About J. R. R. Tolkien
By Cathy Richey
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, a very talented writer, is famous for
his works in the literary genre of fantasy. All his books are
masterpieces, and many having read them once, want to read them
again and again. Warm-hearted and exciting adventure stories,
involving people, elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, wizards, and, of
course, hobbits are in Tolkien’s writings.
He was a philologist and professor at Oxford University. He knew
many ancient and modern languages.
Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892 at Bloemfontein in the
Orange Free State. When he was four years old his mother, Marry
Suffield, and his younger brother Hilary, went to England. At that
time his father was ill and soon died of rheumatic fever. After his
father’s death the family lived at Sarehole, on the southeastern
edge of Birmingham. Ronald spent his childhood there, and later
scenes and events from this area would be depicted in his pictures
Another tragic event occurred when J.R.R. Tolkien was 12 – the
death of his mother who died of diabetes. He and his brother Hilary
became wards of a priest at the Birmingham Oratory. The boys
attended King Edward’s School in Birmingham. At school Ronald was
interested in Classic as well as Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. At
that time he began to develop his talent by creating his own
languages with grammar and history. Tolkien was First in English
Language and Literature at Exeter College.
J.R.R. Tolkien was married to Edith Bratt. He had known her since
they had both lived in the same house in Birmingham. Ronald loved
Edith and continued to do so despite being forbidden by Father
Morgan to contact her when he studied at college. Considering that
it would ruin Ronald’s career, Father Morgan would not give his
consent to an early marriage.
Tolkien was commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and
participated in the battle of the Somme. After the war he obtained a
post on the New English Dictionary, and began to write the
mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called “The
Book of Lost Tales” but eventually became known as “The Silmarillion”.
Tolkien was appointed as Reader in the English Language at the
University of Leeds. Among the students he was famous for his strong
and popular teaching. Then Professor Tolkien was elected to continue
work at Oxford, as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon. He taught Anglo-Saxon
and English right up until his retirement in 1959. Many of the world
scientists thought that Tolkien had been one of the most gifted and
By that time, the Tolkien’s family consisted of four children
(three sons and a daughter) and more than anything father liked to
tell his children about mythical beings – elves, hobbits, etc. At
first the stories were simply fairy tales. And the first book, which
made him famous worldwide, “the Hobbit” (published in 1937) was
written in the genre of a fairy tale. The book was a huge success
and the public wished for a sequel. So, the popular trilogy “the
Lord of the Rings” was born.
After retiring, Tolkien and his wife lived first in the
Headington area of Oxford, then moved to Bournemouth. His wife died
in 1971 and after that Tolkien decided to return to Oxford.
He was diagnosed as having a bleeding gastric ulcer, and despite
some reassuring reports died on September 2nd 1973, aged 81. Tolkien
and his wife are buried together in a single grave in the Catholic
section of Wolvercote cemetery in the northern suburbs of Oxford.