A renowned scholar of the English language, Tolkien is today celebrated as the father of the high fantasy genre. Drawing on his knowledge of languages, mythology and legend, he created an entire alternative reality, Middle Earth, and populated it with hobbits, orcs, ents, dragons, magicians and giant spiders.
Packed with fascinating facts about Tolkien’s life and labours, this delightful volume includes extracts from his works, letters and interviews, as well as from his contemporaries and admirers. It’s a celebration of the writer whose imagination and creative genius changed the course of fantasy literature.
‘I would rather spend one lifetime with you, than face all the ages of this world alone.’
The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
‘I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking…’
Tolkien in a letter to Deborah Webster, 25 October 1958
In July 1915, Tolkien took part in the Somme offensive, the bloodiest battle of the Great War. While recovering in hospital from trench fever, he wrote his first Elvish word list, as well as the first fragments of what would become The Silmarillion.
The inspiration for The Hobbit came to Tolkien unexpectedly in the summer of 1930, while he was working his way through a huge stack of student essays. On a blank page he found himself scrawling, ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’