Behind the Back of the North Wind:
Critical Essays on George MacDonald's Classic Children's Bookedited by John Pennington and Roderick McGillis
George MacDonald’s AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND has enticed critics since its publication in 1871. The unique blend of fairy tale atmosphere and social realism in this novel laid the groundwork for modern fantasy literature. In the novel, Little Diamond, a kind and precocious boy living in poverty, is befriended by the mysterious North Wind, who takes him on her nightly adven¬tures. Written in intensely poetic language, AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND transcends the genres of children’s book or fairy tale.
BEHIND THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND includes 16 essays on this enigmatic and richly layered fantasy novel – with perspectives ranging from the influence of MacDonald’s Christian worldview or the relation between fantasy and reality, to grappling with AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND as children’s literature. A variety of artist’s illustrations are included, from editions published between 1871 to 1988, visually reinforcing the imaginative impact MacDonald’s classic story continues to have on readers.
About the Editors:
John Pennington is a Professor of English at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin.
Roderick McGillis is a Professor of English (retired from the University of Calgary).