Born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire in North East Scotland
on December 10 1824, George MacDonald did not begin his career
as a professional writer until the 1850's after he was forced to resign from his position as a minister due to the lack of dogma
in his sermons (apparently, this was displeasing to his congregation). His first major contribution to literature
came with the publication of Phantastes
in 1858, the work which so inspired C.S. Lewis
as a teenager
. His failed stint as a pastor didn't diminish his view of religion
at all, however, a major theme present in many of his writings is God's love. In addition to writing, MacDonald was the father of eleven children
. He died in September of 1905.
MacDonald's works were inspiring such authors as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien mentioned above. G.K. Chesterton, W.H. Auden, and Madeleine L'Engle have also been influenced by his works. He himself drew his inspiration from German fairy tales (Undine by De La Motte Fouque's was his favorite, and Hans Christian Andersen, whose darker stories bear resemblance to MacDonald's more frightening tales. Other influences include Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Novalis, Herbert, and Milton. Dark elements in MacDonald's own life: the death of one of this five siblings in 1829, that of his mother three years later, and the death of his own son and daughter also have an impact on his writings, most evidently in The Gifts of the Christ Child.
Glenn Edward Sadler, Introduction to The Gifts of the Child Christ and Other Stories and Fairy Tales