J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of Worlds - ReadScholars

J.R.R. Tolkien Author of Worlds - ReadScholars

J.R.R. Tolkien's Childhood


Born January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Moved back to England at the age of three due to his mother's decision. At the age of four, Tolkien moved to the rural hamlet of Sarehole, which inspired his imaginary land of Hobbits. Homeschooled by his mother initially, he developed a passion for languages and showed exceptional academic abilities. Attended King Edward's School in Birmingham, where he excelled in mastering various ancient and modern languages, including his own made-up languages.


Tolkien's Family and Fatherhood


Tolkien's son Christopher later published Lúthien and Beren as a chapter of the saga, The Silmarillion. Tolkien and his wife Edith had four children: John Francis, Michael Hilary, Christopher John, and Priscilla Mary Anne. Tolkien was a devoted father and would make up fanciful stories for his children.

Letters from Father Christmas

From 1920 to 1942, Tolkien would illustrate letters to his children during Christmas time, introducing new characters each year. Three years after Tolkien's death, these stories were published as Letters from Father Christmas by the Tolkien estate.


Tolkien's Experience in World War I


Initially, Tolkien did not join the British military when the war broke out, believing he had little physical courage. He enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and was sent to the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme. Tolkien witnessed the horrors of trench fighting and lived in unsanitary conditions, leading to him contracting trench fever. Tolkien's first-hand experience in the war influenced his writing and gave him a sense of awareness.


Tolkien's Influence on Academia


After his time at Leeds, Tolkien received a professorship at Oxford, where he was influential despite publishing few scholarly articles. One of Tolkien's lectures, "Beowulf, the Monsters and the Critics," altered the modern study of the Old English epic tale Beowulf. Tolkien formed a close friendship with C.S. Lewis, and they would meet regularly with other authors as part of "The Inklings" group.


The Birth of The Hobbit


While grading exam papers, Tolkien wrote down the phrase "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" without much thought. This sparked his curiosity about hobbits and led him to create a tale to share with his children and The Inklings. An incomplete copy of The Hobbit ended up in the hands of a publishing employee, who convinced Tolkien to finish it. The Hobbit was published in 1937 and became an immediate hit, selling over 100 million copies worldwide since then.


The Hobbit: A Long Tale with Complex Characters


The Hobbit is a very long tale, filled with poetry and rich descriptions of Middle-earth and its characters. Unlike other children's fiction, The Hobbit does not have a central child figure for young readers to easily identify with. However, the protagonist Bilbo Baggins, although "only a little hobbit," acts as a surrogate child in the story.


Influence of The Hobbit and Depth of Emotion


The Hobbit had a profound influence on fantasy writers who came after Tolkien. The world-building and complex characters in The Hobbit have influenced countless other fantasy worlds. Examples of this can be seen in the death of Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo's internal struggles to do what is right.


Tolkien's Other Works and Publications


Tolkien wrote a number of other articles and essays during his lifetime. He presented portions of The Silmarillion, including incomplete stories of Lúthien and Beren, to Stanley Unwin but they were not commercially publishable. After the letdown, Tolkien quickly embarked on writing the follow-up, to The Hobbit, which eventually evolved into The Lord of the Rings. Additionally, Tolkien's repertoire comprises The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as his contributions, in editing and translating Middle English literature.


The Success and Legacy of Tolkien


Tolkien's incredible contributions, to the fantasy genre continue to ignite inspiration making him a revered and respected figure in literature. His imaginative characters and enchanting settings have even influenced the naming of streets, businesses, mountains, flora, and objects. In recognition of his talent, Tolkien has been honored with awards such as being appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and receiving the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Furthermore, his remarkable works, like The Lord of the Rings have successfully made their way onto both small screens through captivating film adaptations and television series.


Writing Career of J.R.R. Tolkien


He started writing a story that eventually turned into "The Hobbit" as a tale to tell his kids before bed.  Tolkien's richly inventive epic tale series, "The Lord of the Rings," was written in bits and pieces and sent as letters to his kids.

Tolkien's Expertise and Contribution to Fantasy Literature

Tolkien gained recognition for his captivating tales of fantasy and earned the title of the pioneer of contemporary fantasy literature. His areas of expertise included Old English poetical literature and mythology. Inspired by early Germanic fictional histories, fantasy writings, and constructed languages, Tolkien became a pioneer in the genre of fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien's renowned series, "The Lord of the Rings " has captivated readers across the globe with its storytelling. Translated into, over 25 languages this epic saga is widely regarded as one of the love stories of the century.


Tolkien's Academic and Professional Career


Tolkien attended King Edward School and later St. Phillips School for his education. He initially pursued a degree, in classics, at Exeter College, Oxford. However, he later decided to switch his focus and delve into the study of English language and literature. Tolkien graduated with first-class honors in 1915. During his time, at the Oxford English Dictionary, he held the position of a lexicographer. Subsequently, he became a reader, in the English language at the University of Leeds. Throughout his journey, Tolkien authored publications, which encompassed a Middle English vocabulary and an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


Reception and Legacy of Tolkien's Works


Tolkien's literary creations, such, as "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit " have garnered acclaim and widespread popularity. "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy was adapted into award-winning blockbuster movies by Hollywood director Peter Jackson. Tolkien's writings have been honored with accolades and acknowledgments including degrees, the prestigious Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and notable rankings, in lists featuring the greatest authors. He is remembered as one of the greatest British writers since 1945 and has a dedicated professorship and reading day in his name.

Blue plaques were inducted across four cities in England

Seven blue plaques have been inducted across four cities in England to mark J.R.R. Tolkien's association. The cities where the blue plaques are located are Birmingham, Bournemouth, Leeds, and Oxford.

J.R.R. Tolkien works


Here are J.R.R. Tolkien's major works:

1. The Hobbit (1937)

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy:

   a. The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

   b. The Two Towers (1954)

   c. The Return of the King (1955)

3. The Silmarillion (1977)

4. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth (1980)

5. The Children of Húrin (2007)

6. The History of Middle-earth (12-volume series, published between 1983 and 1996)

7. The Fall of Gondolin (2018)

8. Beren and Lúthien (2017)

9. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981)



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