◆ The Literary Mastermind Behind Middle-earth.
By Kestina Roberts
Youth Librarian Star Valley Branch
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, known to the world as J.R.R. Tolkien, is a name that has become synonymous with the fantastical realms of Middle-earth, an author whose epic tales have captured the hearts and imaginations of readers for generations. Today, we still celebrate the world-renowned author on his birthday.
Around the year 2003 a group of individuals known now as The Tolkien Society encouraged fans to commemorate the author’s life and literary achievements on January 3rd of each year. Tolkien is celebrated on his birthday for a very specific reason though.
If you are familiar with The Lord of the Rings, one of his most famous works, you may remember from the story that Frodo gives a toast to his uncle Bilbo every year for Bilbo’s birthday. A heartwarming scene from one of his books inspired the celebration of the entire holiday dedicated to his honor.
Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Tolkien’s literary journey began at an early age, sparked by his fascination with language and storytelling. As a child, he was captivated by the enchanting landscapes of England and Wales, which would later serve as the inspiration for the mythical realms he created in his stories. His love for philology, the study of language, and his proficiency in multiple languages, including Old English and Old Norse, would prove instrumental in creating his literary works. Later in life, Tolkien was a philologist and professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. His study of the languages and cultures of the past enriched his storytelling and set a high standard for world-building in fantasy literature.
One of Tolkien’s most enduring creations is Middle-earth, the fictional world where the majority of his stories take place. This vast and intricately detailed realm was the world from which most of his famous works take place, including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In Middle-earth, Tolkien crafted a complex tapestry of cultures, languages, and histories, providing readers with an immersive experience that felt both ancient and familiar.
Tolkien’s life and works have left an incredible mark on the world of literature. His books have sold millions of copies, been translated into numerous languages, and adapted into blockbuster films. Tolkien’s influence on the fantasy genre endures to this day. You can read books written by J.R.R. Tolkien at any of the Lincoln County Libraries or on the LibbyApp.