J.R.R. Tolkein

J. R. R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel) is most well known for his creation of Middle Earth and all its denizens in his novels The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and Return of the King (1955)), The Hobbit (1937), and The Silmarillion (1977).

Most of the pictures on a Google images search have him smoking a pipe, so variations of these pictures will appear for your viewing pleasure.

Tolkien was born on on January 3, 1892, and died September 2, 1973. He is often called the "father of high fantasy" because of the huge success his books enjoyed, and that success is in no way diminished in modern day. Tolkien was born in South Africa and moved to England when he was 3. His father died, and his mother became responsible for the small family. She converted to Catholicism (much to the horror of her Baptist family) and died of diabetes in 1904 when Tolkien was 12. He was a staunch Catholic, and believed she was a martyr for her faith. Later in life he converted C.S. Lewis to Christianity, and was most annoyed that Lewis became an Anglican rather than a Catholic. 

Tolkien was brought up by Father Francis Xavier Morgan after his orphanhood. He was surrounded by art and religion and these may have influenced his writings in later life. Tolkien met his future wife, Edith Bratt when he was 16 but was forbidden to speak or write to her until he was 21 by Father Francis. They married in 1916, after Edith broke off a previous engagement in favour of Tolkien. 

Tolkien graduated from the University of Oxford in 1915 with a degree in English language, first-class. He joined the British Army and was a second lieutenant in World War One. Many of his comrades and friends were killed, and Tolkien began work on the Elven languages, as well as on The Book of Lost Tales. Tolkien contracted trench fever and was relocated to back to England in 1916. 

After the war Tolkien worked for the Oxford English Dictionary, and was made a professor at the University of Leeds in 1920. He moved to Oxford in 1925. The Hobbit, and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings were written in 1928, and the last volume was completed in 1948. Tolkien was also influential in research/academic writing on Beowulf. 

Tolkien was a part of an informal literary group known as the Inklings. This group existed from the early 1930s until 1949. It included many well-known names in literature, as well as high-brow academic figures of the time, including C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Hugo Dyson, Adam Fox and Tolkien's son Christopher. 

Tolkien and Edith had four children, and his works, letters and notes were compiled and published post-humously by Christopher, his son. 

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