father of modern fantasy n.
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J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

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J.R.R. Tolkien

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  1. Father of Modern Fantasy J.R.R. Tolkien

  2. Bio / Childhood • 1892-1973 • John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (His surname means, “oxymoron” / came from an East Prussia village) • Born in South Africa, but raised in England • Dad died when he was 1 / Mom died when he was 12 • As a child he was bitten by a large, baboon spider • Kidnapped as a child, because he was a “beautiful baby” • In school, he was good at drawing and writing

  3. Marriage • Wanted to court Edith Mary Bratt, but could not because of religious differences • At the age of 21, when he could convert religions, he did so, and decided to contact EMB • EMB was already engaged to be married, but decided to meet Tolkien anyway • That night, when they met under the bridge, they decided to get married

  4. What a Good Dad • With EMB, he had four children, two of which are still alive • When they were kids, every Christmas, Tolkien would write letters from Father Christmas, and each year, would get more detailed and introduce new characters

  5. Love of Language • In college, he studied languages: Greek, Anglo-Saxon, Oxford, Finnish • He worked for the Oxford English dictionary • He translated Beowulf from its original text, and could even read it aloud. When he died, they found at least 2,000 pages of research on Beowulf • It is thought that Tolkien used his knowledge of the Finnish language to invent, Quenya, the Elvish language used in the LOTR books

  6. WWI / WWII • Did not want to enlist, but due to the draft was forced to go to war (WWI) • He sent letters to his wife, and very romantically, had a secret code for tracking his whereabouts • While in WWI, he contracted “trench fever”, and was released to go home • In WWII, he was enlisted, but this time as a codebreaker

  7. The Inklings • Met with several authors, including C.S. Lewis, the author of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe • The authors usually met at a pub, and drank heavily as they discussed different ideas for their stories • At the pub pictured to the right, called by its patrons as “The Bird”, has a reserved sign in honor of The Inklings’ meeting ground

  8. Death • Died 21 months after his wife, due to old age • #6 on the highest paid writers list • #5 on the highest paid dead writers list • On his wife’s tombstone is “Luthien”, on his tombstone is “Beren”