These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings , form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it. Between and , Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre.
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This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy. In , The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since ". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning "dead celebrity" in He was born in Bloemfontein , South Africa but his parents were both from England.
Tolkien was very interested in languages , and he had studied at Oxford University. Soon he became a professor of English Language at the University of Leeds. He was then a professor at the University of Oxford until , when he retired. He also was good friends with many other writers and scholars, most notably C. Tolkien himself was a devout Catholic. They had four children, three sons and a girl: John, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla. He created and worked on the fictional fantasy world of Middle-earth for most of his life, and his most famous books are set in that world.
Because of his Middle-earth books he is often considered the "father of high fantasy" which made the fantasy genre very popular. Tolkien wrote other books, for example Farmer Giles Of Ham , and also illustrated drew the pictures and maps for The Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings was published in three parts and has been made into several motion pictures. The Lord of the Rings took 12 years to write. The Lord of the Rings became immensely popular in the s and has remained so ever since, ranking as one of the most popular works of fiction of the 20th century, judged by both sales and reader surveys.
In a poll of Amazon. His popularity is not limited to the English-speaking world: in a poll inspired by the UK's "Big Read" survey, about , Germans found The Lord of the Rings to be their favourite work of literature. Edith Tolkien died on 29 November , at the age of When Tolkien died 21 months later on 2 September from a bleeding ulcer and chest infection, at the age of 81, he was buried in the same grave, with Beren added to his name.
Tolkien and the characters and places from his works have become the namesake of various things around the World.
These include street names, mountains, companies, species of animals and plants as well as other notable objects. By convention, certain classes of features on Saturn's moon Titan are named after elements from Middle-earth. In , he took a First in English at Oxford, an accomplishment that assured him of a professional academic position.
Edith and Tolkien were married in March , and in June, he joined the war in France. He was engaged in active combat at the front, and several of his school friends were among the catastrophic losses the British suffered. In November, he was sent back to England to recover from trench fever; he suffered a relapse and was never sent back to France. During his convalescence, Tolkien — who had been writing poetry in imitation of Old and Middle English verse for some time — began writing the work that was eventually published in as The Silmarillion.
The Tolkiens' first child, John, was born in November A year later, Tolkien took a job as a researcher for the ambitious Oxford English Dictionary project, and the Tolkiens moved to Oxford.
In the course of that work, he was recognized as being highly knowledgeable in linguistics. At this time, he also did private tutoring to earn extra money.
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Gordon, with whom he collaborated on an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight published The Tolkiens' second child, Michael, was born and their third, Christopher, in In , Tolkien was appointed Professor of the English Language at Leeds, although he was considered very young for the position. In the same year, he was hired as Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford.
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter
The Tolkiens moved back to Oxford, where their youngest child, Priscilla, was born in Tolkien spent the rest of his professional life at Oxford. He lived an exceedingly ordinary existence, absorbed in the joys and frustrations of family life and engaged in the intellectual concerns of the academic profession.
He rarely traveled, but entertained his young children with stories of fantasy lands often told in invented languages. He was fond of plain English clothes and plain English food, and he valued the beauty of the English countryside. At Oxford, he formed a very close friendship with writers C. Lewis and Charles Williams; they became known as the Inklings and, with other writers and Oxford faculty, spent much time together in the discussion of literary and religious issues. The Inklings and his own family were the first audience for Tolkien's tales and poems as well as his academic work.
The friendship with C. Lewis was especially significant, and Tolkien was doubtless an influence in Lewis's conversion to Christianity and the composition of his series, The Chronicles of Narnia. The origin of The Hobbit is almost a fantasy story in itself.
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Tolkien graded School Certificate exams in the summers to supplement his rather meager faculty salary. It was boring work, and one day, finding a blank page in one of the exam booklets, he wrote impulsively, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. In the early s, he began to write down much of what he had been telling his children in an effort to integrate it with his more intellectual interest in mythology, and it became the book that is now known as The Hobbit.
To a remarkable degree, the tale of the hobbit does constitute a kind of mythology of the English people, whose history Tolkien knew well as a scholar and as an Englishman of his generation. He once said, "I've always been impressed that we are here, surviving, because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds.
The Hobbit was quite successful as a children's book, and for the next twelve years, Tolkien worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy in an effort to create an epic-scale context for the adventures recounted in The Hobbit.