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Old 07-22-2002, 01:36 PM   #3
Bęthberry
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Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
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Hello Mark12-30,

I'm so glad you have posted this topic! I don't know the Lettersfrom which you quote,but I do know Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories." I hope you don't mind if I quote from that as a second source of the ideas from Tolkien which you have quoted here.

Quote:
But the 'consolation' of fairy-stories has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Enidng. Almost I would venture to assert that all complete fairy-stories must have it. At least I would say that Tragedy is true form of Drama, its hightest function; but the oppositive is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite--I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its hightest function.

The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophphe, the sudden joyous 'turn' (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, wich is one of the things which fairy-tales can produce supremely well, is not essentially 'escapist', nor 'fugitive'. In its fairy-tale--or otherworld--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, if you will) 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....I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairy-story .... The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. ...There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true....
This is the explanation of Tolkien's thought that I know best. Let me run off now, complete my RL tasks, and get back to this thread after I have contemplated it some more.

Bethberry
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