Week 6: “On Fairy-Stories” and “The Letter to Milton Waldman”


  • How does Tolkien define and explain:
    • fantasy?
    • recovery, escape, consolation?
  • Why is “joy” an important part of defining “fairy-story”?
  • What does Tolkien mean when he says “The Gospels contain a fairy-story” (p. 387)?
  • How does “On Fairy-Stories” help us to understand Tolkien’s eucatastrophic rewritings … and The Hobbit?
  • Consider Tolkien’s “Letter to Milton Waldman” as well. This is essentially the author’s summary of The Silmarillion, which contains many of the legends that form the history of Middle-earth. How can understanding these “back stories” help us to understand The Hobbit?