I stood on the shore of a wintry sea, with a wintry sun just a few feet above its horizon-edge. It was bare, and waste, and gray. Hundreds of hopeless waves rushed constantly shorewards, falling exhausted upon a beach of great loose stones, that seemed to stretch miles and miles in both directions. There was nothing for the eye but mingling shades of gray; nothing for the ear but the rush of the coming, the roar of the breaking, and the moan of the retreating wave. No rock lifted up a a sheltering severity above the dreariness around; even that from which I had myself emerged rose scarcely a foot above the opening by which I had reached the dismal day. A cold, death-like wind swept across the shore. . . Sign of life was nowhere visible. I wandered over the stones, up and down the beach, a human imbodiment of the nature around me. . . . I could bear it no longer.

"I will not be tortured to death," I cried; "I will meet it half-way. The life within me is yet enough to bear me up to the face of Death, and then I die unconquered." (Chapter 18; boldface added).

How does this passage relate to Tennyson's "Mariana" or Hopkins's later terrible sonnets? In what way does this passage incorporate what Ruskin termed " the pathetic fallacy" and what does this relation tell us about fantasy as a literary mode?

How does Anados's decision relate to the turning points of Mill's Autobiography and Carlyle's Sartor Resartus?


Victorian Web Overview George MacDonald

Last modified 16 October 2002