Reading George MacDonald: Bookmarks

George MacDonald bookmarks

“But if you believe that the Son of God died and rose again, your whole future is full of the dawn of an eternal morning, coming up beyond the hills of this life, and full of such hope as the highest imagination for the poet has not a glimmer of yet.” (George MacDonald)

Last week Candace discovered this quotation in an Easter devotional (Our Daily Bread for April 25, 2011, written by David H. Roper). Although Our Daily Bread does not include a citation, after a little digging around, I found that it comes from a sermon of MacDonald’s, “Faith, the Proof of the Unseen,” published in Proving the Unseen, ed. William J. Petersen (Keats, 1989), p. 9.

Over two years ago I began a five-year quest to read through the works of George MacDonald (see previous posts: Listening Long and MacDonald Introductions). Most of his works (with the conspicuous exception of Proving the Unseen) are available in handsome, unabridged, facsimile volumes published and hand-bound by the Johannesen Press in Whitethorn, California (image below). To read these volumes, we need bookmarks! Click the image above to download a page of bookmarks to cut out and print for yourself.

The “dawn of an eternal morning” quotation immediately struck me as what I was looking for to use on MacDonald bookmarks. It reflects MacDonald’s emphasis on the imagination. It expresses the vision of hope that permeates MacDonald’s writings. The quotation is a fitting epitome of the heart of George MacDonald himself. (Compare it with a similar quotation I used here.)

This quotation also nicely complements MacDonald’s bookplate, which illustrates the hope of an old man with a walking stick, hunched over, going into a tomb. Malcolm Guite points out that the depiction is a visual tribute to a painting by William Blake to accompany the poem “Jerusalem,” in which the figure, Los, is given a light as he enters the dark doorway of the tomb.

Across the doorway of death, MacDonald inserted the anagram he created from his name:

“Corage, God mend al.”

In the resurrection, MacDonald emerges as a new man, his hope realized, looking heavenward.

The image of MacDonald’s bookplate used on the bookmarks is courtesy Pratt Libraries, from their remarkable bookplate collection. Inspect a larger version here. For more information about MacDonald’s bookplate, including his inspiration from a design by William Blake, see Rolland Hein, George MacDonald: Victorian Mythmaker, pp. 119-20.

Johannesen Press, hand-bound facsimile editions of George MacDonald

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