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Friday, April 11, 2008

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was a South African born English philologist, writer and university professor, best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language (Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon) from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a devout Roman Catholic. Tolkien was a close friend of C. S. Lewis; they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

In addition to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's son Christopher Tolkien published several works based heavily on his father's notes, these include The Silmarillion and others, which taken together is a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth (derived from the Old English word middangeard, the lands inhabitable by humans) in particular, loosely identified as an "alternative" remote past of our own world. Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the totality of these writings.

While other authors such as William Morris, George MacDonald, Robert E. Howard and E. R. Eddison published fantasy works before Tolkien, the great success and enduring influence of his works have led to him being popularly identified as the "father of modern fantasy literature", usually with high fantasy in mind. Some, such as L. Sprague de Camp, opine the title must be specifically shared with Howard, of Conan the Barbarian fame, as he pioneered a different fantasy subgenre, sword and sorcery. In any case, Tolkien has had an indisputable and lasting effect on later works, as well as on the genre as a whole.

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Posted by Bookworm at 10:38 AM |

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