Biography of Author
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (called Ronald by his family and friends) was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontain, South Africa. His parents had moved there from England so that his father, Arthur, could work for the Bank of Africa. Ronald lost both parents while still young--Arthur died in Africa in 1896, after the rest of the family had returned to England; Ronald's mother, Mabel, died in 1904 near Birmingham, England. Ronald and his younger brother Hilary came under the care of Father Francis Morgan, a friend of the family. Soon, however, Ronald went off to King Edwards School and then to Oxford University.
Tolkien went to Oxford for a degree in English language and literature. He developed skills in philology, the study of languages. Spending a lot of his time studying Old English, Anglo-Saxon, and Welsh poetry, he began to develop a language of his own--the language that would base language for the world of Middle-Earth in his novels.
By 1916, Tolkien had received his degree and married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Bratt. He eventually became a teacher at Oxford; by 1929, he had his fourth child with Edith. During these years, he also began his great mythology of Middle-Earth, The Silmarillion. Out of these stories came The Hobbit (1937), his first published book of fiction, this was a success and led to a sequel.
From 1945 to 1959, Tolkien continued to teach at Oxford and wrote the sequel to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings. It was published in three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and The Return of the King (1955). Even though the trilogy brought Tolkien fame, Tolkien continued work on The Silmarillion and other tales and led a quiet life. Tolkien died on September 2,