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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Monday, 21 July 2008

"All Mirrors are Magic Mirrors" - Making the World Phantastic

"All mirrors are magic mirrors" wrote George MacDonald in his adult fairy tale, Phantastes (1858). And in so writing he smashed through the hard and fast barriers dividing our world from the fantastic world in the novel. All mirrors are magic mirrors - not just the ones in the story. Nick Page comments on the imagery of reflection in the novel:

One of the key images in Phantastes is the mirror. Mirrors occur with bewildering frequency. And even where there are not physical mirrors, there are events which mirror each other ... Phantastes is very carefully structured, but it is structured around repetition and reflection. The ‘main’ story of Anodos [a character on a journey into Fairy Land] contains many events which repeat, rework or reflect one another. And his story is mirrored in the poems, ballads and stories embedded within the text ... ‘All mirrors are magic mirrors,’ wrote MacDonald. ‘The commonest room is a room in a poem when I turn to the glass.’ Phantastes itself is a kind of magic mirror, through which we see life – our life – in a different way.

(Nick Page in the "Introduction" to Phantastes: Annotated Edition, Paternoster, 2008 forthcoming)

MacDonald lays bare the power of fantasy literature to open our eyes to deeper depths and realities in the mundane worlds we think we live in.

In doing this he's not so very different from the prophets of Israel or the author of the book of Revelation. "The way that the world appears to be", they say to us, "is not necessarily the way that it is. Look again! See beneath the surface! Gaze with fresh eyes! That which seems beautiful may be demonic; that which you think ordinary may be filled with dazzling glory; and that which appears insignificant may be the most world transforming thing of all."

Reading MacDonald has reminded me that "all mirrors are magic mirrors." Yes, even the ones in my house!

6 comments:

Teresita said...

Reading MacDonald has reminded me that "all mirrors are magic mirrors." Yes, even the ones in my house!

Somehow, mirrors "know" to flip left and right, but they don't flip up and down. Pure freaking magic.

Robin Parry said...

:-)

Dru Johnson said...

Off topic, is there hope that The Bible and Epistemology will become widely available in the states? I'm on hold lists everywhere I look for it.

Robin Parry said...

Dru

Really? I was not aware of that. I will follow up with the US office.

Thanks

Robin

Dru Johnson said...

Thank you very much. I am beginning my dissertation on that very topic (starting in January) and am anxiously awaiting to read it.

Robin Parry said...

Dru

Email me on robin.parry@stl.org

Robin