Tolkien Historian Of Middleearth

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Tolkien Historian of Middleearth

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is remembered for his imaginative writings and the lasting creation of Middle-earth world. However, he was also a great scholar and linguist, holding the position of the Rawlingson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. His writings owe much of its power to his ocean of knowledge about European languages and a deep understanding and appreciation of the art of storytelling and myths. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages and many millions of copies have been sold worldwide ("Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel").
Tolkien was born in the Orange Free State, in what is now South Africa, on January 3, 1892. However, his mother brought him home to England when he was four, and after his father's death his family made their home in rural Sarehole, then on the edge of the industrial city, Brimingham (Rosebury 80-137).
When Tolkien was only twelve, his mother passed away, leaving him and his brother in the care of Father Francis Xavier Morgan. Father Morgan was a very strong moral influence on young Tolkien and provided him with loving support though to his years in college ("J.R.R. Tolkien" 145-146). Tolkien received a very good high school education at King Edward VI School, one of the finest schools in England at the time. From there he went up to Oxford, where he studied English at Exeter College, gaining him first class honors (Rosebury 80-137).
At the age of twenty-one, Tolkien proposed to his childhood sweetheart, Edith Bratt, although it was against the wishes of Father Morgan, who objected to him marring someone three years older than himself ("J.R.R. Tolkien" 145-146). However, the two were unable to web for a few years because Tolkien was drafted to fight in World War I. During the war he served in the Lancashire Fusiliers as an officer, and survived the Somme, though many of his close friends and colleagues died (Rosebury 80- 137). His respect for the common solder under the great stress of war shows through in his later writings, where the Hobbits show strength in Mordor, previously unseen by themselves or others (Tolkien, The Return 191-262).
After the war he got a job, working at the New English Dictionary, but in 1920 he was appointed reader in English at Leeds University. Four years later he was promoted to Professor, which is the highest academic rank in British universities (Moseley 18-79). It was this time that he started writing. At this stage he thought of his tales as being a new mythology for England. These early works, which laid the basis for his later works, are now published as "The Book of Lost Tales"(Rosebury 80-137).
In 1925 he was elected to the Professorship at Oxford. There he specialized in Philology, the study of words, and was among the most accomplished scholars in his field (Rosebury 80- 137). His love of words led him to work on a series of languages for the Elves of Middle-earth. Though out his lifetime this obsession drove him to produce fourteen languages and he also showed how these languages developed over the course of history of Middle-earth (Chance 7-13). Tolkien said that the one of the first alphabets, called Tengwar, became very popular because it was a very flexible writing system that was easily adapted by the many different races of Middle-earth for use with their languages. The main flaw of this language was that it was very difficult to inscribe onto metal, stone or wood. This led to the creation of Cirth, a similar alphabet but with simpler characters made with strait lines. Tolkien often signed his work with " [email protected]@O8bael/u} ", which translates into his name (Smith Vers. 1.1).
Over the course of the next few years Tolkien wrote four books for each of his four children. Of these, "The Hobbit" is the best known and was eventually published in 1937. Stanley Unwin, the publisher asked for a sequel but Tolkien was skeptical of a sequel's success (Chance 7-13). He felt as if his work would only be enjoyed by a small minority and was surprised with his previous success. Once he began though he became very involved with the book. Unfortunately World War II intervened, and slowed the process down considerably, taking a total of twelve years to complete. The book blossomed into more than a sequel, being not a bok for children, but a great saga for adults, "The Lord of the Rings"(Rosebury 80-137). At the time of its first publication the book received mixed reviews. It was not until the late 60's and early 70's that Tolkien's popularity increased dramatically with the official release of the "Lord of the Rings" in the United States. During this time, there was an international emergence of "Tolkien cults," which

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