account
username:
password:

search


ad
 
J. R. R. Tolkien
Born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, on January 3, 1892, as the son of English-born parents in Bloemfontein, in the Orange Free State of South Africa, where his father worked as a bank manager. To escape the heat and dust of southern Africa and to better guard the delicate health of Ronald (as he was called), Tolkien's mother moved back to England with him and his younger brother when they were very young boys. Within a year of this move their father, Arthur Tolkien, died in Bloemfontein, and a few years later the boys' mother died as well. The boys lodged at several homes from 1905 until 1911, when Ronald entered Exeter College, Oxford. Tolkien received his B.A. from Oxford in 1915 and an M.A. in 1919. During the interim, he married his longtime sweetheart, Edith Bratt, and served for a short time on the Western Front with the Lancashire Fusiliers. The couple eventually had four children. While in England recovering from "trench fever" in 1917, Tolkien began writing "The Book of Lost Tales," which eventually became The Silmarillion (1977) and laid the groundwork for his stories about Middle-earth. After the Armistice he returned to Oxford, where he joined the staff of The Oxford English Dictionary and began work as a freelance tutor. In 1920, he was appointed Reader in English Language at Leeds University, where he collaborated with E. V. Gordon on an acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was completed and published in 1925. (Some years later, Tolkien completed a second translation of this poem, which was published posthumously.) The following year, having returned to Oxford as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien became friends with a fellow of Magdalen College, C. S. Lewis. They shared an intense enthusiasm for the myths, sagas, and languages of northern Europe; and to better enhance those interests, both attended meetings of "The Coalbiters," an Oxford club, founded by Tolkien, at which Icelandic sagas were read aloud. During the rest of his years at Oxford—20 as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, 14 as Merton Professor of English Language and Literature—Tolkien published several esteemed short studies and translations. Notable among these are his essays "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" (1936), "Chaucer as a Philologist: The Reeve's Tale" (1934), and "On Fairy-Stories" (1947); his scholarly edition of Ancrene Wisse (1962); and his translations of three medieval poems: "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," "Pearl," and "Sir Orfeo" (1975). As a writer of imaginative literature, though, Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, tales which were formed during his years attending meetings of "The Inklings," an informal gathering of like-minded friends and fellow dons, initiated after the demise of The Coalbiters. The Inklings, which was formed during the late 1930s and lasted until the late 1940s, was a weekly meeting held in Lewis's sitting-room at Magdalen, at which works-in-progress were read aloud and discussed and critiqued by the attendees, all interspersed with free-flowing conversation about literature and other topics. The nucleus of the group was Tolkien, Lewis, and Lewis's friend, novelist Charles Williams; other participants, who attended irregularly, included Lewis's brother Warren, Nevill Coghill, H. V. D. Dyson, Owen Barfield, and others. The common thread that bound them was that they were all adherents of Christianity and all had a love of story. Having heard Tolkien's first hobbit story read aloud at a meeting of the Inklings, Lewis urged Tolkien to publish The Hobbit, which appeared in 1937. A major portion of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the trilogy, was also read to The Inklings before the group disbanded in the late 1940's. Tolkien retired from his professorship in 1959. While the unauthorized publication of an American edition of The Lord of the Rings in 1965 angered him, it also made him a widely admired cult figure in the United States, especially among high school and college students. Uncomfortable with this status, he and his wife lived quietly in Bournemouth for several years, until Edith's death in 1971. In the remaining two years of his life, Tolkien returned to Oxford, where he was made an honorary fellow of Merton College and awarded a doctorate of letters. He was at the height of his fame as a scholarly and imaginative writer when he died in 1973, though critical study of his fiction continues and has increased in the years since. The continuing popularity of Tolkien’s work, especially The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings evidences his ability to evoke the oppressive realities of modern life while drawing audiences into a fantasy world.

Books by this author

Hobbit or There and back again, The
Lord Of The Rings, The
Silmarillion, The
Book of Lost Tales 1, The
Hobbit, The
Lord Of The Rings, The
Hobbit, De
In de ban van de Ring, I - De reisgenoten
In de ban van de Ring, II - De twee torens
In de ban van de Ring, III - De terugkeer van de koning
Fellowship of the Ring, The
Two Towers, The
Return of the King, The
 
comments
You need to be logged in to comment. Don't have an account yet? Sign up!