Tolkien, J. R. R., 1892-1973.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
British author and academic born in Bloemfontein, South Africa whose work on his fictional
creation of Middle Earth occupied a lifetime. His influence on the development of the fantasy
genre as a whole is incalculable.
The Hobbit. 1937.
Children's fantasy introducing hobbits, Tolkien's fictional race of little people, set in a
prehistoric era inhabited by creatures from Northern
European mythology and folklore, the flavor of which it successfully captures. The hobbit Bilbo
Baggins is dragooned by Gandalf the wizard into the quest of a band of dwarves to recover
treasure looted from their forefathers by the dragon Smaug. Enroute he acquires a magic ring of
invisibility, the significance of which only becomes apparent later. Adapted to the stage in
1953, radio in 1968, television in 1977, and film in 2012-2014.
The Lord of the Rings. 1956.
Tolkien's magnum opus, an adult sequel to The Hobbit which darkens, deepens,
and brings an epic quality to his imagined Middle Earth. Gandalf discovers Bilbo's magic ring
is actually the One Ring of Power of the demonic Sauron, defeated ages ago but
rising again. Even without the lost ring Sauron is on track to overwhelm the remaining free
peoples; if he recovers it his power will be unimaginable. Pursued by the enemy's creatures and
aided only by a small group of fugitive companions, Bilbo's heir Frodo must spirit the ring
to the heart of Sauron's power, the volcano where it was forged, as only there
can it be destroyed. An enormous novel, originally published in three parts; The Fellowship of the
Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and The Return of the King (1955). Adapted to
radio in 1955, 1956, 1979 and 1981, film in 1978 and 2001-2003, television in 1980, audiobook in 1990,
and the musical theater in 2006.
May 15, 2009,
and last updated
Apr. 13, 2015.
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Published by Fleabonnet Press.
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Additional material © 1999-2015 by Brian Kunde.