Date of Award
English Language and Literatures
Director of Thesis
George MacDonald's 1858 novel Phantastes is one of the first fantasy novels written for adults, but it has received little attention in part because of its confusing structure. I argue that Phantastes is best understood as a Bildungsroman, a novel of formation. While the Bildungsroman is usually a realist novel of commercial society, Phantastes’ fantasy elements allow the protagonist to grow up into a spiritual reality that contrasts with many commercial values. MacDonald uses the fantasy genre to show his protagonist's inner development as he learns humility, gains feminine and childlike virtues, and leaves behind the old self
O'Malley, Hannah, "George MacDonald's Phantastes as a Bildungsroman of Spiritual Reality" (2022). Senior Theses. 521.