J. R. R. Tolkien Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1892 - 1973 *** Full Name: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien *** Occupation: English Writer, Poet, University Professor and Philologist *** Date of Birth: J. R. R. Tolkien was born on January 3rd 1892 *** Place of Birth: J. R. R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State in South Africa *** Family background: His father was Arthur Reule Tolkien and his mother was Mabel Suffield. His father was an English bank manager who would be promoted to manage the bank in South Africa *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with a younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel. When he was just three years old his mother took both him and his younger brother on what was supposed to be a visit only back to England but when his father died of rheumatic before they returned his mother was forced to remain in England and moved herself and her children in with his parents as she had no income *** Education: J. R. R. Tolkien together with his brother were educated by their mother at home. Ronald could read by the time he was four years old and he was a very keen young botanist and became very fond of drawing trees and landscapes but his real passion was language. He would later attend King Edward’s School in Birmingham followed by St Philip’s School ***
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 1: J. R. R. Tolkien was born on January 3rd 1892 and during the late 19th century period in history when great strides were made in the industrial revolution, the Victoria era was coming to a close and there were vast technological advances being made and many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 2: He was hugely fond of his Aunt Jane and was overjoyed when able to visit her farm, Bag End, which would become a prominent place in his novels.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 3: He loved to read and as a child enjoyed such stories as those of “Red Indians” and stories by George McDonald as well as “Fairy Books” by Andrew Lang which in later years would prove crucial to his own work.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 4: When he was just a boy of twelve years he mother, who had diabetes mellitus type 1, died aged thirty four years. As yet insulin had not been discovered and would not be for a further two decades.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 5: His mother, a very astute women, had not only become a Roman Catholic several years before her death, but had also the foresight to leave guardianship of her beloved sons to that of Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory who had been tasked with bringing up her sons as good Catholic boys.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 6: At the very tender age of sixteen Ronald met Edith Mary Bratt three years his senior and they immediately became friends.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 7: However his studies suffered and his adopted father forbade him from having any contact whatsoever until was twenty one. Reluctantly he agreed.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 8: Not without complications the pair met up as soon as Ronald was twenty one and became engaged and married, Edith even converting to Catholicism.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 9: Having elected not to volunteer to join the armed forces at the outbreak of World War I claiming he had more imagination and little courage he was constantly subject to snide remarks, even though, to begin with he was completing his degree and had a legitimate excuse not to go.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 10: By June of 1916 he would however receive the customary summons to report for duty at Folkestone to be transported to France.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 11: As much as he had loathed to go to war by October 1916 he had been struck down with trench fever and was invalided to England where he continued to suffer from poor health.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 12: While recovering he did however begin to write and began with what he would call The Book of Lost Tales. His first story was The Fall of Gondolin.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 13: By 1918 he received a temporary rank of lieutenant but by 1920 he was demobilized and he found his first civilian job with the Oxford English Dictionary.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 14: During 1925 he made a return to Oxford and began a fellowship at Pembroke College which would be when he began work on The Hobbit as well as the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 15: As the years passed and World War II was approaching Ronald would be chosen as a codebreaker and was approached and questioned of whether he would be prepared to work in the cryptographic department of the Foreign Office and he immediately agreed although it would transpire his services were not required.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 16: By 1948 he had completed The Lord of the Rings almost ten years after he began.J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 17: Edith and Ronald had four children together, John Francis Reuel, Michael Hilary Reuel, Christopher John Reuel and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel. So devoted to his children come Christmas time he created letters for each child and every year added additional character drawings to them which included the North Polar Bear, the Snow Man and Olbereth the elf as well as various other character.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 18: Having retired in 1959 he regretted not retiring sooner when he found financially his book sales brought him a steady income although he began to loath the cult-figure he became.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 19: The couple eventually moved to Bournemouth, it was where Edith really want to be and so they made their home there until Edith died on November 29th 1971 and Ronald moved back to Oxford and as delighted as he was to be back he missed his wife terribly.
J. R. R. Tolkien Fact 20: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died on the September 2nd 1973 aged eighty one years, just twenty one months after his beloved wife Edith. His body was laid to rest, with hers, at Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford.
J. R. R. Tolkien Influence & Legacy: In the 1972 New Year Honours Queen Elizabeth appointed Tolkien with a Commander of the British Empire and in that same year he was honored by Oxford University with a Doctorate of Letters. His books have proven so very popular that in 2001 the books were turned in scripts and films made. In order to capture as much as possible of the essence of his writings The Lord of the Rings was made over three films each almost three hours long. The Hobbit would follow and again it was made into three wonderful films.
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