John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, popularly known as JRR Tolkien, was born on January 3, 1892. In his 81-year life, the author would conjure up some of the most iconic stories in popular culture, which are still acclaimed and respected today.
The English author, poet, and professor created The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, both of which would go on to become huge film franchises, with his pen.
Tolkien has been ranked by The Times, a London newspaper, as one of the fifty greatest English authors since 1945 and is widely considered the father of the fantasy genre.
Among the various accomplishments that would help to shape the future of the science fiction and fantasy genres, Tolkien created elaborate maps and even entire languages to popular the books he wrote in fictional worlds.
Tolkien began reading at the age of four. In 1915, he graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, with honors. He would go on to serve in the British Army during World War I and later accept professorship in Anglo-Saxon literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. Beyond his wildly popualr novels, he told his children stories, some of which he developed into those published posthumously as Mr. Bliss, Roverandom, and others.
While he is best known for The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien published a number of other articles (h/t to The Tolkien Society), including a range of scholarly essays, many reprinted in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (see above); one Middle-earth related work, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil; editions and translations of Middle English works such as the Ancrene Wisse, Sir Gawain, Sir Orfeo and The Pearl, and some stories independent of the Legendarium, such as the Imram, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun – and, especially, Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, and Smith of Wootton Major.
Happy birthday to the late, great JRR Tolkien.