.