91 pages 3 hours read

George MacDonald

The Princess and the Goblin

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1872

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


The Princess and the Goblin

  • Genre: Fiction; middle grade fantasy/folklore
  • Originally Published: 1872
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1030L; grades 4-8
  • Structure/Length: 32 chapters; approx. 241 pages; approx. 4 hours, 55 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Eight-year-old Princess Irene confronts the nearby mountain goblins near her castle home with the help of friend Curdie and the magical protections of a mysterious woman in this classic children’s tale.

George MacDonald, Author

  • Bio: 1824-1905; Scottish minister-turned-writer in the Victorian Age; studied chemistry and physics at Aberdeen University; attended a London theological seminary to prepare for the ministry; put God’s love and forgiveness foremost in his personal theology, a view not accepted by traditionalists in the church; became a prolific writer of fiction and poetry; novels and stories influenced by his religious beliefs; works experienced new popularity in the latter half of the 20th century
  • Other Works: The Princess and Curdie (1883); At the Back of the North Wind (1868); Lilith (1895)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Faith in the Mystical
  • The Dual Nature of Humanity
  • What It Means to Be a Princess

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of social class during the Victorian era and how it influences the novel’s depiction of What It Means to Be a Princess.