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Topic: Tolkien, J. R. R. {tohl'-keen} Text: The English writer and scholar John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, b.

      Bloemfontein, South Africa, Jan. 3, 1892, d. Sept. 2, 1973,
      reestablished fantasy as a serious form in modern English
      literature. As professor of medieval English literature at
      Oxford University, he presented (1936) the influential lecture
"Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics," an aesthetic
      justification of the presence of the mythological
      creatures--Grendel and the dragon--in the medieval poem; he then
      went on to publish his own fantasy, The HOBBIT (1937). There
      followed his critical theory of fantasy, "On Fairy-Stories"
      (1939), and his masterpieces, the mythological romances The Lord
      of the Rings (1954-55) and The Silmarillion (1977).
     Brought to England as a child upon the death of his father in
      1896, Tolkien was educated at King Edward's School in
      Birmingham and at Oxford. He enlisted in 1915 in the Lancashire
      Fusiliers; before leaving for France, he married his longtime
      sweetheart, Edith Bratt. Tolkien saw action in the Battle of
      the Somme, but trench fever kept him frequently hospitalized
      during 1917. He held academic posts in philology and in English
      language and literature from 1920 until his retirement in
     Inclination and profession moved Tolkien to study the heroic
      literature of northern Europe--Beowulf, the Edda, the Kalevala.
      The spirit of these poems and their languages underlies his
      humorous and whimsical writings, such as Farmer Giles of Ham
      (1949) and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), as well as his
      more substantial works. RANDEL HELMS

bliog: Carpenter, Humphrey, Tolkien: A Biography (1977); Helms,

      Randel, Tolkien's World (1974).

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