JRR Tolkien: A Life In Books

JRR Tolkien’s life is as inspiring as his work. The creator of the epic Middle-earth faced many hardships, some of which inspired his creations. Read on below to find out more about him and his life!
JRR Tolkien: A Life in Books

Known for his significant literary works that shaped the modern imagination, the life of JRR Tolkien could have inspired a great read on its own. In fact, some of his most notable poems were inspired by his relationship with his future wife.

Tolkien was shaped by his childhood as an orphan, war, love, his deep religious beliefs and his incredible literary spirit.

We know from his letters that Tolkien was not inspired by the historical or political events that he lived through or that directly influenced him. However, his work was marked by the melancholy of his life. Rather, his sense of love, faith, or his love of nature were the basis for many of his characters.

Tolkien lost both father and mother and grew up an orphan

JRR Tolkien: his childhood

Tolkien was born in Orange Free State in what is now South Africa in 1892 under the name John Ronald Reul Tolkien. His father was a British banker who later died in South Africa. He traveled to the UK with his mother and brother and lived with them until he was 12 years old.

The family had no support from the rest of their family as Mabel (Tolkien’s mother) converted to Catholicism. However, the Catholic Church did not have a good reputation at the time and it was considered shameful to be a part of it.

Mabel died in 1904, leaving her children under the care of a Catholic priest. His name was Francis Xavier Morgan, of Latin American-British descent, who played an important role in the brothers’ youth. The priest paid for her education and found shelter for her too. This care and love made JRR Tolkien deeply respect the priest.

Edith: His great love

Right there, in one of those rented houses, JRR Tolkien met Edith Bratt when he was 16 years old. Also an orphan and three years older than him, they soon expressed their eternal love for one another. This was an inconvenience to Father Francis as he believed it might distract Tolkien from studying and receiving a scholarship. Above all, however, she was not a Catholic.

From his letters we now know how painful all of this was for Tolkien. Still, he decided that Father Francis was right. So after a couple of trips together, they separated for three years.

In Tolkien's lifetime, only The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were published

The birth of a genius

After a failed attempt, at the age of 18, Tolkien received a scholarship to Oxford while Edith worked in Birmingham. During his stay in Oxford he made three great friends and founded the TCBS club, where they shared their love for literature and languages.

At an early age he had toyed with the idea of creating languages ​​and thereby being inspired by Germanic dialects. Together with his friends he had an idea; to create a mythology for England, like Greek or Roman, and Tolkien’s languages ​​would become part of it.

On his 21st birthday, he wrote to Edith to revive her love. However, she had become engaged in the meantime. Tolkien, never one to give up, then went to Birmingham to convince her and his efforts were rewarded that they soon became engaged.

After convincing Edith to convert to Catholicism, they married in 1916. In the same year he traveled to France to fight in World War I. There he lost two of his best friends and fell ill. After that, he was never the same.

JRR Tolkien and his literary works

His hard work and discipline earned him an apprenticeship as an English professor. Nonetheless, he continued to write, drawing inspiration from his time as a soldier and the loss of his two friends. Little by little, he created a magical universe that he shared with some of his colleagues like CS Lewis, and created the Inklings. Many of his ideas came from stories he read to his children or from family gatherings.

Because of his incredible perfectionism, he rewrote many things, even more than what he published. His first work that took place in Middle-earth was The Hobbit . Along with The Lord of the Rings , these two works are the only ones published in JRR Tolkien’s lifetime. We owe all other published texts relating to this world to his son Christopher.

Tolkien's life inspired his fantastic stories

In short, all the hardships in his life have turned out to be crucial in many of his creations. This idyllic view of traditional life comes from his experiences as a young orphan in an industrial city.

Likewise, the tragedy of the ring comes from its Catholic interpretation of the world. The impossible love stories also reflect his own romantic life. The camaraderie of his characters most closely resembles what Tolkien experienced himself. Reading about Middle-earth means reading a little about the great author himself.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button