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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (December 1892 – September 22, 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and scholar who is best known as the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxony and Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, 1951-59.
He was once a close friend of C.S. Lewis, and they were both members of the Inklings, an informal literary discussion group.
On March 28, 1972, Tolkien was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Christopher, Tolkien's son, published a series of pieces based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion.
These, along with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a cohesive body of stories, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary studies about a fantasy world within.
Tolkien used the term legendarium to describe a substantial portion of these books from 1951 to 1955, though many other writers had published fantasy works before Tolkien, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings' success contributed to the genre's revival.
Tolkien has been dubbed the "father" of modern fantasy literature — or, more specifically, of high fantasy.
The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 best British writers since 1945" in 2008.
In 2009, Forbes rated him as the fifth top-earning "dead celebrity" in the fifth category.
Academic and writing career
Tolkien was demobilized and left the army on November 3, 1920, but he retained his rank of lieutenant. My first civilian job after World War II was at the Oxford English Dictionary, where he concentrated on the history and etymology of words of Germanic origins, beginning with the letter W. In 1920, he began writing at the University of Leeds, becoming the youngest member of the university's academic staff. W. V. Gordon and A Middle English Vocabulary and a definitive version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; both became academic standard works for many decades when he lived in Leeds. Sir Gawain, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo were both translated by him. With a fellowship at Pembroke College, he returned to Oxford in 1925 as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxony.
He began tutoring undergraduates privately, most notable those of Lady Margaret Hall and St Hugh's College, recognizing that the women's colleges were in dire need of good teachers in their early years, and that Tolkien as a bachelor professor (which was never widespread) was considered suitable.
When living at 20 Northmoor Road in North Oxford, Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings at Pembroke College. Following Sir Mortimer Wheeler's discovery of a Roman Asclepeion at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, in 1928, he wrote a philological essay on the name "Nodens" in 1932.
Tolkien undertook a Beowulf translation in the 1920s, but did not publish it. It was finally edited by his son and published in 2014, more than 40 years after Tolkien's death and nearly 90 years after its completion.
Tolkien delivered a highly praised lecture on the subject, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics," which had a long influence on Beowulf research ten years after finishing his translation. Lewis E. Nicholson said the essay is "widely recognized as a turning point in Beowulfian scholarship," noting that Tolkien established the primacy of the work rather than simply linguistic components. At the time, scholarship had criticized Beowulf for dealing with boyish wars with monsters rather than realistic tribal warfare; Tolkien argued that Beowulf's authorship was general rather than restricted by specific ethnic politics; therefore, the monsters were important to the story. Beowulf does deal with specific ethnic groups, as Tolkien, Tolkien, a strong against reading in fantastic parts. Tolkien's essay also included how highly he esteemed Beowulf: "Beowulf is one of my most coveted sources"; his Middle-earth legendarium may have echoed this influence.
Tolkien began his series of lectures on Beowulf in a most bizarre manner, crepting the audience with a look, and then claiming in Old English the poem's opening lines, prompting "with a great cry of Hw." It was a dramatic impersonation of an Anglo-Saxon bard in a mead hall, and it made the students realize that Beowulf was not limited text but rather "a striking piece of dramatic poetry." W. H. Auden wrote to his former teacher, thanking him for the "unforgettable pleasure" of hearing him recite Beowulf and saying, "the voice was the voice of Gandalf" decades later.
Tolkien was regarded as a codebreaker in the run-up to the Second World War. In January 1939, he was invited to work in the Foreign Office's cryptographic branch in the event of a national emergency. He took an instructional course at the Government Code and Cypher School's London headquarters, which began on March 27th. In October, he was told that his services would not be needed.
Tolkien began in 1945 at Merton College, Oxford, becoming the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, a position in which he remained until his retirement in 1959. For many years, he served as an external examiner at University College, Galway (now NUI Galway). Tolkien earned an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland in 1954 (of which University College, Galway, was a constituent college). In 1948, Tolkien completed The Lord of the Rings, almost ten years since the first sketches were drawn.
The Tolkien had four children: John Francis Tolkien (17 November 1917 – 20 January 2003), Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (21 November 1924 – 26 February 2020), and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien (18 June 1929 – 28 February 2022). When they were younger, Tolkien was very dedicated to his children and sent them illustrated letters from Father Christmas.
Tolkien's career in retirement, from 1959 to his death in 1973, he has steadily drew increasing public notice and literary renown. In 1961, C. S. Lewis nominated him for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His books were so successful that he regretted that he did not choose early retirement. He regrets his conversion to a cult figure in a 1972 letter, but added that "even the nose of a very modest idol... would not be untickled by the sweet smell of incense."
