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Tolkien and Fantasy

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Title: Tolkien and Fantasy


1
Tolkien and Fantasy
2
There is no market for fantasy.
  • -- U.S Publisher to an aspiring author in the
    1950s

3
The Romance
  • Presents life as we would have it bemore
    picturesque, fantastic, adventurous, or heroic
    than actuality.

4
Realism
  • Realistic fiction is written to give the effect
    that it represents life and the social world as
    it seems to the common reader, evoking the sense
    that its characters might in fact exist, and that
    such things might well happen.

5
Realism
  • The subject matter of Realism must be fairly
    limited. It tends to prefer commonplace, and
    everyday material, represented in minute detail.

6
  • His work is so outstanding and his influence so
    conspicuous that his name stands first Tolkien
    and twentieth-century fantasy, like Shakespeare
    and Elizabethan drama.
  • (Deborah Webster Rogers)

7
Fantasy
  • Any narrative that is disengaged from reality.
    Often such stories are set in nonexistent
    worlds, such as under the earth, in a fairyland,
    on the moon. The characters in fantasy are often
    something other than human or include non-human
    characters.

8
Some Characteristics of Fantasy
  • Is often set in the past before recorded history
    begins or at some time that cannot be put into a
    definite relationship with real time but
    resembles past eras of history or
  • contains persons or other creatures that have
    been the subject of myths or legends or

9
Some Characteristics of Fantasy
  • involves marvellous events of which no scientific
    explanation is given or perhaps seems possible
    or
  • involves magic.
  • (Richard L. Purtill J.R.R. Tolkien Myth,
    Morality and Religion 33).

10
Fantasy Science Fiction
  • Fantasy can be distinguished from science fiction
    in that the latter, though it may have a strange
    world similar, or vastly different from our own,
    its laws are explained by science and technology
    (whether real or imagined).

11
Fantasy Science Fiction
  • Fantasy deals with things that are not and
    cannot be. Science fiction deals with things that
    can be,
  • that some day may be.
  • (M. H. Abrams)

12
Tolkien on Fantasy
  • Fantasy is the making or glimpsing of Other
    worlds (i.e., worlds made up by the author) (On
    Fairy Stories).

13
Tolkien on Fantasy
  • The fantasy writer creates
  • a Secondary World which the readers mind can
    enter. Inside it, what he relates is true it
    accords with the laws of that world. Thus the
    writer creates Secondary Belief.

14
Tolkien on Fantasy
  • Fantasy, when well achieved, should have a
    quality of strangeness and wonder in the
    Expression, yet an author must be able to give
    to his or her ideal creation the inner
    consistency of reality.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

15
Tolkien on Fantasy
  • Faërie (the perilous and magical realm of
    fantasy) contains many things besides elves and
    fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls,
    giants, or dragons it holds the seas, the sun,
    the moon, the sky and the earth, and all things
    that are in it tree and bird, water and stone,
    wine and bread, and ourselves,
  • mortal men.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

16
Tolkien on Magic in Fantasy
  • His fantasys magic, is a magic of a peculiar
    mood and power, at the furthest pole from the
    vulgar devices of the laborious, scientific
    magician. . whose desire is power in this
    world, domination of things and wills.
  • It is more the magic of enchantment.

17
Sub-creation
  • We make still by the law in which were made.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

18
Sub-creation
  • The making of things is in my heart from my own
    making by Thee
  • (Aule in The Ainulindale).

19
Recovery, Escape andConsolation
20
Recovery, Escape and Consolation
  • Tolkien believed that fairy-stories are valuable
    because they help us overcome an imaginative
    poverty he saw behind his contemporaries failure
    to respond to the mythological vision of works
    like Beowulf.

21
Recovery
  • Too much of our life and our art, Tolkien
    complains, is like play under a glass roof by
    the side of a municipal swimming-bath, forgetful
    of heaven and the sea.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

22
Recovery
  • We need to clean our windows so that the things
    seen clearly may be freed from the drab blur of
    triteness or familiarity.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

23
Recovery
  • Tolkien believed Fairy stories let us see or
    discover the world as we originally were meant to
    see it. We are left to imagine that the
    stupidity, barbarity, squalor, and horror of the
    war drove a sensitive young imagination toward
    the conviction that he was seeing the very
    opposite of life as it was meant to be seen
    (Roger Sale).

24
Escape
  • Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself
    in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Of
    if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks
    about other topics than jailers and
    prison-walls? (On Fairy Stories)

25
Escape
  • The world outside has not become less real
    because the prisoner cannot
  • see it
  • The critics who accuse fantasy of being escapist
    have chosen the wrong word, and, . . . are
    confusing The Escape of the Prisoner with The
    Flight of the Deserter.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

26
Consolation
  • Fairy tales offer consolation from this worlds
    suffering through tapping into desires we have,
    such as the desire to visit far off places, . .
    .to survey the depths of space and time. Another
    is to hold communion with living things.
  • (On Fairy Stories)

27
Consolation
  • The main consolation is seen in all fairy tales
    It is the happy ending.
  • Tolkien calls this the Eucatastrophe.
  • When we experience a Eucatastrophe, we feel a
    deep, piercing joy with a turn from sorrow to
    happiness.

28
Consolation
  • 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). . . . 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.
    (Tolkien, Letters)

29
Consolation
  • The gospels, according to Tolkien, are like a
    fairy story, artistic, yet true, not fictitious.
    The incarnation and resurrection are both
    Eucatastrophes.

30
  • The poetry of the mythic imagination makes the
    ability to perceive truth possible, putting
    imaginatively starved modern man back once again
    into awed and reverent contact with a living
    universe (Randel Helms).
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