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J.R.R. Tolkien

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J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) gained a reputation during the 1960’s and 1970’s as a cult figure among youths disillusioned with war and the technological age. His continuing popularity evidences his ability to evoke the oppressive realities of modern life while drawing audiences into a fantasy world.

John Ronald Reuel was born on the third of January, 1892, at Bloemfontein, South Africa, where his father, Arthur, had taken a position with the Bank of Africa. In 1895 Tolkien’s mother, Mabel Suffield, moved back to England with her children, because Tolkien‘s health was affected by the climate. Arthur Tolkien hoped to return to England soon, but he contracted rheumatic fever the following autumn and died early in 1896. After a few months of living with her parents, Mabel Tolkien rented a cottage on the edge of Birmingham, and from then until her death in 1904, she and here two sons lived in rented houses on the edges of the city. After her death, Mabel Tolkien’s parish priest, Father Francis Morgan, took responsibility for the upbringing and education of her sons.

Tolkien’s only means of escape from a lower-middle-class commercial life was winning an academic scholarship, which, with some difficulty, he did in 1910, gaining entrance to Exeter College, Oxford. In 1908 Tolkien fell in love with Edith Bratt, an orphan like himself. In 1910 Father Morgan forbade him to communicate with her until he was of age, to which Tolkien obeyed. At Oxford he began studying classics but soon concentrated on English language and literature, being awarded first-class honors in his final examination in 1915. He revisited Edith Bratt five days after his twenty-first birthday, and they were formally betrothed in 1914 when, at Tol...

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...t hot desert, to England, rolling grassy hills, seemed to open his mind. One of the main reasons he wrote was to entertain his children. He told them about his world. And only a small majority of his stories got published(Kroeber 521).

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) gained a reputation during the 1960’s and 1970’s as a cult figure among youths disillusioned with war and the technological age. His continuing popularity evidences his ability to evoke the oppressive realities of modern life while drawing audiences into a fantasy world.

Works Cited

Byers, Paula K. Ed. “J.R.R. Tolkien”. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gake Research, 1998. 259-260

Grotta, Daniel. J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth. Philadelphia: Courage Books, 1992. 123-135.

Kroeber, Karl. “J.R.R. Tolkien”. British Writers. Ed. George Stade, New York: Gale Research, 1980. 519-521
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