Perspectives on Fairy-Story: Tolkien, Lewis, MacDonald, Chesterton & Clark

“The peculiar quality of the ‘joy’ in successful Fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a ‘consolation’ for the sorrow of this world; but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, ‘Is it true?’” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

A lovely piece by Becca Tarnas:

Becca Segall Tarnas

“The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” – J.R.R. Tolkien[1]

With these words J.R.R. Tolkien introduces his readers to Faërie, a realm encountered by means of Imagination, the domain of fairy-story. But what are fairy-stories? Often they have been construed as short tales written for children, of little weight or importance in the world of adult matters, yet this simplifying definition is addressed and overturned by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, and Stephen Clark in five separate essays written in defense of fairy-story. From different angles, but much the same perspective, these five writers address law and morality, fantasy and reality, Imagination and Truth, as they are brought…

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