The genesis of George Macdonald's Lilith: a study of pre-publication documents
Weinrich, Elizabeth Jane McDonald
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In March of 1890, George MacDonald inscribed in a notebook an untitled text which became the basis for Lilith: A Romance, published in 1895. Although initially discounted by reviewers as an aberration, Lilith: A Romance eventually became known as one of MacDonald's greatest works. Attention was not drawn to the notebook manuscript and subsequent documents recording the revision of the text, however, until late in the 1970's. The pre-publication materials include the 1890 manuscript, which has been designated as Lilith A, as well as seven more documents, Lilith B through H. The second document in the series, Lilith B, is comprised of passages inscribed during at least two distinct phases of composition. This study examines both Lilith A and Lilith B, then provides materials preparatory to an edition of Lilith. The text of Lilith A was apparently copied into a notebook from a pre-existing text and relates a fairy tale-like narrative which includes many elements present in the final Lilith: A Romance, yet it does not include many episodes and characters which became central to the revised text. Analysis of MacDonald's life between 1890 and 1895 when Lilith: A Romance was published provides evidence that the writer underwent personal crises during that time which probably account for the many changes to and the complex revising process of the text. The most important and radical changes occurred during the inscription of Lilith B which was made with two different typewriters, apparently over a protracted period of time. Examination of those changes suggests that MacDonald's thinking about and purpose for the text changed as Lilith B was inscribed and revised.|An edition of Lilith A and three apparatuses are included as appendices. A diplomatic transcription of the Lilith B document and a fair copy of the text are also presented in parallel in an electronic appendix which provides hyperlinks between pages.