One thing I love about British literature—and just British culture, in general—is the quirky sense of humor we often see in their books and entertainment. Those in the British Empire have a way with words, and it often takes some deeper thinking about words to understand their puns and symbolism. I’ll test the waters here a bit by saying that I think they’ve got “proper” English down, and reading something written by a British writer always challenges my vocabulary.
George MacDonald’s, The Light Princess, is such a fun little book to read because it’s just full of puns and nonsensical things and wonderful plays on words that make all the nonsensical things ok because the whole thing is brilliantly written. MacDonald seems to me to be a fantastic mixture of his contemporary and student, Lewis Carroll, and our more modern Roald Dahl.
MacDonald was a Scottish writer and Christian minister who lived from 1824-1905. He was a major literary influence on some of our favorite authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. He was the author of over 60 published works, including poetry, fantasy, realistic fiction and nonfiction.
Inspired by the tale of Sleeping Beauty, The Light Princess tells the story of a princess who was cursed at birth and lost her “gravity”. Throughout the story, she deals with issues of gravity—both as a state of being and in the sense of physics. When someone is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for her comfort, good overcomes evil and she learns lessons in true love.
There are so many fun literary elements in, The Light Princess. Readers will encounter allusions to nursery rhymes, as well as laugh-out-loud jokes that only an adult would understand. “The King told stories and the Queen listened to them,” is one of my favorite lines! Symbolism and witticisms abound. It’s such a great story because it’s obvious how much fun MacDonald had writing it.
Here are some resources readers may find useful. Whether you are a youth, studying the book as an assignment, or an adult, reading and researching for fun, there’s neat things to be found for everyone in this short story that’s long on character.
Book &Author Info
More on George MacDonald (short version)
TONS More on MacDonald (extremely long version)
Quotes by MacDonald
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”
“Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.”
“A man’s real belief is that which he lives by.”
Sarah Coller is a married mother of nine who stays busy homemaking and homeschooling. Her passion is creating a comfortable and peaceful home for her husband and children and she loves to encourage other women as a food and homemaking blogger. Thankful for God’s saving grace, Sarah hopes to leave a legacy that reflects His faithfulness. She blogs at Hope In Every Season, as well as her literature blog, Belle’s Library.