who is Tolkien

Discussion in 'J.R.R. Tolkien / Lord of the Rings' started by LOrD MNQ, May 17, 2009.

  1. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    who is Tolkien?

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (pronounced /ˈtɒlkiːn/[1]) (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

    Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959.[2] He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

    After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. 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 an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth[3] within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings.[4]

    While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien,[5] the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature[6]—or more precisely, high fantasy.[7] Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[8]
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  2. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    Tolkien family origins

    Most of Tolkien's paternal ancestors were craftsmen. The Tolkien family had its roots in the German Kingdom of Saxony, but had been living in England since the 18th century, becoming "quickly and intensely English".[9] The surname Tolkien is said to be an Anglicized form of Tollkiehn (i.e. German tollkühn, "foolhardy", etymologically corresponding to English dull-keen, literally oxymoron), and the surname Rashbold, given to two characters in Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers, is similarly a compound word composed of two words with contrasting meanings.[10] German writers have suggested that in reality, the name is more likely to derive from the village Tolkynen in Rastenburg in East Prussia (after WWII Tołkiny, Poland). The name of that place is ultimately of Baltic origin.[11][12]

    Tolkien's maternal grandparents, John and Edith Jane Suffield, were Baptists who lived in Birmingham and owned a shop in the city centre. The Suffield family had run various businesses out of the same building, called Lamb House, since the early 1800s. From 1810 Tolkien's great-great grandfather William Suffield had a book and stationery shop there; Tolkien's great-grandfather, also John Suffield, was there from 1826 with a drapery and hosiery business.[13]
     
  3. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    Childhood

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892, in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free State Province, part of South Africa) to Arthur Reuel Tolkien (1857–1896), an English bank manager, and his wife Mabel, née Suffield (1870–1904). The couple had left England when Arthur was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank he worked for. Tolkien had one sibling, his younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel, who was born on 17 February 1894.[14]

    As a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider (a type of tarantula) in the garden, an event which would have later echoes in his stories. In another incident, a family house-boy, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning.[15]

    When he was three, Tolkien went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit. His father, however, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them.[16] This left the family without an income, so Tolkien's mother took him to live with her parents in Stirling Road, Birmingham. Soon after, in 1896, they moved to Sarehole (now in Hall Green), then a Worcestershire village, later annexed to Birmingham.[17] He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent Hills and Malvern Hills, which would later inspire scenes in his books, along with other Worcestershire towns and villages such as Bromsgrove, Alcester, and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt's farm of Bag End, the name of which would be used in his fiction.[18]

    Mabel tutored her two sons, and Ronald, as he was known in the family, was a keen pupil.[19] She taught him a great deal of botany, and awakened in her son the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. Young Tolkien liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, and his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin very early.[20] He could read by the age of four, and could write fluently soon afterwards. His mother allowed him to read many books. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper, and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was amusing but disturbing. He liked stories about "Red Indians" and the fantasy works by George MacDonald.[21] In addition, the "Fairy Books" of Andrew Lang were particularly important to him and their influence is apparent in some of his later writings.[22]

    Tolkien attended King Edward's School, Birmingham and, while a student there, helped "line the route" for the coronation parade of King George V, being posted just outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.[23] He later attended St. Philip's School, before winning a Foundation Scholarship and returning to King Edward's School.

    Mabel Tolkien was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1900 despite vehement protests by her Baptist family,[24] who then stopped all financial assistance to her. She died of acute complications of diabetes in 1904, when Tolkien was 12, at Fern Cottage in Rednal, which they were then renting. Mabel Tolkien was then about 34 years of age, about as long as a person with diabetes mellitus type 1 could live with no treatment—insulin would not be discovered until two decades later. For the rest of his own life Tolkien felt that his mother had become a martyr for her faith. This feeling had a profound effect on his own Catholic beliefs.[25]

    Prior to her death, Mabel Tolkien had assigned the guardianship of her sons to Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory, who was assigned to bring them up as good Catholics. Tolkien grew up in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. He lived there in the shadow of Perrott's Folly and the Victorian tower of Edgbaston Waterworks, which may have influenced the images of the dark towers within his works.[26][27] Another strong influence was the romantic medievalist paintings of Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood[28]; the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has a large and world-renowned collection of works and had put it on free public display from around 1908.
     
  4. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    Youth

    In 1911, while they were at King Edward's School, Birmingham, Tolkien and three friends, Rob Gilson, Geoffrey Smith and Christopher Wiseman, formed a semi-secret society which they called "the T.C.B.S.", the initials standing for "Tea Club and Barrovian Society", alluding to their fondness for drinking tea in Barrow's Stores near the school and, illicitly, in the school library.[29] After leaving school, the members stayed in touch, and in December 1914, they held a "Council" in London, at Wiseman's home. For Tolkien, the result of this meeting was a strong dedication to writing poetry.

    In the summer of 1911, Tolkien went on holiday in Switzerland, a trip that he recollects vividly in a 1968 letter,[23] noting that Bilbo's journey across the Misty Mountains ("including the glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods") is directly based on his adventures as their party of 12 hiked from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, and on to camp in the moraines beyond Mürren. Fifty-seven years later, Tolkien remembered his regret at leaving the view of the eternal snows of Jungfrau and Silberhorn ("the Silvertine (Celebdil) of my dreams"). They went across the Kleine Scheidegg on to Grindelwald and across the Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen. They continued across the Grimsel Pass and through the upper Valais to Brig, and on to the Aletsch glacier and Zermatt.[30]

    In October of the same year, Tolkien began studying at Exeter College, Oxford. He initially studied Classics but changed to English Language, graduating in 1915.
     
