Friday, November 24, 2017

Tolkien on Fairy Stories - a quote

My head is still reeling from the depth and richness of Tolkien's lectures on fairy stories. Until I cobble together a few thoughts for a future blog post, I'll leave you with this quote. The words in italics are words that Tolkien himself coined.

The consolation of fairy stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the "good catastrophe," (a eucatastrophe) the sudden joyous 'turn' (for there is no true end to any fairy tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially 'escapist' nor 'fugitive.' In its other-world setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure; the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief. (p. 75)



Amy Marie said...

Wow. Love that!

Michele Morin said...

I had forgotten about Tolkein's wonderful words: eucatastrophe and dyscatastrophe. He had such a glory-infused view of the universe. And I just ordered a boxed set of several of his lesser known works for my youngest son for Christmas. Thanks for this lovely intro to greater things to come, I'm sure.