John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
(Text: Courtesy of HarperCollins, Picture: Courtesy of Wikipedia )
|J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world. He is best known as the creator of Middle-earth and author of the classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. His books are translated into over 40 languages and have sold many millions of copies world-wide. He was awarded a CBE, and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died in 1973 at the age of 81.|
Having just read the biography by Humphrey Carpenter, I would like to add a few notes of interest:
- His parents called him Ronald.
- He learned his first Latin and Greek at his mothers knee before the age of eight.
- While a student he added several more languages to his list: French, Spanish, German, Anglo-Saxon(Old English), Middle English, Old Norse(Icelandic), Gothic, Welsh, and just a bit of Finnish.
- In WWI he was a Battalion Signalling Officer fought in the Battle of the Somme(*), but he was only in France for six months then he was hospitalized in England with 'trench fever'. While in the hospital he started writing the start of the Lost Tales(precusor of the Silmarillion). -- DtC
(*During the first onslaught Tolkien did not actually participate in the action. The first strike was the largest gathering of artillery in the history of the world at the time. The only problem was that the English had the wrong type of artillery shells and basically the strike had little effect. The British would have used tanks but the stretch in front of the two camps was muddy and every attempt to utilize tanks in the battle failed. Nearly everyone on the English side was killed, but luckily on that day Tolkien was in the Reserve Battalion and he didn't see action that day.)