David Jack was born in Glasgow, but was raised in George MacDonald’s own North East corner of Scotland. Seven years ago, he began translating all of his countryman’s Scottish novels into English, so that the broad “Doric” Scots, familiar to both David and MacDonald from childhood, would no longer prove a barrier to a worldwide readership. His new “Scots-English” editions are complete and unabridged, with the original Aberdeenshire dialogue appearing side-by-side with David’s modern English translation.
Central to these new editions is the belief that MacDonald is at least as valuable a writer as those he inspired, such as G K Chesterton, C S Lewis, and J R R Tolkien, and that therefore he deserves to be read (and the public deserves to be able to read him) in unabridged form, as his heirs are still read today. The aim has been to champion George MacDonald’s works in the twenty-first century as C S Lewis did in the twentieth, with a special emphasis on the undiscovered, because linguistically challenging, novels set in Scotland. With this in mind, it has been a particular pleasure that Lewis’s stepson Douglas Gresham has recognised the value of this objective: providing introductions and endorsements not only for new editions of the fairy tales, but for the “Scots-English” editions of “Sir Gibbie,” “What’s Mine’s Mine“, “Malcolm,” and more.
David is a graduate of Aberdeen University, where MacDonald also earned his first degree. His grandfather fished the same waters as one of MacDonald’s most enduring characters, Malcolm MacPhail, and before he had even heard about his famous countryman (who remains more celebrated on the other side of the Atlantic) he used to pay frequent visits to the author’s home town of Huntly, which is situated a mere fifty miles from his own boyhood home.
Room to Roam
The name of this website, which David runs with his wife Jessica, is taken from Phantastes, one of MacDonald’s most famous works. It was chosen to celebrate the beautiful wide open spaces which we find in his Scottish novels, and (perhaps even more importantly) to underline how much there is to discover when we read them in full. All editions of the Scottish and English novels, as well as the non-fiction, fairy-tales and fantasies, which are offered for sale in the bookstore, contain the full original text, allowing the reader to discover the complete stories with all they have to offer. This not only affords the most authentic reading experience, but allows each of us today to delve into the same master-works which graced the bookshelves of Lewis, Chesterton, Nesbit, Twain, and all who have been inspired by MacDonald in years gone by.
“Many a wrong
and its curing song
Many a road
and many an inn
Room to roam
but only one home
for all the world to win.”