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Early Life J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien was born in 1892, Bloomfontein, South Africa. After three years in South Africa, he returned to England with his Mother Mabel; unfortunately his father died 1 year later, leaving him with little memory of his father. His early childhood was, by all accounts, a happy one; he was brought up in the Warwickshire countryside (many regard this idealisedupbringing as the basis for the Shire in Lord of the Rings).
In 1904, when John was just 12, his mother Mabel died from diabetes leaving a profound mark on him and his brother. After his mother’s passing, he was brought up by the family’s Catholic priest, Father Francis Morgen. From an early age, J.R.R. Tolkien was an excellent scholar, with an unusually specialised interest in languages. He enjoyedstudying languages especially Greek, Anglo Saxon, and later at Oxford, Finnish.
Although a scholar at King Edward VI school, he failed to win a scholarship toOxford. His guardian, put this down to his burgeoning romance with his childhood sweetheart, Edith. Father Morgen, thus, made John promise not to see Edith until he was 21. John agreed to his request, and faithfully waited until his 21stbirthday. On this date he renewed his contact with Edith, and successfully persuaded her to marry him. It is a testament to his belief in faithfulness and honesty, that he was willing to wait several years to meet his wife; such sentiments of nobility appear frequently in his writings; for example, the magnificent love story of Beren and Luthien.
J.R.R.Tolkien in Oxford
From an academic point of view,his separation from Edith seemed to do the trick,and a year later he won an exhibition to Exeter College, Oxford where he would study classics. John did not particularly shine in this subject, and decided to switch to English literature. He was a competent scholar, but a lot of his time was spent researching other languages in the Bodleian library. It was here in Oxford that he became fascinatedwith Finnish, a language which would form the basis for Quenya; a language he would later give to his Elves. His love of languages remained with Tolkien throughout his life; in particular, he began developing his own languages, a remarkable undertaking. In fact, in later commented that languages lied at the heart of his writings; the Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings. He actually said, thestories existed to provide an opportunity to use the languages. Devotees of the book may not agree, but it does illustrate the profound importance he attached to the use of languages.
J.R.R.Tolkien First World War
At the outbreak of the First World War, J.R.R. Tolkien decided to finish off his degree before enlisting in 1916. Joining the Lancashire fusiliers, he made it to the Western Front justbefore the great Somme offensive. At first hand, J.R.R. Tolkien witnessed the horrors and carnage of the “Great War”; he lost many close friends, tellingly he remarked “By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead”. J.R.R. Tolkien survived, mainly due to the persistent reoccurrence of trench fever, which saw him invalided back to England.  He rarely talked about his experiences directly, but thelarge-scale horrors of war, will undoubtedly have influenced his writings in some way. Perhaps the imagery for the wastelands of Mordor may have had birth in the muddy horrors of the Western Front.
It was back in England, in 1917, that J.R.R Tolkien began working on his epic - "The Silmarillion". The Silmarillion, lies at the heart of all Tolkien’s mythology, it is a work he continually revised,until his death in 1973. The Silmarillion makes hard reading, in that, it is not plot driven but depicts the history of a universe, through an almost biblical overview. It moves from the Creation of the Universe, to the introduction of evil and the rebellion of the Noldor. It is in the Silmarillion that many roots from the Lord of the Rings stem. It gives the Lord of the Rings the impression of a...
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