J. R .R. Tolkien: A Biography – Humphrey Carpenter


In nearly 40 years since Tolkien’s death in September 1973, millions have read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion and become fascinated about the very private man behind the books. Born in Bloemfontein in January 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was orphaned in childhood, brought up in near-poverty and almost thwarted in adolescent romance.

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Tolkien’s first 25 years were quite eventful, with him losing both his parents by the time he was 12 years old, and then joining the British army to fight in the First World War 10 years later. He lost many close friends in the Battle of the Somme, which he survived due to falling ill days before the battle.

After the war, he returned to Oxford to teach languages. His passion for the subject led to him inventing his own languages and mythology, a project he began at a young age and was still working on when he died. It would also lead to him achieving worldwide fame as a writer, much to his surprise.

By: Calvin Scholtz, Wordsworth Longbeach


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