Word of the Week

Eucatastrophe: n. the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears. Coined by J.R.R. Tolkien.

But the ‘consolation’ of fairy-tales has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending. Almost I would venture to assert that all complete fairy-stories must have it. At least I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function; but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite — I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function.

The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially ‘escapist’, nor ‘fugitive’. In its fairy-tale—or otherworld—setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.

It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.

Retrieved from Tolkien Gateway at http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Eucatastrophe

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Word of the Week

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One of my favorite Japanese words is gambaru, particularly in the imperative, i.e. gambatte. It’s used all the time to encourage people when they’re challenged a lot of a little. From the helpful, engaging site Tofugu, the definition above captures most of the sense of the word, but click on the link above to get the full story.

To really understand the magic of gambatte, you should at least visit Japan or watch a lot of Japanese media. It does uplift and help prevent someone from giving up.

Word of the Week

Bibliophagist n. : an avid or voracious reader

I’d never herd this word until I clicked on one of the blogger’s profile photos who liked yesterday’s post. What an apt word. I sure admire her vocabulary.

Sample sentences:

Like many bibliophagists, Dirda sometimes has an excessively romantic view of the power of the page. —Kirkus Reviews, 1 Mar. 2006

Once you had got through Pooh and Dr. Dolittle, Alice and the Water Babies, you were a bibliophagist on the loose. —Nadine Gordimer, Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1954–2008, 2010

Reference

Bibliophagist. (n.d.). https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bibliophagist retrieved on August 31, 2018

Word of the Week

ingurgitate: v. (used with object), in·gur·gi·tat·ed, in·gur·gi·tat·ing.

to swallow greedily or in great quantity, as food.

to engulf; swallow up.

The floodwaters regurgitated trees and houses.

I’d heard of ingurgitate but until I started P.G. Wodehouse’s The Adventures of Sally. I wasn’t sure that he wasn’t making it up, but ingurgitate is indeed a word.

Word of the Week

I came across this word in Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove yesterday. I’m not thrilled with with this book, but since I’m reading it to discuss it with a friend I’m sticking with it. The sentence James uses.

brummagem: (n.) spurious; also : cheaply showy : tawdry

  • a bilious combination of brummagem melodrama and synthetic seascapesJohn McCarten
Reference
Brummagem. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brummagem