John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien, is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was an English writer who was born on January 3, 1892 in South Africa, but he grew up in England.
An artists depiction of "Old Man Willow" from the Lord of the Rings Song "Song of the Woods"
Both of his parents died when he was young. After his mother's death in 1904, Ronald and his brother Hilary went to live with a relative. Tolkien always showed an interest in language and literature, and he studied at Exeter College in Oxford. It was there that he published his first poem in 1913 in Exeter College's Stapeldon Magazine.
He completed his degree in 1915. When he enlisted in the military to serve during World War I, he wrote the poem "Goblin Feet" for Edith Bratt, who would soon become his wife.
Tolkien went on to teach at Oxford University. It was during this time that The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (1954-1955) were published. After retiring in 1959, Tolkien published a poetry collection, Tree and Leaf.
Tolkien made a lasting impression on his readers and the world of literature. The fascination with other worlds continues to live on today.
He passed away on September 2, 1973 at the age of 81. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher worked on publishing his unfinished manuscripts.
Interesting Facts about J. R. R. Tolkien:
- Tolkien was known as "Robert" to his family and friends.
- He served during World War I, and married Edith Bratt in 1916 before he was shipped out.
- He contracted an infection while in the trenches during WWI.
- Tolkien created his own languages.
- The Hobbit was born from a note he wrote on a student's paper: "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." He created more than 100 drawings that went along with the story.
- Lord of the Rings was partially inspired by European myths.
- Tolkien disliked paperbacks. A paperback edition of Lord of the Rings was not authorized by him, but it was published anyway. The availability of a paperback edition went over very well with the public.
- The BBC performed a 12 episode radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
- He had 4 children.
- He helped to draft the Oxford English Dictionary.