Skies of Rohan - Tolkien Facts and Dates
Skies of Rohan - Facts and History
Facts and History about Professor Tolkien and his books
- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892.
- He married his sweetheart, Edith in 1915, the same year he graduated from Oxford University.
- In 1916, Tolkien joined the 13th Reserve Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers and served as a second lieutenent during World War I.
- Wounded in the Battle of Somme, Tolkien was forced to convalesce in a hospital for many months. During this time he began work on what would become "The Silmarillion".
- Tolkien was a philologist. Philology is the study of historical forms of a language. His central area of expertise was Old English (700 AD - 1100) and Middle English (1100 - 1500).
- After the War, Tolkien worked first for the Oxford English dictionary. Then became a Chair at Leeds University. In 1925 He received the Anglo-Saxon Chair at Oxford University.
- In 1925, while grading examination papers over the summer, he began writing "The Hobbit".
- "The Hobbit" was first published in Great Britain in 1937 and in the USA in 1938.
- When asked to write a sequel to "The Hobbit", Tolkien began writing "The Lord of the Rings" in 1937, while on his Christmas holiday.
- The final draft for "The Lord of the Rings" was submitted to the publishing company of Unwin & Allen in 1950.
- In order to save money on publishing costs, Unwin & Allen decided that the book would need to be split into three volumes, staggering the publication dates over a three year peiod.
- Tolkien first suggested the titles of: "The Return of the Shadow", "The Shadow Lengthens" and "The Return of the King". He later suggested new titles of: "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers" and "The War of the Ring". Tolkien had decided that "The Return of the King" gave away too much of the plot, but the publishers preferred that title for the third book.
- "The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring" was first published in 1954 in Great Britain and in the USA.
- After receiving many requests for the sequels, Allen & Unwin moved up the publication dates for "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King". "The Two Towers" was published near the end of 1954 and "The Return of the King" was published in 1955.
- In 1965 the trilogy was published in paperback in both the USA and in Great Britain.
- The paperback version of "The Lord of the Rings" became one of the most popular works of fiction in America, almost from the moment it was released. It was in huge demand at bookstores at colleges and universities, eclipsing all other authors.
- The Tolkien Society of America was first organized in 1967. The British Tolkien Society was established the following year. Professor Tolkien was invited to join and be a member of both The Tolkien Society of America and The British Tolkien Society. He agreed to both invitations and continues to serve as the President of The Tolkien Society in perpetuo.
- In November of 1966, the Royal Society of Literature paid Tolkien its highest honor by awarding him the Benson Medal for "The Lord of the Rings". This is England's most prestigious literary award and is comparable to America's Pulitzer Prize.
- In 1969, Tolkien sold the film rights to "The Lord of the Rings" to United Artists. Stanley Kubrick (2001 - A Space Odyssey) was approached about making the book into a movie, but after reading the book Kubrick declared that the movie would be impossible to make with the current technology for special effects.
- In 1971, Tolkien's wife Edith died. After her death, Tolkien came out of retirement and accepted a position at Merton College.
- In 1973, at the age of 81, Tolkien received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth. This medal bestowed a rank just below knighthood.
- The last literary award Tolkien received was the French Prize in 1973 for the best foreign novel of the year.
- Professor J.R.R. Tolkien died in September 1973, at the age of 81.
- Tolkien died with "The Silmarillion" still unfinished. After his death, his son, Christopher Tolkien, undertook the task of finishing the work. In 1977, it was announced that the "The Silmarillion" was to be published.
- When advance notice was given that a new book by J.R.R. Tolkien was to be released, the publishers were flooded with advance orders from booksellers in America. Instead of their intended publication of 150,000 books, Houghton Mifflin had to increase their order to 700,000 copies.
- Within a week of its release, "The Silmarillion" had outdistanced every book being sold in both America and England, and was at the top of the best seller list.
- "The Lord of the Rings" was named the greatest book of the century by numerous polls taken in 1996 - 1999.
- October 21, 2004 was the 50th anniversary of the first USA publication of "The Fellowship of the Ring". Over 100 million Americans have read the story since its first publication.
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