Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy birthday, fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien

It is the birthday of English writer J.R.R. Tolkien (1892), who is best remembered for his classic fantasies The Hobbit (1937) and the three-volume sequel, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955).  As a youngster, he made up languages with his cousins, and a hike across Switzerland when he was 18 years old inspired Bilbo Baggins' journey in The Hobbit. He served as a young officer in France during World War I. After the war, he worked for Oxford English Dictionary researching the etymology of words, and later, taught at Oxford's Pembroke College. That is where he wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings, which is the second best-selling novel ever written, after Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. The Hobbit is sixth.

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