Humphrey Carpenter

J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography

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The original authorised biography, and the only one written by an author who actually met J.R.R. Tolkien.
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 the twentieth century’s most cherished author.
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403 printed pages

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Quotes

    Jennifer Leonorahas quoted2 years ago
    Somehow on the journey his entire kit had been lost: camp-bed, sleeping-bag, mattress, spare boots, wash-stand, everything that he had chosen with care and bought at great expense had vanished without trace into the interstices of the army transport system, leaving him to beg, borrow, and buy replacements.
    b9752145304has quoted2 years ago
    ts in the house, some black or coloured, some white immigrants; and there was company enough to be chosen from among the many other English-speaking residents, who organised a regular if predictable round of dances and dinner-parties. Mabel had much time to herself, for when Arthur was not busy in the bank he was attending classes to learn Dutch, the language in which all government and legal documents were worded; or he was making useful acquaintances in the club. He could not afford to take life easy, for although there was only one other bank in Bloemfontein, this was the National, native to the Orange Free State; whereas the Bank of Africa of which Arthur was manager was an outsider, a uitlander, and was only tolerated by a special parliamentary decree. To make matters worse, the previous manager of the Bank of Africa had gone over to the National, and Arthur had to work doubly hard to make sure that valuable accounts did not follow him. Then there were new
    Cesar Cruz Agostohas quoted3 years ago
    garden.
    Number seventy-six is a long way down the road

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