J. R. R. Tolkien: A BiographyHumphrey Carpenter
non-fiction > biography
The authorized biography of the creator of Middle-earth. In the decades since his death in September 1973, millions have read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion and become fascinated about the very private man, the creator, behind the books.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa, Bloemfontein, on the 3th of January 1892. He was orphaned as a child and brought up in near-poverty as a catholic.
He served in the first World War, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost almost all of his closest friends. Already during the war he returned to the academic life, achieving high repute as a scholar and university teacher, eventually becoming Merton Professor of English at Oxford where he was a close friend of C.S. Lewis and the other writers known as The Inklings.
One day while grading essay papers he found himself writing 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' – and this sentence changed his and ours live for good.
Humphrey Carpenter was given unrestricted access to all Tolkien's papers, and interviewed his friends and family. From these sources he follows the long and painful process of creation that produced The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion and offers a wealth of information about the life and work of the twentieth century's most cherished author.
”One of the most interesting and readable biographies of a literary figure.” – The Times (London)
Humphrey Carpenter (1946–2005) was an English biographer, author, and radio broadcaster.
Carpenter was born, died, and lived practically all of his life, in the city of Oxford. On leaving the Dragon School in Oxford, Carpenter studied at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, but returned to study English at Keble. During his appointment at BBC Radio Oxford, Humphrey met his future wife, Mari Prichard. They married in 1973.
His notable output of biographies included: J. R. R. Tolkien (1977) (also editing of The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien), The Inklings (1978), W. H. Auden (1981), Ezra Pound (1988), Evelyn Waugh (1989), Benjamin Britten (1992), Robert Runcie (1997), and Spike Milligan (2004). His Mr Majeika series of