JRR Tolkien (1892-1973)
JRR ( John Ronald Reuel)Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist and academic. He was born on January 3rd 1893 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Hid dad, Arthur, was an English bank manager. His mum was called Mabel. His only brother, Hiliary was born in 1894.
When he was a child, JRR was bitten by a large tarantula which would have later parallels in his stories. In 1896, JRR, Hiliary and Mabel moved to Birmingham England, following the death of Arthur. JRR was converted to a Roman Catholicism in 1900. When Mabel died in 1904 from diabetes, the boys became wards of a Catholic priest. JRR went to King Edwards School and then Exeter College. At King Edwards, he formed the TCBS (Tea Club and Barrovian Society) with his friends. This was due to their fondness of drinking tea near the school. After they left King Edwards they remained in touch. They held “a council” in London in 1914 and this led to Tolkien’s desire to write poetry.
When JRR turned 21, he married his lifetime love, Edith Bratt. Edith gave birth to four children (John, Michael, Christopher and Priscilla).
He enlisted for the army when World War 1 broke out. He was shipped out to the Western front and took part in the Somme offensive. Almost all of his good friends were killed. When he contracted a typhus infection he was sent back to England for the rest of the war. After the war he was briefly on the staff of the New English Dictionary.
For most of his adult life, JRR taught English language and literature at the University of Leeds (1920-1925) and Oxford (1925-1959). During his time at these universities he produced a few scholarly publications in particular Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1925) and Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1936).
In his spare time, JRR would amuse himself by writing his own fantasy tales set in a world of his own. To entertain his children, he would write some fantasies for them. The longest and most important one was The Hobbit. The Hobbit came to the attention of the publishing firm of George Allen and Unwin in 1936. It was published in 1937 and became a classic. Due to this popularity, the publishing firm asked for a sequel. The result was the three part epic, The Lord of the Rings. The three parts (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King) were published in 1954 and 1955. It wasn’t a huge success when it was first published. However, it first became extremely popular when it was published in paperback in 1965.
Edith died on 29th November 1971. JRR died almost two years later on 2nd September 1973. Throughout his life he composed dozens of poems especially in the years 1910s to the 1960s. Some of them are longer than others. After his death, his son Christophe completed many of JRR’s work.
JRR Tolkien is one of the most celebrated writers of all time and is the father of high fantasy.