1. Epigraph: Shelley's "Alastor" Protagonist awakes on his twenty-first birthday, which marks a rite of passage, a formal coming of age, for he officially receives the power of his castle. All this occurs in the absence of a father or mother — he is an orphan. We discover that he has had a brother and that he still has sisters. He discovers a fairy, who claims to be his grandmother, who announces "you shall find the way into Fairy-Land to-morrow" (16).

2. Epigraph: Novalis, Heinrich von Ofterdingen. The transformation, which acts as a magical doorway into fantasy.

3. Epigraph: Henry Sutton. Girl surreptitiously warns Anados of Ash and Alder. He arrives as the cottage of woman who tells him he has fairy blood. He spends the night and reads of Sir Percivale's failure. He reads a story, in other words, of someone who is in his story (25). Threatened by the ash. Learns about the fairies.

4. Epigraph: Ballad of Sir Aldingar. Leaves cottage and observes fairies, senses vague presences in wood, sees the vampire ash, falls asleep and wakens to feel himself comforted by the beech-tree — the third of many female figures that comfort, assist, and educate him; she warns him of the ash and alder.

5. Epigraph: Beddoes' Pygmalion and Romance of Sir Launfal. Anados eats fruits of the wood and becomes able to understand speech of animals. Finds "a rocky cell" on whose walls he finds a frieze of Pygmalion and a block of transparent stone containing the white lady. Inspired, he sings her into existence, and she runs off without speaking to him.

6. Epigraph: Fouqué and Motherwell. Anados encounters the knight with rusted armor who reminds him of Sir Percivale (whom he turns out to be). The knight warns him about the ash and alder. Convinced that after all these warnings, he will be on guard, he immediately succumbs to the alder maid, who delivers him to the ash. Only the blows of an axe, which later turn out to have been delivered by the good knight, save him, but he does not learn the identity of his rescuer at this point.

7. Epigraph: Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton. Guessing the identity of his rescuer, he continues deeper into the fairy wood until he comes upon a farmhouse. The woman there mothers him, but her kind husband, who has no ability to see the fairies (no imagination?), briefly makes him disbelieve his own experiences until the young girl of the family whispers to him that a white lady has been flitting outside the house all night. Duplicating the warnings of chapters 4 and 6, the housewife tells him about the ogre.

8. Epigraph: Goethe's Faust. He comes upon the ogre's house, disregards her warnings, and encounters his supernatural shadow, which represents his selfishness, egotism, and pull towards darkness.

9. Epigraph: Coleridge's "Dejection: An Ode." He experiences the effects of his shadow when he enters the village of grotesques — which shows that the shadow, egotism, makes grotesque others and keeps him from getting close to any. He meets a little girl and destroys her globe. He again encounters the knight, comes to love him, but the evil shadow makes him unable to trust him.

10. Epigraph: four unattributed lines. Leaving the forest, he travels through a desert until he finds a river and a boat. Climbing into the boat, he floats until he arrives at a fairy palace in which he discovered a chamber, identical to his at home, marked with his name.

11. Epigraph: Wordsworth. He explores the fairy palace, magic pool, and the magic books.

12. Epigraph: GEM. He describes the world of one of these books, a fantasy within a fantasy, in which men have arms, women wings, and when they die, he suspects, they go to earth and become human babies. Most interesting in these last two chapters is the conception of magic books that provide simulated realities.

13. Epigraphs: old ballad; Sir John Suckling. The tale of Cosmo and the magic mirror (originally from E. T. A. Hoffmann), which tells about love as not possession, without obvious --and as it turns out — proleptic relation to Anados and the White Lady.

14. Epigraph: Shakespeare, A Winter's Tale. After a week in the palace, he comes upon a hallway or arcade in which red curtains and black columns cover sculpture rooms. Sensing hidden life behind these curtains, he cannot figure out how to reach it until he falls asleep and dreams a solution: open a curtain so quickly that he does not even think about his act. He does so, discovers that the statues are alive and that they disregard him. He is dismayed to discover one empty pedestal but thinks he sees some sign of near-imperceptible woman's feet.

15. Epigraph: Lyly, Campaspe. He tries to sing her into visibility, and most of the chapter is his song.

16. Epigraph: Schiller, Life and the Ideal. When the lady becomes visible, he becomes so carried away that he embraces her. Crying out that he should have sung to her, not touched her, she runs away through a door. He follows, disobeying the Fairy Queen's instructions, and finds himself in a rocky desert.

17. Epigraph: Heine. Waiting until light of day, he descends into a nether world as goblins taunt him about his failure. Unselfishly stating that if she is the love of a better man than he, that other man can have her, he quiets the goblins.

18. Epigraph: Heine. Continuing through the wasteland, he plunges into a wintry sea, finds a boat, climbs in, and drifts to an island.

19. Epigraphs: Schleiermacher and Cowley. There he enters a cottage in which he finds a timeless old woman (God?) who lives in a house with four doors — Tears, Sighs, Dismay, and the Timeless, probably death. In each he re-experiences some moment of shame, guilt, and sorrow. Once he goes through this last door, the experience of which leaves him unconscious and without memory, he has to leave the cottage, which will be inundated by his actions for a year; the old woman, who promises that he will return to her someday, sends him off with instructions to "do something worth doing."

20. Epigraphs: Fletcher, Faithful Shepherdess, and Spenser, Faerie Queene. He joins two princes who make their own armor to battle three giants who have terrorized the kingdom. He becomes their brother, sings to them to strengthen them.

21. Epigraph: The Book of Judges. After creating their armor and perfecting their fighting technique, the three young men are surprised by the giants and unable to don their armor. All kill their evil opponents, but the two brothers die in the process; at first ashamed and humbled that he has survived, Anados, who is knighted by the old king, the brothers' father, gradually begins to become proud — and becomes haunted by his shadow once more.

22. Epigraphs: Jean Paul Richter and Cyril Tourney, The Revenger's Tragedy. Ignoring a warning from a youth, Anados, flushed with pride, encounters his double who defeats him without lifting a weapon. His Other imprisons him in a tower from which he is freed at night in his dreams or under the influence of the moon. At last, a young woman, the girl whose globe he had destroyed, frees him by pointing out he could simply leave his prison. She also tells him that she holds no grudge against him because she has something much finer than the globe — the ability to sing.

23. Epigraphs: Sir Philip Sidney and Matthew Roydon. Anados encounters the knight again, becomes his squire since he feels himself unworthy of being a knight, and together they come upon an impressive religious ceremony that Anados instinctively realizes is an evil human sacrifice. Charging onto the altar and thereby revealing the fierce wolf to whom the people are sacrificed, he slays the monster and is slain by the worshipers.

24. Epigraphs: Dekker and Cowley. The knight brings his body home, and he and the White Lady, who turns out to be his wife, bury Anados, who becomes part of nature.

25. Epigraph: Chaucer, the Pardoner's Tale. He awakens on a hillside, discovering twenty-one days have passed — one for each year of his life --and wonders if he has learned his lesson or will have to re-experience sorrows again.


Victorian Web Overview George MacDonald

Last modified 16 October 2002