Tolkien had to delete his phone number from the public directory, and the two men and Edith then moved to Bournemouth, which was then a seaside resort that was favored by the British upper middle class. Tolkien's status as a best-selling author made them welcome into polite society, but Tolkien's company, the Inklings, was very lacking. Edith, on the other hand, was overjoyed to step into the role of a society hostess, which had been the reason why Tolkien picked Bournemouth in the first place. Ronald and Edith's genuine and deep love for each other was shown by their concern about each other's wellbeing, including wrapping presents, in the generous way she gave up her Oxford life to return to Bournemouth and her pride in her her as a well-known author. They were bonded together by their love for their children and grandchildren.
Tolkien, a scholar and translator who appeared in The Jerusalem Bible in 1966, was a consultant and translator in his retirement. He was initially assigned a larger amount to translate, but after other commitments, he only managed to include some critiques of other contributors and a translation of the Book of Jonah.
Edith died on November 29, 1971, at the age of 82. Ronald returned to Oxford, where Merton College gave him convenient accommodation near the High Street. Edith was missed, but he loved being back in the city.
In the 1972 New Year Honours, Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was given the Order's insignia at Buckingham Palace. In the same year, Oxford University gave him an honorary Doctorate of Letters.
On Edith's tombstone at Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford, he had the name Luthien [sic] engraved. Tolkien died 21 months later from a bleeding ulcer and chest infection at the age of 81, he was buried in the same cemetery as "Beren" was added to his name. Tolkien's will was established on December 20, 1973, valuing his estate at £190,577 (equivalent to £2,452,000 in 2021).
Both Tolkien's academic career and literary output are inseparable due to his love of language and philology. At university, he specialized in English philology and later graduated with Old Norse as his special interest. He appeared on the Oxford English Dictionary from 1918, and he was credited with a variety of words beginning with the letter W, including walrus, for which he suffered a lot. He was a Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds in 1920, where he was praised for increasing the number of students of linguistics from five to twenty. He taught Old English heroic verse, history of English, several Old English and Middle English books, Old and Middle English philology, Gothic, Old Icelandic, and Medieval Welsh. Tolkien's 1936, aged thirty-three, applied for the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship at Pembroke College, Oxford, and boasted that his students of Germanic philology at Pembroke College, Oxford, had even established a "Viking Club." He had a general, albeit imperfect, knowledge of Finnish.
Tolkien's privates were attracted to "things of racial and linguistic importance" in his 1955 lecture English and Welsh, which is crucial to his analysis of race and language, as opposed to the "cradle-tongue" in which a person first learns to talk. "I am a West Midlands dialect of Middle English," he wrote to W. H. Auden in 1955, "I am a West-midlander by blood (and took the West Midlands Middle English as a native tongue as soon as I set eyes on it)."
He used to make languages, similar to Tolkien's academic career as a philologist and at times superseding this work, so his academic output remained rather poor. Quenya and Sindarin are the most developed of these, the etymological link between which formed the etymological link that formed the etymological link that formed the basis of much of Tolkien's legend. Tolkien's language and grammar were a matter of aesthetics and euphony, and Quenya in particular was designed as a "Elven-latin" and was based on Latin, with ingredients from Finnish, Welsh, English, and Greek; it was intended as a "noble" device, and was primarily based on Latin; Quenya was intended as a "ethnic" factor. Adûnaic or Nmenean, a word with a "faintly Semitic flavor" associated with Tolkien's Atlantis legend, was introduced as part of the legend, and "Economic Age" and the history of his Middle-earth gave us a glimpse of Tolkien's 20th-century "real primary world" with the legend's legendary history.
Tolkien thought that languages were inseparable from the mythology associated with them, and that "Volapük, Esperanto, Ido, Novial, &c, &c are dead, far deader than ancient unused languages"; but that by 1956, they had arrived at the conclusion that "Volapük, Esperanto, Ido, &c;
Tolkien's books have had a small but lasting effect on the use of language in fantasy literature, in particular, and even on standard dictionaries, which have continued to endorse Tolkien's idiosyncratic spellings dwarves and dwarfish, which had not existed since the mid-19th century and earlier. (In fact, Tolkien claims that if the Old English plural had survived, it would have been either dwarrows or dwerrows.) He also coined the term eucatastrophe, but it is mainly used in connection with his own conduct.