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3.15.2012

Selections from George MacDonald's "The Fantastic Imagination"

"But indeed your children are not likely to trouble you about the meaning. They find what they are capable of finding, and more would be too much. For my part. I do not write for children, but for the childlike, whether of five, or fifty, or seventy-five.
"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 . . ."

"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 conscious, 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."

"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 thought in higher and higher kinds of that thought; it is God's things, his embodied thoughts, which alone a man has to use. . . . 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."

"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 sake 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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