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from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A catastrophe (dramatic event leading to plot resolution) that results in the protagonist's well-being.


eu- +‎ catastrophe, coined by J R R Tolkien. (Wiktionary)



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  • I encountered this word in a recent piece of genre fiction; I have been unable to find any mainstream (dictionary)definitions for it. I did find the following:

    From The Urban Dictionary:
    "The sudden joyous turn, not an ending, but the moment we get a glimpse of joy. A moment that passes outside the frame rends indeed the very web of story and lets a gleam come through, a gleam of revelation from outside the narrative."

    Word created by J.R.R Tolkien and first used in his fantasy saga, 'the Lord of the Rings'.
    The arrival of Him in her life turned out to be a eucatastrophic event

    From Wikipedia:

    Eucatastrophe is a term coined by J. R. R. Tolkien which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which result in the protagonist's well-being. He formed the word by affixing the Greek prefix eu, meaning good, to catastrophe, the word traditionally used in classically-inspired literary criticism to refer to the "unraveling" or conclusion of a drama's plot. For Tolkien, the term appears to have had a thematic meaning that went beyond its implied meaning in terms of form. In his definition as outlined in his 1947 essay On Fairy-Stories, eucatastrophe is a fundamental part of his conception of mythopoeia. Though Tolkien's interest is in myth, it is also connected to the gospels; Tolkien calls the Incarnation the eucatastrophe of "human history" and the Resurrection the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation.

    June 16, 2009