Thread: Happy Eucatastrophe Day!
April 7th 2012, 11:13 PM #1
Male - Christian
- Join Date
- August 6th, 2008
- Upon Mount Taniquetil
- Blog Entries
- 4 Post(s)
Happy Eucatastrophe Day!
J.R.R. Tolkien's Letter #89 To Christopher Tolkien
7-8 November 1944 (FS 60)
20 Northmoor Road, Oxford
...But at the story of the little boy (which is a fully attested fact of course) with its apparent sad ending and then its sudden unhoped-for happy ending, I was deeply moved and had that peculiar emotion we all have – though not often. It is quite unlike any other sensation. And all of a sudden I realized what it was : the very thing that I have been trying to write about and explain – in that fairy-story essay that I so much wish you had read that I think I shall send it to you. For it 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, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives – if the story has literary 'truth' on th e second plane (for which see the essay) – that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made. And I concluded by saying that the Resurrection was the greatest 'eucatastrophe' possible in the greatest Fairy Story – and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love. Of course I do not mean that the Gospels tell what is only a fairy-story; but I do mean very strongly that they do tell a fairy-story: the greatest. Man the story-teller would have to be redeemed in a manner consonant with his nature: by a moving story. But since the author if it is the supreme Artist and the Author of Reality, this one was also made to Be, to be true on the Primary Plane. So that in the Primary Miracle (the Resurrection) and the lesser Christian miracles too though less, you have not only that sudden glimpse of the truth behind the apparent Anankę of our world, but a glimpse that is actually a ray of light through the very chinks of the universe about us....
By Manwë Súlimo in forum Christianity 201Replies: 1Last Post: April 24th 2011, 01:00 PM
By Jnthn in forum Chapel BulletinReplies: 1Last Post: November 26th 2008, 03:22 PM
By Xavier in forum Chapel BulletinReplies: 6Last Post: October 21st 2005, 02:12 AM