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J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography Paperback – 2 Jan 2002
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‘One of the most interesting and readable biographies of a literary figure’ Times
‘Rich and beautifully told’ Sunday Times
‘Absolutely fascinating’ Daily Mail
In the 25 years since Tolkien's death in September 1973, millions have read "The Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion" and become fascinated about the very private man behind the books. Born in Bloemfontein in January 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was orphaned in childhood, brought up in near-poverty and almost thwarted in adolescent romance. He served in the First World War, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost some of his closest friends, and returned to academic life, achieving high repute as a scholar and university teacher, eventually becoming Merton Professor of English at Oxford. Then suddenly his life changed dramatically. One day while marking essay papers he found himself writing "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" - and worldwide renown awaited him. Humphrey Carpenter was given unrestricted access to all Tolkien's papers, and interviewed his friends and family. From these sources he follows the long and painful process of creation that produced "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion" and offers a wealth of information about the life and work of one of the 20th century's most cherished authors.See all Product description
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A well-researched book that flows well and is an easy read.
This is very much a warts 'n' all book, portraying JRRT as a man of great contradictions. Extra-Ordinary in many ways, ordinary in many others. A creative genius yet disorganised, constantly missing deadlines, finishing only a small percentage of his work, losing letters, stories and notes sometimes to find them years later and continue them at that point.
He also kept 2 copies of many stories for security but would invariably make different amendments to both copies making it even harder to reconcile works for publishing.
The ultimate perfectionist I am relieved we actually got any completed work from him yet the LOTR and the Silmarillion on their own are more than enough to show for a lifes work and if JRRT had not been so pedantic they would not have been the great works they are.
Very much a man's man, his complex relationship with C S Lewis is interesting as it develops over the years.
If you are after a window into the man behind the books then I would opt for this biography over any other.
An engaging read from start to finish, highly recommended!
In Summary I feel that JRR Tolkeins life was covered very well by the Auther and done in a fair review more over it is well written and great to read.
In addition to that, Professor Tolkien was a very easy person to like: talented, dedicated, plenty of amusing eccentricities, a first-class poet and philologist, a family man and clearly a charasmatic and interesting fellow. Mr Carpenter's biography does him great justice. An eminently readable book about a fascinating and well-lived life, that had a deep and lasting influence on Western culture.
The Jolly Pilgrim
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Shame he is no longer with us to write more..so thanks to his son for publishing (in)finished works from his dad.