Four North Winds from the 1950's: Part One

by Robert Trexler

I have quite a few collectible MacDonald books, and I would like to share images of them with my fellow MacDonald enthusiasts. I don't always have backstories of when and where I found the books, as I've been collecting since the early 1970s. I suppose more than half were purchased on the internet, most before collecting the books became as competitive and expensive as they are today.

When collecting books, it adds a great deal to their interest and value if you can find copies with the original dust jacket (assuming the book was issued with a dust jacket). Here is the first of about twenty MacDonald books I own with dust jackets that I plan to send images of for others to enjoy on your website:

It is At the Back of the North Wind, published in 1958 by William Collins and Sons (Glasgow and London). It was part of their Collin's Seagull Library which was divided into boy's titles, girl's titles, and children's titles. ABNW was listed in the children's titles along with The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie. The illustrator is Will Nickless with two full color illustrations (one is the cover and the other the frontpiece) and a half-dozen or so black and white line drawings.

The inside flyleaf includes these words from the publisher: 

"The dream world of George MacDonald has a quality all its own and the passage of time has, if anything, increased the charm of his children's books by adding to their endearing quaintness.

Through little Diamond, the hero of At The Back of the North Wind, we get a vivid impression of life seventy years ago and the picture drawn for us of poor children in Victorian London has all the pathos of a by-gone time.

On this account certainly, George MacDonald's book is worthy of a revival, but in addition there is the other world of George MacDonald - the fantasy world - for he was a poet and a master of fairy tale. His fairy tales are always that much more profound - always there is an additional meaning for those who can or care to take it. His genius lay in that he could cloak his most profound thoughts in the innocence and naivety of a child's simple images.

This fine new edition of the remembered classic is further enhanced by Will Nickless's numerous and beautiful illustrations, in line and colour."