Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1892, was born J R R Tolkien.

Tolkien is famous as author of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Readers of his works will be familiar with the mystical past, with the ubiquitous elves, dwarfs and hobbits inhabiting ‘middle earth’ and the struggle between the virtuous and evil kingdoms for possession of the enchanted ring, the means to complete domination. Tolkien’s work has established him as the creator of the high fantasy genre; his works have become best sellers and achieved cult status.

What is perhaps less well known about Tolkien is that he was an academic of some note. Tolkien took a degree at Exeter College, Oxford. After service in The First World war, he worked as reader in English Language at Leeds University and in 1925, became professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. His scholarly works include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf: The Monsters and The Critics.

These works principally concern ancient sagas and semi mythical accounts of ancient lore. They contain fantasy characters and outlandish creatures and monsters.  It would be untrue to say that the characters from ‘Middle Earth’ are derivative of ancient sagas but the influence is clearly seen.

The name ‘Tolkien’ derives from the Germanic ‘Tollkiehn’, translatable as ‘hasty-keen’. One of Tolkien’s characters is known as Rashbold.

Tolkien Road in Eastbourne [BN23 7AL] is named for Tolkien, but Tolkien Way, Stoke-on-Trent [ST4 7SJ] is named after Tolkien’s son, Rev. Fr. J F Tolkien who was parish priest at the nearby Catholic church.

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