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Old 08-18-2002, 06:45 PM   #26
Stormdancer of Doom
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I'm finding myself wondering how many definitions of eucatastrophe there are. Here's what i started with at the top of the thread:

I coined the word 'eucatastrophe': the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy stories to produce). And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is
a sudden glimpse of truth
.... It percieves-- if the story has literary 'truth'...--that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made.

The main thing I get out of this is the "glimpse of truth". While it produces emotion (catharsis, Maril) it is not essentially emotional; it is the realisation of truth, a deeper, more profound truth than the reader was expecting. My image of it is that the reader is happily reading along enjoying the plot and the interactions, and suddenly, so to speak, the bottom drops out and he sees into the depths, clearly or not, but beyond the bounds of the story into truth.

To me this has little to do with how many of those moments there are in any given book; can there be only a few; do they belong at the end; do they involve many people or few or are they actions or dreams or thoughts or whatever. The point is that it is a window to enduring truth outside the story, which the reader suddenly percieves and is struck by. And the natural-- or sometimes supernatural-- response to the truth is the sudden happiness, the joy that brings tears.

I take it that this is a quite different definition than some of us are working off of?

[ August 18, 2002: Message edited by: mark12_30 ]
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