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Therapy Through Faёrie

Therapeutic Properties of Fantasy Literature by the Inklings and by U. K. Le Guin

Anna Cholewa-Purgal

This book argues that the fantasy fiction rooted in J. R. R. Tolkien’s concept of Faёrie, as represented by the fantasy works of the Inklings and of U. K. Le Guin, has certain psychotherapeutic properties. Faёrie’s generic ‘ethos’ seems to draw on ‘moral imagination’ and on logos (meaning and word), which informs its secondary worlds and encourages a search for an unconditional sense of life, against the postmodern neo-nihilistic aporia. The book postulates an applicability of logotherapy (‘therapy through meaning’, developed after WW2 by Victor Frankl,) to the workings of Faёrie, whose bibliotherapeutic potential rests on its generic marks, identified by Tolkien as Fantasy, Recovery, Escape (breaking free from incarcerating meaninglessness), Consolation, and (cathartic) Eucatastrophe.

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Chapter Two: Difficult relationships: Inklingsiana and the mainstream of modernism


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Chapter Two

Difficult relationships: Inklingsiana and the mainstream of modernism

The Inklings and modernism

It is impossible to approach the legacy of the Inklings, that is the body of the writings by the Inklings and about the Inklings, which I associate here with the term ‘Inklingsiana’, nor argue for its therapeutic dimension without a reference to their times, which coincided with the heyday of modernism and the beginnings of postmodernism in culture, and specifically in literature.1

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