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J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography

by Humphrey Carpenter

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.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

by J. R. R. Tolkien Humphrey Carpenter

This collection will entertain all who appreciate the art of masterful letter writing. The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien sheds much light on Tolkien's creative genius and grand design for the creation of a whole new world: Middle-earth. Featuring a radically expanded index, this volume provides a valuable research tool for all fans wishing to trace the evolution of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Tolkien: A Biography

by Humphrey Carpenter

Drawing on many sources, including friends, children and grandchildren, writings both published and unpublished by Professor Tolkien, Carpenter gives a detailed picture of the life of J. R. R. Tolkien, distinguished scholar and author most widely known for The Hobbit and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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