mooreeffoc

pronunciation | moor-‘Ef-ok (moor-EEF-ock)
from Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” | Mooreeffoc is a fantastic word… It is Coffee-room, viewed from the inside through a glass door… [It] may cause you suddenly to realize that England is an utterly alien land, lost either in some remote past age glimpsed by history, or in some strange dim future to be reached only by a time-machine; to see the amazing oddity and interest of its inhabitants and their customs and feeding-habits.

captainaragorn asked:

I have to ask, you know, because it keeps bugging me: why is your blogtitle 'coffeeroom' backwards? <3

Hi ♥♥

And yeah Moreffooc is just Coffee room backwards but it has an interesting story in my opinion.

Short Answer: It’s a word used by Chesterton to denote the queerness of things that have become trite, when they are seen suddenly from a new angle.

Long Answer:

Moreffooc  was first mentioned by Charles Dickens in his own autobiography.  One time he was walking past this coofee shop he used to visit everyday, and  looked up at the glass sign from the inside and saw moor eeffoc. Of course, he attributed profound significance to this apparently insignificant realization,  and he related it to our ability to gain new perspective on familiar things that have become boring because of time or use.

GK Chesterton rescued the invented term in an essay (referring to  Dickens), saying that the best fiction (or fantasy) relies on  the new perspectives we can find on ordinary stuff.

Tolkien mentioned it  again in “On fairy Stories” (highly recommend it)  and continued saying that familiar things  are the hardest to view from different points,  for we gain a sense of possession about them due to frequent contact.

He applied the term to his own writing,  saying that Fantasy  should be seen as a way to renovate  and refresh our “real” world. According to him, it’s thanks to Fantasy that we can appreciate and find  the awesomeness of “real life”.

And you can see a lot of this idea (and his love for simple things, hobbits and happiness, blah blah), on Tolkien’s writing!  

And I love the idea of Fantasy and fiction as a way to re-discover the world and all the things that are on it.

I hope this wasn’t too long I got excited sorry.

Thanks for asking!

 

Mooreeffoc


“Herein is the whole secret of that eerie realism with which Dickens could always vitalize some dark or dull corner of London. There are details in the Dickens descriptions - a window, or a railing, or the keyhole of a door - which he endows with demoniac life. The things seem more actual than things really are. Indeed, that degree of realism does not exist in reality: it is the unbearable realism of a dream. And this kind of realism can only be gained by walking dreamily in a place; it cannot be gained by walking observantly. Dickens himself has given a perfect instance of how these nightmare minutiae grew upon him in his trance of abstraction. He mentions among the coffee-shops into which he crept in those wretched days one in St. Martin’s Lane, "of which I only recollect that it stood near the church, and that in the door there was an oval glass plate with ‘COFFEE ROOM’ painted on it, addressed towards the street. If I ever find myself in a very different kind of coffee-room now, but where there is such an inscription on glass, and read it backwards on the wrong side, MOOR EEFFOC (as I often used to do then in a dismal reverie), a shock goes through my blood”. That wild word, “Moor Eeffoc, "is the motto of all effective realism; it is the masterpiece of the good realistic principle - the principle that the most fantastic thing of all is often the precise fact. And that elvish kind of realism Dickens adopted everywhere. His world was alive with inanimate objects”

Charles Dickens: A Critical Study by G. K. Chesterton. New York, Dodd, Mead & Company (1906).

“As a literary critic, Chesterton was without parallel. His biography of Charles Dickens is credited with sparking the Dickens revival in London in the early 20th century. His biography of St. Thomas Aquinas was called the best book on St. Thomas ever written, by no less than Etienne Gilson, the 20th century’s greatest Thomistic scholar. His books Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man are considered the 20th century’s finest works of Christian and Catholic apologetics. And audiences still delight in the adventures of Chesterton’s priest sleuth, Father Brown, as well as such timeless novels as The Man Who Was Thursday, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, and others”

“Of course, fairy-stories are not the only means of recovery, or prophylactic against loss. Humility is enough. And there is (especially for the humble) Mooreeffoc, or Chestertonian Fantasy. Mooreeffoc is a fantastic word, but it could be seen written up in every town in this land. It is Coffee-room, viewed from the inside through a glass door, as it was seen by Dickens on a dark London day; and it was used by Chesterton to denote the queerness of things that have become trite, when they are seen suddenly from a new angle. That kind of "fantasy” most people would allow to be wholesome enough; and it can never lack for material. But it has, I think, only a limited power; for the reason that recovery of freshness of vision is its only virtue. The word Mooreeffoc may cause you suddenly to realize that England is an utterly alien land, lost either in some remote past age glimpsed by history, or in some strange dim future to be reached only by a time-machine; to see the amazing oddity and interest of its inhabitants and their customs and feeding-habits; but it cannot do more than that: act as a time-telescope focused on one spot. Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else (make something new), may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you. The “fantastic” elements in verse and prose of other kinds, even when only decorative or occasional, help in this release. But not so thoroughly as a fairy-story, a thing built on or about Fantasy, of which Fantasy is the core. Fantasy is made out of the Primary World, but a good craftsman loves his material, and has a knowledge and feeling for clay, stone and wood which only the art of making can give"

Tree and Leaf by J. R. R. Tolkien, George Allen and Unwin (1975).

Mooreeffoc is a fantastic word, but it could be seen written up in every town in this land. It is Coffee-room, viewed from the inside through a glass door, as it was seen by Dickens on a dark London day; and it was used by Chesterton to denote the queerness of things that have become trite, when they are seen suddenly from a new angle.
—  Tolkien