Tuesday was JRR Tolkien’s 131st birthday. He is one of the most popular authors of all time, with both the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘The Hobbit’ having sold over 150 million copies of his. The book has been adapted into an Oscar-winning film, and his writings about the world of Middle-earth recently launched his successful Amazon Prime series, and fantasy by many authors in his genre. Cited as an inspiration.
To celebrate his birthday, here are facts about JRR Tolkien’s life that even the Hobbit might not know.
childhood and family life
- John Ronald Riel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892 in Bloemfontein, former Orange Free State, South Africa, the eldest of two sons born to Arthur Riel and Mabel Suffield Tolkien. . He was called Ronald by his family.
- When Tolkien was three years old, the family moved to Birmingham, England.
- Introduced to languages by his mother, Tolkien was taught the basics of Latin from an early age. In addition to English, he studied over 35 languages, including Middle English, Old English, Greek, French, Spanish, Finnish, German, Gothic, Old Norse, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh. .
- Tolkien and his mother weren’t the only language lovers. His cousins Mary and Marjorie Inckledon invented a language called “animal” which Tolkien taught when he was about ten years old. This was perhaps Tolkien’s first introduction to artificial languages, and he went on to construct many of the languages and dialects spoken in Middle-earth.
- Orphaned at the age of 12, Tolkien lost his father to rheumatic fever and his mother to diabetes. A Catholic priest became Tolkien’s legal guardian.
- While his mother was ill, the young Tolkien often stayed with his maternal aunt, Jane Neve, on a farm in Worcestershire called Bagend.
marriage and military life
- Tolkien married Edith Bratt in 1916. Edith inspired the characters of Lucientineviel from ‘The Silmarilion’ and Arwen Her Undomiel from ‘Lord of the Rings’. Edith’s tombstone bears the name of Luthien.
- He studied at Exeter College, Oxford, graduating in 1915 with first class honors in English and Literature, with Old Norse as a special subject.
- Tolkien served in the British Army during World War I. He reached the rank of lieutenant, served as a battalion signal officer, and worked frequently near the front lines. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, his one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Two of Tolkien’s two closest friends died during the battle. During the battle, he contracted trench fever and was sent home to England. In the spring of 1918, while still in the hospital, Tolkien received word that his entire battalion had been killed or taken prisoner at the Battle of Schmandedam. Although Tolkien made it clear that he disliked fables, he likened the dead swamps in the preface to The Lord of the Rings to northern France after the Battle of the Somme.
- While on duty, Tolkien developed a secret code to circumvent military censorship and tell Edith where he was.
- The first story Tolkien wrote was The Fall of Gondolin, written in 1917 on the back of a military march sheet music in a military barracks.
- His first civilian work was in the Oxford English Dictionary, addressing the origin and history of words beginning with W.
- In 1920 he went to Leeds University to teach English Literature and Languages. He taught classes in Old English Heroic Poetry, Germanic Philology, Old English Philology, Gothic, Old Icelandic, Medieval Welsh, and various Old English texts. He spent most of his academic career teaching at Oxford University.
- In addition to his own writings, Tolkien also translated older works. His translations of “Beowulf” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Horseman” are of particular importance. Tolkien’s 1936 lecture on Beowulf, later published as Beowulf: The Monster and the Critic, has influenced generations of scholars and literary critic Alvin A. Lee: I am writing to Despite being challenged on nearly every major point, it outperforms the reader on any other single study. ”
- The inspiration for “The Hobbit” came to Tolkien one day while he was grading a report, and he began telling tales of Middle-earth to young children as bedtime stories. Tolkien often had discrepancies in the details of his stories, and his children’s complaints caused him to write them down. They were unintentionally passed into the hands of the staff of publisher George Allen & Unwin by a family friend.His 10-year-old son, Rayner, of publisher Stanley Unwin gave the book a positive review. given, published in 1937.
- At the request of the publisher, he immediately began writing a sequel to The Hobbit. Not completed until 1949, the original manuscript totaled 9,250 pages. “The Lord of the Rings” was published as one of his novels in his three volumes from 1954 to his 1955, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” and “The Return of the King.” it was done. But he became popular on college campuses, especially in the 1960s and his 70s. “Frodo Lives” and “Gandalf for President” were popular graffiti his slogans in his hippie movement.
Other facts and trivia
- Tolkien was a close friend of C.S. Lewis, another member of Oxford’s Department of English Literature. They met at the Oxford pub The Eagle and Child as part of the writing group The Inklings. A frequently told story is that Lewis placed lampposts in “lions, witches and wardrobes.” This is because Tolkien said that a good fantasy story would never have a lamppost.
- Tolkien was a terrible driver and only had a driver’s license for a short time.
- He was so opposed to Hitler and the Nazi Party that in 1937 he considered banning the German translation of “The Hobbit.” In a later letter he wrote: 49 years older than I was 22 years old. To that ruddy little ignorant Adolf Hitler. … ruined, perverted, misused and forever cursed that noble northern spirit, the greatest contribution to Europe I have ever loved and sought to present in its true light. .
- According to the Chicago Tribune, Tolkien hated the Beatles and complained in letters about neighbors playing loud music.
- March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day.