Open main menu

Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

 
English author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who wrote books like The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954–1955), as a British Army officer in 1916. Tolkien coined the word eucatastrophe in a 1944 letter.

eu- +‎ catastrophe, coined in a 1944 letter by English author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973):[1] see quotation.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

eucatastrophe (plural eucatastrophes)

  1. (literature) A catastrophe (dramatic event leading to plot resolution) that results in the protagonist's well-being. [from 1944]
    • [1944 November 7, J[ohn] R[onald] R[euel] Tolkien, “88. From a Letter to Christopher Tolkien[,] 28 October 1944 (FS 58)”, in Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien, editors, Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, London: George Allen & Unwin, published 1981, →ISBN; The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin paperback edition, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000, →ISBN, page 100:
      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. [] 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).]
    • 1988, Alzina Stone Dale, “Prologue: J. Alfred Prufrock among the Prophets”, in T. S. Eliot: The Philosopher Poet (The Wheaton Literary Series), Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw, →ISBN; T. S. Eliot: The Philsopher-Poet, Authors Guild Backprint.com edition, Lincoln, Neb.: iUniverse, 2004, →ISBN, page 5:
      The "problem" of T[homas] S[tearns] Eliot comes partly from our post-Christian sense of a world where Tolkien's eucatastrophes never happen, and partly from the way we write biography.
    • 2015, John J. Davenport, quoting Eleanor Helms, “The Virtues of Ambivalence: Wholeheartedness as Existential Telos and the Unwillable Completion of Narravives”, in John Lippitt and Patrick Stokes, editors, Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, →ISBN, page 159:
      Literary unity demands that once a eucatastrophe happens it must be accepted as part of the story rather than as an arbitrary whim of the author.

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit