Eucatastrophe is a term coined by J.R. R. Tolkien in his essay “On Fairy Stories”* that refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story. It’s the part of the story that ensures the protagonist does not meet some terrible and very plausible doom. 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 plot.
On their website (www.theeuc.com) they explain that this is where the light invades the darkness so the hope and the joy of the Creator may be illuminated throughout all of creation. “The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of humanities’ history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends with joy.”
Because of our church name Istoria and our emphasis on story and restoration, I was pleased to stumble upon this new discovery. It ties in well with one of my past blogs FOUND HERE too!
*Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” was written in 1938 as an Andrew Lang Lecture. It was originally published in 1947, in a slightly longer form, in Essays presented to Charles Williams (a memorial volume collected by CS Lewis and published after Williams’ death in 1945). Later, it was published in hardcover, in tandem with the related short story, “Leaf by Niggle”, as Tree and Leaf, and in paperback as part of “The Tolkien Reader” in 1966.