Thursday, April 06, 2006

George McDonald on Law and Worldbuilding

Scott just posted the entirety of an excellent essay by George McDonald on Fairytales, here's a quote:

"A man's inventions may be stupid or clever, but if he does not hold by the laws of them, or if he makes one law jar with another, he contradicts himself as an inventor, he is no artist. He does not rightly consort his instruments, or he tunes them in different keys. The mind of man is the product of live Law; it thinks by law, it dwells in the midst of law, it gathers from law its growth; with law, therefore, can it alone work to any result. Inharmonious, unconsorting ideas will come to a man, but if he try to use one of such, his work will grow dull, and he will drop it from mere lack of interest. Law is the soil in which alone beauty will grow; beauty is the only stuff in which Truth can be clothed; and you may, if you will, call Imagination the tailor that cuts her garments to fit her, and Fancy his journeyman that puts the pieces of them together, or perhaps at most embroiders their button-holes. Obeying law, the maker works like his creator; not obeying law, he is such a fool as heaps a pile of stones and calls it a church."

Perhaps this has something to do with how David, in my favorite Psalm 19, can begin the psalm praising God's worldbuilding and end it delighting in his law.


Blogger Susan said...


George MacDonald is one of my fave authors. What an excellent quote!

4/06/2006 8:32 PM  

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