Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tolkien on Escapism in "On Fairy Stories"

Arguably one of the greatest authors of Fantasy Fiction there is is J.R.R. Tolkien, who has quiet a lot to say about Fantasy itself and the way it is viewed as escapism. 

 One thing he does not agree with when Fantasy and Escapism are discussed is the sense of pity and scorn that comes with the term escape and the misuse of this word, as well as the misuse of the "real world" phrase that often is paired with a discussion of fairy worlds.  Tolkien often closely links "escapism" and consolation.

"But there are also other and more profound “escapisms” that have always appeared in fairytale and legend. There are other things more grim and terrible to fly from than the noise,stench,ruthlessness, and extravagance of the internal combustion engine. 
There are hunger,thirst,poverty, pain, sorrow, injustice, death. And even when men are not facing hard thing such as these, there are ancient limitations from which fairy-stories offer a sort of escape, and
old ambitions and desires (touching the very roots of fantasy) to which they offer a kind of satisfaction and consolation."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, "On Fairy Stories"
 Here is a link to the full essay, it really is worth the read!

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