"[O]cean of supernatural energy . . . Power/ Beauty/ Zauberfluidum . . . . Zauberfluidum Brahman R.t.a. Wakan Orenda"--Notes in Tolkien's draft of On Fairy-Stories
“Fairie . . . is the occult power in nature behind the usable and tangible appearances of things which may tend or pretend to tap, but in which and by which fairies have their being” from Manuscript B of On Fairy-Stories
a realm of beautiful peril and enchantment
is not supernatural (i.e. Heaven or Hell) but about a realm deeply tied to
the natural realms.
are more like humans than Draytonian sprites.
really about fairies or elves, especially diminutive ones
; the true
definition of elves is more like that of John Gower.
human aventure within the realm of FaŽrie
[aventure (French): adventure, but also hazard and peril.]
taken seriously within this realm
Magic must not be mocked; this violates one of the key principles of FaŽrie
because it essentially explains it away.
travelersí tales, dream projections, or beast fables; rather, where the
marvelous is true.
is the Origin of Fairy-Stories?
The folklore approach tends to focus on historical context
and/or sort by motifs and thereby ignore literary values,
Which is not to deny that the "Tree of Tales" has
a fascination not unlike the philologist's love of language
derives from a mixture of "independent invention," "inheritance" from previous
traditions, and a "diffusion" of strands of story within the soup of
proceeds language in some sense, and the gift of language makes story possible.
Mind, language, and story are "coeval."
faculty of sub-creation, that is the craft of making of new forms of art,
makes the realms of FaŽrie into forms of story.
MŁller's nature theory: personality,
not abstraction, is the key to good story.
real distinction between high and low mythology, or between myth and
faces to fairy-stories
(the key element)
of scorn and pity towards Man
Cauldron of Story can not be ranked or methodized, for history and fiction
are both put into the pot.
History and fiction are created out of the same human elements.
cooks/authors are selective in what they use from the pot.
opens a door on other time or outside time; thus, the appeal of the
is the Use/Value of Fairy-Stories?
is no essential connection between children and fantasy
are only immature adults; much of what is attractive in fairy stories to
children is also at a higher level attractive to adults of a certain
of children and fairy stories is simply an "accident of domestic history."
is needed is an appetite for marvels
a suspension of disbelief, but a entrance/belief in the secondary world of
This taste for fantasy is neither child-like nor primitive (as Lang
not concerned so much with possibility as desirability.
hunger for the Other World is at the heart of much FaŽrie (e.g. the
and justice are both present in such worlds, and fairy stories should
encourage growth in children, as it should in adults.
is the mental power of image-making, not the Romantic notion of a power
that gives created works an internal consistency.
craft is the link between imagination and the final product of a sub-creation.
is both that faculty that brings "inner consistency" to a secondary world
and that quality that imparts a sense of "arresting strangeness" to the
does not succeed in fantasy because the fantastic cannot have a feeling of
counterfeit magic about it.
drama offers an experience of the secondary world in a state of direct
then may not be the right word to describe this quality since
"magic" also refers to the power machinations and the will to
then, is the quality that produces an artistic secondary world that can be
entered by both creator and reader.
is an extension of Adamic naming/lordship
imago dei is realized in sub-creation
is a human right and a natural human activity.
assists fantasy; without a desire for truth, fantasy can become deceptive.
can, thus, be misused, but then so can all good things.
Recovery is a renewal or regaining of a clear view, a sense
of things as they truly are. Fairy stories do this; so does humility.
(Chesterton)óto see what has become trivial from a new angle requires a renewal
of its queerness. This is a quality different than that of fantasy, though
they are related.
Fantasy is an escape back into the reality of things.
It is like the prisoner who wishes to escape or chooses to
think on the outside world while in prison.
The subjects of fairy stories are as real as (or more real
than) the products of
A return to the permanent truths about things in the face of
the ugly modern world, for example, beauty and evil may be related.
The desire for things less and more profound--to visit the
sea, to understand the speech of animals, to renew ties with fantastic
realms that humans are sundered from.
The Great Escape from death vs. the Elvish escape from
Eucatastrophe: the consolation of the sudden, happy ending in the
face of certain doom
An evangelium of
joy that denies the finality of defeat
Joy beyond the boundaries of this world; therefore, a
pointing to a certain truth (see first page of epilogue).
A. All fantasy
writers desire to draw on Reality, to provide " a sudden glimpse of
the underlying reality or truth."
Gospels contain a true fairy-story, which is the essence of all
story has entered history and the primary world
Incarnation as the eucatastrophe of human history,
Resurrection as the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation
great eucatastrophe of the eschaton: "Legend and History
have met and fused."
is an element in the kingdom of redemption; The gospel hallows other
stories rather than rendering them superfluous.
The problem with dramatizing beast fables is it still may violate the
child's original imagination of the story.
Folklorists in discussing oral transmission should not forget that the
primary purpose of tales is story-making.
Children have no special bent towards writing fairy-tales.
Tolkien's personal interest in Nature, along with FaŽrie, though the
two are not the same.
Drama (including visual art and cinema) lacks the mind's personal power
to imagine a scene.
Allows for FaŽrie off-stage, though this then focuses on human
responses not FaŽrie itself.
Rejects the primitive, evolutionary hypothesis (i.e. totemism) for the
blending of human and beastly elements in tales.
There is no ending (or even beginning) to fairy-tales, which exist in
"a great uncharted world of time."