Tuesday, March 22, 2011

OFS Vocabulary

Since we didn't have time in-class, I thought it might be really helpful--dare I say: fun?--to discuss some of the vocabulary of "On Fairy-Stories." Tolkien uses a language all his own, coining words and using everyday words with a slightly different meaning or intention.

If it won't break your pseudonymity (or you don't care if it does), post some of those words here, along with a definition (either from a dictionary or from Tolkien), and discuss. What is Tolkien saying here, and why? What is the point of coining this word? Why use this word in this specific way? People might come up with different definitions...is that okay?

Some extra-cool words you might want to consider:

-Fairy/Faerie/etc.
-Eucatastrophe
-Sub-creation

1 comment:

Aredhel said...

I loved "eucatastrophe"- the consolation of the happy ending. In order to understand this word, we must first understand another word Tolkien coined: dyscatastrophe, the existence of sorrow and failure. Dyscatastrophe magnifies eucatastrophe because without pain and sorrow, true and pervasive joy (evangelium) cannot be known.

Eucatastrophe, Tolkien says, is the highest function of a fairy-story. He contrasts it to tragedy in drama - when the story culminates in an unhappy catastrophe. Instead, the fairy-story operates as an escape where the story never truly ends, but goes on "happily ever after."

Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings to end in eucatastrophe. The ending may not be completely fluffy and exceedingly happy since Frodo leaves the Shire and the Fellowship disbands, but there is a sense for the reader of utter joy or evangelium. Middle-earth has been cleansed of a horrible presence, and though much death and destruction took place, the results are completely good. There is dyscatastrophe to contrast and augment the eucatastrophic - the happy - ending.