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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1882-1973)
Om Tolkiens liv og hans bøker.
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Better known as J.R.R. Tolkien or the writer of “The Lord of The Rings” was born in Bloemfontein, the capitol in the Orange-freestate (South Africa today) the 3. January 1892. His father Arthur Tolkien was a principal in a bank. Arthur’s fiancé Mabel Suffield came after him to the colonies, and they married in Cape Town in 1891. Because of drought in Africa and John’s bad health the John, Mabel and his brother Hilary Tolkien travelled to England and Birmingham where Mabel’s family lived. A year later John was better, but that didn’t help when they received a message that told that Sir Arthur Tolkien had died in November 1895 of rheumatic fever. The Next year’s John and Hilary lived happy in Sarehole outside Birmingham even though their father was dead.
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John learned to read when he was four years old, and once when he red a fairytale about a dragon he was inspired to write stories himself. He liked to learn languages except of French. In 1900 converted Mabel and her sister to be Catholics. Her family both on the Tolkien and Suffield side didn’t like that, and stopped their economical help to them. Mabel, John and Hilary moved twice before they settled in Edgbaston outside Birmingham. A spring later Mabel became sick and was put in a hospital, she had diabetes and left the hospital in the summer. Mabel died that autumn, when John was 12 years old. After that, Father Francis became his guardian. Father Francis had been a friend of the family for a long time, and now he moved to Birmingham. John was good at school and his big interest was languages. He studied Old English, middle age English, Old Norwegian, gothic and Spanish. He even developed own languages and histories for these. He also was member of the discussion group and the rugby team at the school.
After many tries he finally came in to Exeter College, Oxford. Here lived John an active life, and he started to write poems. In January 1913 John became imperious and he took up the contact with Edith at once. One year later they officially became engaged in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1915 he took the graduating exam in English with the best grade. After that he had to join the army because of the world war. John and Edith married in March 1916. A few months later he was sent to France in the trench war where to of his best friends from children school was killed. After four months in the trench he became sick and was sent home.
When he was in the hospital he started on a collection of book’s called The Book of Lost Tales. For John this was the start of something new, this was an attempt to make a mythology for England. He wanted to reconstruct something similar of what he appreciated in the Northern mythology. He had created own languages and continued developing these. The most important one’s where “Qenya” inspired by Finnish and “Goldogrin” inspired by Walsh.
John didn’t get so well that he was sent back to France, but came in the military in England again autumn 1917. In November the same year their first son was born. He was called up after his father and the father’s guardian and received the named John Francis Reuel Tolkien. In 1920 he became lecturer in English on the university in Leeds. That spring he got his second son Michael Tolkien. In 1924 he became professor and got his third son Christopher Tolkien. John was a good father and told them fairytales that he made up while he was telling them. He also continued whit he’s book “Books of lost tales”, but renamed it to Silmarillion. The story was changed several times and was partly changed to a poem.
In the beginning of 1925 John sent an application for a job in the university in Oxford as a professor in old English. As a surprise he got the job and the year after the family moved to Oxford. Four years later in 1929 they got a daughter who was called Priscilla Tolkien. On the University he became near friend with C.S. Lewis, the writer of the story of Narnia. They started a group where they should study literature called the Inklings. When he was Correcting Exam’s he wrote on an open page: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”. From this sentence came a story that he told to the children, and later to the Inklings. He also mixed it into the Silmarillion story that he had been writing on in 15 years at this time. He also started on a book called “The Hobbit” that came out in 1937.
Before Christmas that year he started on the follower, about Bilbo’s nephew Frodo. But the summer 1938 he was empty of ideas until he remembered that he could use the magic ring Bilbo found in “The Hobbit” as a subject. And after a little more writing he decided that the name of the book should be The Lord of The Rings. When the Second World War started in 1939 John’s generation was to old to be in the military so John instead used he’s literature to give the English people hope.
23 year’s after he had started writing the book about The Lord of The Rings, the first part came out in the shops. “The Lord of The Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring” (the first book in the trilogy) wasn’t well accepted by everyone, but those who liked it, loved it. The second book in the trilogy was “The Lord of The Rings; To Towers” didn’t meet many problems. “The Lord of The Rings; The Return of the King” came in 1955. That book changed he’s life. He became rich and famous at same time, and he’s first fee was at 3500£, more than a year pay at the university.
But John didn’t like to be famous, and have fans. The real breakthrough was when a cheap version of The Lord of The Rings came out in the states. In a short period of time one million specimen’s were sold, and in 1968 it was sold about tree million’s specimen’s.
In 1963 C. S. Lewis died, and that wasn’t easy for John. In 1968 Edith’s health wasn’t good and they moved to Bournemouth by the Coast. Tree years later she died 90 years old. Later John moved back to Oxford and bought an apartment by the university. He received attention and got several honour tittles, among others an honour price from the university of Oxford and The Order of the British Empire by Queen Elisabeth.
In 1973 John got sick, but after a while he got better and travelled to Bournemouth to visit old friends. While he was there he got sick again. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died Sunday 2. September in 1973 at the hospital in Bournemouth 91 years old. John lies berried at the catholic part of the Wolvercote cemetery in Oxford.
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