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The authorized biography of the creator of Middle-earth. In the decades since his death in September 1973, millions have read THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and THE SILMARILLION and become fascinated about the very private man behind the books. Born in South Africa in January 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was orphaned in childhood and brought up in near-poverty. He served in the first World War, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost many of the closest friends he'd ever had. After the war he returned to the academic life, achieving high repute as a scholar and university teacher, eventually becoming Merton Professor of English at Oxford where he was a close friend of C. S. Lewis and the other writers known as The Inklings. Then suddenly his life changed dramatically. One day while grading essay papers he found himself writing 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' -- and worldwide renown awaited him. Humphrey Carpenter was given unrestricted access to all Tolkien's papers, and interviewed his friends and family. From these sources he follows the long and painful process of creation that produced THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION and offers a wealth of information about the life and work of the twentieth century's most cherished author.
'. . . If you wanted to go on from the end of The Hobbit I think the ring would be your inevitable choice as the link. If then you wanted a large tale, the Ring would at once acquire a capital letter; and the Dark Lord would immediately appear. As he did, unasked, on the hearth at Bag End as soon as I came to that point. So the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner of the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo did. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. ' -- J. R. R. Tolkien to W. H. Auden, June 7, 1955 J. R. R. Tolkien, cherished author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was one of the twentieth century's most prolific letter writers. Over the years he wrote a mass of letters -- to his publishers, his family, to friends, and to fans of his books -- which record the history and composition of his works and his reaction to subsequent events. By turns thoughtful, impish, scholarly, impassioned, playful, vigorous, and gentle, Tolkien poured his heart and mind into a great stream of correspondence to intimate friends and unknown admirers all over the world. From this collection one sees a mind of immense complexity and many layers -- artistic, religious, charmingly eccentric, sentimental, and ultimately brilliant. Now newly expanded with a detailed index, this collection provides an invaluable record that sheds much light on Tolkien's creative genius, his thoughts and feelings about his own work, and the evolution of his grand design for the creation of a whole new world -- Middle-earth.
Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was one of the 20th century's most prolific letter writers. Over the years he wrote a mass of correspondence - to his publishers, his family, friends and fans of his books - which records the history and composition of his works and his reaction to subsequent events. By turns thoughtful, impish, scholarly, impassioned, playful, vigorous, and gentle, Tolkien poured his heart and mind into a great stream of letters to intimate friends and unknown admirers all over the world. From this collection one sees a mind of immense complexity and many layers - artistic, religious, charmingly eccentric, sentimental, and ultimately brilliant.
Drawing on many sources, including friends, children and grandchildren, writings both published and unpublished by Professor Tolkien, Carpenter gives a detailed picture of the life of J. R. R. Tolkien, distinguished scholar and author most widely known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He describes his childhood in South Africa, the years at King Edward's school in Birmingham, his meeting and romance with his future wife, Edith Bratt, his undergraduate years at Oxford, and experiences in World War I. In subsequent chapters, Carpenter describes Tolkien's work on the New English dictionary, his brief tenure at Leeds University and return to Oxford as Professor of Anglo-Saxon and later of English Language and Literature until his retirement in 1959. The author discusses his collaborations with various colleagues on academic works and his writing of many imaginative stories for his children and his own amusement, including The Hobbit. Carpenter describes Tolkien's close friendship with C. S. Lewis and the circumstances that later lead to its waning. He relates the lengthy history of the writing of The Lord of the rings and its complicated publishing history. Finally, he discusses the success of the book and how it affected Tolkien's life. The book ends with a chronology of events, a complete list of the published works of Tolkien up to 1977, a simplified genealogical chart and an index.
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