A great English poet, writer, and academic, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien famously known as J. R. R. Tolkien, was born on the 3rd of January in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. His father, Arthur Reuel Tolkien, was a banker, while his mother, Mabel, was a homemaker. Since childhood, he showed a great interest in reading and writing; at four, he learned to read and write fluently. Recognizing his son’s interest and talent, his mother also helped him polish his abilities. She introduced him to books, reading, and languages at an early age and encouraged him to explore natural wonders, leading him to step into the world of botany. Besides possessing these abilities, he was good at drawing and he enjoyed drawing the natural wonders in his leisure time.
After having an initial grounding in studies at home, Tolkien started his formal education at Exeter College, specializing in classic literature, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon languages. Later, he attended Exeter College, Oxford, and King Edward’s School in Birmingham, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1916. During the same time, the war broke out in the continent, leading him to play his role in a commission in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He survived one of the most challenging battles, the Battle of the Somme, and returned to England after having gone through the sufferings due to trench fever.
Tolkien was only sixteen when he met and developed a love for Edith Mary Bratt, three years senior to him. Unfortunately, his infatuation faced restrictions when his guardian disapproved of his love for the lady and imposed a condition that he had to wait until his 21st birthday to marry Edith. However, they formally married on 22nd of March in 1916 at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, Warwick, and their union produced four children.
Some Important Facts about Him
- The Lord of the Rings has been translated into twenty-five languages and had sold one hundred million copies worldwide.
- After WWI, he helped write the English dictionary, which was started in 187. He primarily focused on the Germanic words beginning with “W” discovering their origin and etymology.
- He mastered many languages such as German, French, Greek, Middle English, Gothic, Spanish, and Italian.
- He was ranked at 92 on the BBC Network’s 100 Greatest Britons in 2002.
- He was given the Commander of the British Empire’s Order by the Queen for his services to literature.
After returning from WWI, Tolkien started his first job as a researcher and contributed his linguistic abilities to The Oxford English Dictionary. His academic writing began with Sir Gawain’s translation including his famous essays “The Monsters and the Critics”, “On Fairy-Stories”, and “Beowulf.” His first award-winning fantasy novel, The Hobbit, appeared in 1937, featuring the tiny, furry-footed Bilbo Baggins and his spectacular adventures. The ancient European myths and folktales highly inspired Tolkien as he shows it in his next work The Lord of the Rings, which comprises the combination of those myths with additional representation of lore, maps, and languages. His other successful publications include The Fellowship of the Ring, The Return of the King, Tree and Leaf, and the fantasy tale Smith of Wootton Major.
Tolkien has mesmerized generations with his unique, elegant, and old-fashioned writing approach, showing influences of Irish Mythology, Catholicism, Gaelic myths, Biblical History, and WW I and II. He demonstrates his powerful imagination and unique creative approach through simple yet effective and persuasive language. To make his writing different from others, he has poetic elements. Regarding literary devices, he turns toward imagery, rhetorical devices, symbolism, foreshadowing, and metaphors. Some of his major thematic strands are fantasy, war, and good versus evil, pride and courage, death and immortality, and fate versus free will.
Some Important Works of J. R. R. Tolkien
Best Works: Some of his best works include The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book, Tree and Leaf, Bilbo’s Last Song, Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth, The War of the Ring and The Fall of Gondolin.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s Impact on Future Literature
As he was a scholar with exceptional intellect and wit, it has won him a niche in the literary world. His high-fantasy works, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, cast a singular shadow over entertainment and fantasy literature. Even after years of the author’s death, the books continue to enjoy the same popularity and prestige. Also, his impressive stories have inspired various films, dramas, and a huge fan club worldwide. He documented his ideas so well that still, young writers tend to seek guidance from his remarkable literary efforts.
- “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.” So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
- “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
- “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
- “The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” (The Fellowship of the Ring)