Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fairy Tale Romance - Introduction

Part 1 of 5
Two Lovers in Hyde Park in London. Boy do they love each other!
Why do we tell Fairy Tales? And especially, why do we tell romantic Fairy Tales? JRR Tolkien gives us part of the answer in one of his essays:

Far more powerful and poignant is the effect [of joy] in a serious tale of Faerie. In such stories, when the sudden turn comes, we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart's desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through.

This is what he would describe as a ‘eucatastrophe.’ Tolkien argued that this was the unifying theme of Fairy Tales, and what he in his own tale, sought to achieve. Tolkien’s idea was this eucatastrophe lets us get a glimpse at true Reality, the Christian idea of all things coming together for good in the end. But what about one particular kind of fairy tale: what about the Fairy Tale Romance? What is a Fairy Tale Romance? Does the idea still linger in our hearts? And if we knew what it was, would we have any reason to believe in it after we have become grown-ups?

These will be the questions I’ll wrestle with in this series of posts. The second will explore several opinions on romantic love. The third will discuss what we’ve done modernly to the concept. In the fourth, I’ll give some recommendations; but I’m hesitant to post these because I’m not sure I’m right. Nevertheless, I will so that I can be critiqued. It very well may be that I’m wrong in all four posts. This should rustle some feathers, and I hope that the rustling will teach you something, and that you will also teach me.

1. 21/21 days; 2. 270/270 minutes; 3. 3/3 weeks

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