  5. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    Courtship and marriage

    At the age of 16, Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt, who was three years older, when J. R. R. and Hilary Tolkien moved into the same boarding house. According to Humphrey Carpenter:

    Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. ...With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.[31]

    His guardian, Father Francis Morgan, viewing Edith as a distraction from Tolkien's school work and horrified that his young charge was seriously involved with a Protestant girl, prohibited him from meeting, talking, or even corresponding with her until he was twenty-one. He obeyed this prohibition to the letter,[32] with one notable early exception which made Father Morgan threaten to cut short his University career if he did not stop.[33]

    On the evening of his twenty-first birthday, Tolkien wrote to Edith a declaration of his love and asked her to marry him. Edith replied saying that she had already agreed to marry another man, but that she had done so because she had believed Tolkien had forgotten her. The two met up and beneath a railway viaduct renewed their love; Edith returned her engagement ring and announced that she was marrying Tolkien instead.[34] Following their engagement Edith converted to Catholicism at Tolkien's insistence.[35] They were formally engaged in Birmingham, in January 1913, and married in Warwick, England, at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church on 22 March 1916.[36]
     
  6. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    The Silmarillion

    Tolkien wrote a brief "Sketch of the Mythology" of which the tales of Beren and Lúthien and of Túrin were part, and that sketch eventually evolved into the Quenta Silmarillion, an epic history that Tolkien started three times but never published. Tolkien hoped to publish it along with The Lord of the Rings, but publishers (both Allen & Unwin and Collins) got cold feet; moreover printing costs were very high in the post-war years, leading to The Lord of the Rings being published in three books.[120] The story of this continuous redrafting is told in the posthumous series The History of Middle-earth, which was edited by Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien. From around 1936, he began to extend this framework to include the tale of The Fall of Númenor, which was inspired by the legend of Atlantis.
     
  7. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    Children's books and other short works

    In addition to his mythopoetic compositions, Tolkien enjoyed inventing fantasy stories to entertain his children.[121] He wrote annual Christmas letters from Father Christmas for them, building up a series of short stories (later compiled and published as The Father Christmas Letters). Other stories included Mr. Bliss and Roverandom (for children), and Leaf by Niggle (part of Tree and Leaf), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, On Fairy-Stories, Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major, like The Hobbit, borrowed ideas from his legendarium.
     
  8. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    The Hobbit

    Tolkien never expected his stories to become popular, but by sheer accident a book he had written some years before for his own children, called The Hobbit, came in 1936 to the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm George Allen & Unwin, who persuaded him to submit it for publication.[68] However, the book attracted adult readers as well, and it became popular enough for the publishers to ask Tolkien to work on a sequel.
     
  9. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    The Lord of the Rings


    Even though he felt uninspired on the topic, this request prompted Tolkien to begin what would become his most famous work: the epic three-volume novel The Lord of the Rings (published 1954–55). Tolkien spent more than ten years writing the primary narrative and appendices for The Lord of the Rings, during which time he received the constant support of the Inklings, in particular his closest friend Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set against the background of The Silmarillion, but in a time long after it.

    Tolkien at first intended The Lord of the Rings to be a children's tale in the style of The Hobbit, but it quickly grew darker and more serious in the writing.[122] Though a direct sequel to The Hobbit, it addressed an older audience, drawing on the immense back story of Beleriand that Tolkien had constructed in previous years, and which eventually saw posthumous publication in The Silmarillion and other volumes. Tolkien's influence weighs heavily on the fantasy genre that grew up after the success of The Lord of the Rings.

    The Lord of the Rings became immensely popular in the 1960s 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.[123] In the 2003 "Big Read" survey conducted by the BBC, The Lord of the Rings was found to be the "Nation's Best-loved Book". Australians voted The Lord of the Rings "My Favourite Book" in a 2004 survey conducted by the Australian ABC.[124] In a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers, The Lord of the Rings was judged to be their favourite "book of the millennium".[125] In 2002 Tolkien was voted the 92nd "greatest Briton" in a poll conducted by the BBC, and in 2004 he was voted 35th in the SABC3's Great South Africans, the only person to appear in both lists. His popularity is not limited to the English-speaking world: in a 2004 poll inspired by the UK's "Big Read" survey, about 250,000 Germans found The Lord of the Rings to be their favourite work of literature.[126]
     
  10. LOrD MNQ

    LOrD MNQ New Member

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    The end​




    Sources: wikipedia
     
  11. edinayks

    edinayks New Member

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    Wouldnt it have been easier to just put the wiki link up copypasta man?
    Or in reality people who cared about this topic would just look it up themselves, dont you think?
    And that font is horrible.
    Dont take it to heart.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    witness the autobot in action - most likly someone testing out a bot for copy/pasting data into forums.
    Once perfected it can take a souce document and copy/paste for spam/advertising etc...

    A nice innocent start here with a thread that might not get deleted because its semi valid probably shows the user hit several forums and didn't have time to check them all whilst hte program ran - possibly.
     
  13. Normf

    Normf Death 'n' Roll

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    Don't worry i'll send my minions to destroy it!
     
  14. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    Wow all this hard-to-find information that I need in one place, and in a really clear crisp font too...

    Amazing, thank you so much :rolleyes:
     
  15. Normf

    Normf Death 'n' Roll

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    It is like he was trying to make it hard to read on purpose.
     
  16. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

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    Thank you, LOrD MNQ. As an ardent fantasy fan, I'd never even heard of this Tolkien character. Obviously his work is not widely read or been turned into a major international movie franchise. If it wasn't for your diligence, this obscure writer would probably have slipped under everyone's radar. However can I thank you for bringing him to our attention?