Known particularly for his poignant fairytale fantasy novel PHANTASTES, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and E. Nesbit. It was C. S. Lewis who wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier."
The story centres on the character Anodos and concerns a young man who is pulled into a dreamlike world and there hunts for his ideal of female beauty, embodied by the "Marble Lady". Anodos lives through many adventures and temptations while in the other world, until he is finally ready to give up his ideals.