"...And now, when a fellow feels miserable, he is to cry to that dead man, who said of himself that he was meek and lowly in heart, and straightway the poor beggar shall find rest to his soul! All I can say is that, if he find rest so, it will be the rest of an idiot! Believe me, Helen, a good Havannah and a bottle of claret would be considerably more to the purpose;—for ladies, perhaps rather a cup of tea and a little Beethoven!..."
Sometimes George MacDonald expressed humor through light-hearted poetical nonsense. In the excerpt below, from At the Back of the North Wind, Little Diamond, a young sickly child, has just returned from driving his father’s cab all day to make money for the family while his father was ill. Diamond is so happy at the end of the day that, after giving the day’s earnings to his mother, he goes to his baby brother, picks him up, and begins to sing a nonsense poem to him...
In the excerpt below from St. George and St. Michael, vol. 1, George MacDonald presents a humorous situation. For protection during the danger of brewing war, Dorothy Vaughn, because of family relations, goes to live in a castle with the Marquis and his family, attendants, and servants. Shortly after Dorothy’s arrival, her dog, who had not come with her in the move, finds a way into the castle in search of her. The humor comes in the fact that the dog’s name is Marquis, so when Dorothy calls the dog, the Marquis of the castle thinks she is calling him...
"There was a certain country where things used to go rather oddly. For instance, you could never tell whether it was going to rain or hail, or whether or not the milk was going to turn sour. It was impossible to say whether the next baby would be a boy, or a girl, or even, after he was a week old, whether he would wake sweet-tempered or cross..."
"Daniel Gabelman’s George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity spends a lot of time developing a historic perspective on seriousness, lightness, and levity. Dante, Shakespeare, Byron, the book of Ecclesiastes, and a somewhat revisionary analysis of Victorian culture all contribute to the argument.
But that is mainly background to Gabelman’s winning presentation of what we really can call George MacDonald’s theology of levity. Though developed mainly in MacDonald’s fairy tales, it’s a perspective on life - better, a feel for life - rooted in Scripture and Christian faith..."
---Peter J. Leithart, May 8th, 2014, from firstthings.com