George MacDonald: Life outline


  • 1824   10th December, George MacDonald Born in Huntley, Aberdeenshire.

  • 1832   MacDonald's mother, Helen dies.

  • 1839   MacDonald's father marries Margaret McColl.

  • 1840   MacDonald wins bursary to King's College, Aberdeen.

  • 1842   Spends some time cataloguing a library. Teaches Arithmetic.

  • 1845   Received M.A. Goes to London to tutor.

  • 1846   Publishes first poem anonymously in the Scottish Congregational Magazine.

  • 1848   Goes to Highbury Theological College. Becomes engaged to Louisa Powell.

  • 1850   Called to Arundel. Severe haemorrhage in November.

  • 1851   Marries Louisa Powell on 8th March. Gives translation of Twelve of the Spiritual Songs of Novalis to friends on Christmas Day.

  • 1852   4th January, Lilia born. June, MacDonald's salary cut on account of his "heresy."

  • 1853   May, resigns pulpit. 23rd July, Mary Josephine born. Moves to Manchester.

  • 1854   16th September, Caroline Grace born.

  • 1855   His collection of poems Within and Without published.

  • 1856   20th January, Greville born. Lady Byron becomes MacDonald's patron. Winter in Algiers.

  • 1857   31st August, Irene born. MacDonalds settle in Hastings.

  • 1858   MacDonald's brother John dies in June. His father dies in August. Phantastes published. Winifrid Louisa born, 6th November.

  • 1859   Moves to London. MacDonald accepts professorship of English Literature at Bedford College in October.

  • 1860   Lady Byron dies. 27th October, Ronald born.

  • 1862   Robert Falconer born.

  • 1863   MacDonald family read Lewis Carroll's "Alice" story. David Elginbrod published. Meets John Ruskin.

  • 1864   Maurice born in February.

  • 1865   MacDonald tries unsuccessfully for professorship of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (literature) at Edinburgh. Alec Forbes of Howglen published. Bernard Powell born.

  • 1867   MacDonalds move to The Retreat, Hammersmith. George MacKay born.

  • 1868   Robert Falconer published. Awarded LLD by Aberdeen University.

  • 1869   Accepts editorship of Good Words for the Young. Lecture tour of Scotland.

  • 1871   At the Back of the North Wind published.

  • 1872   Lecture tour of America. Climax of the Ruskin/ La Touche affair. Wilfrid Cumbermede inspired by Ruskin/ La Touche affair published. The Princess and the Goblin published.

  • 1875   The MacDonalds leave The Retreat.

  • 1876   Exotics published.

  • 1877   First trip to Italy. First performance of Pilgrims Progress. MacDonald awarded a Civil List pension.

  • 1878   Mary Josephine dies.

  • 1879   Maurice dies.

  • 1880   The Family arrive in Bordighera.

  • 1882   The Princess and Curdie published.

  • 1884   Grace dies.

  • 1890   First draft of Lilith completed.

  • 1891   Lilia Dies.

  • 1895   Lilith published.

  • 1897   Salted with Fire, his last novel, published. MacDonald's health deteriorates.

  • 1898   MacDonald has a stroke and lapses into silence.

  • 1901   The MacDonald's Golden Wedding.

  • 1902   13th January, Louisa dies at Bordighera.

  • 1905   18th September, MacDonald dies at Ashtead in Surrey. He is cremated and his ashes buried at Bordighera beside those of his wife.