Authors J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

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Son of a businessman, John Ronald Reuel was born in South Africa, but moved to England with his mother while still a baby. His mother died when he was twelve and at sixteen he went to live with a couple who took in boarders. Later, one of those boarders, Edith, would become his wife. Many of his stories started out as tales told to his young sons.

Tolkien occupied two chairs at Oxford as Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature for more than a decade. He was recognized as an authority of Old and Middle English and received honorary doctorates from University College, Dublin and Liege in 1954. Oxford University awarded him an honorary doctorate for philology in 1972. If anyone deserved to create a new language and a new world, it was Tolkien.

When "The Hobbit" was pubished in 1938, the New York Herald Tribune awarded it a prize as the best book published for young children. In less than six weeks, the first edtion had sold out completely. His later works, "The Lord of the Rings," are known as the "greatest fantasy epic of all time."

He is also listed in the Canon of English Literature and in 1972 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

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