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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien January 3, 1892, Bloemfontein, Orange Republic - September 2, 1973 Bournemouth, England) - English writer, poet, philologist, professor at Oxford University. He is best known as the author of the classic works of "high fantasy": "The Hobbit, or There and Back", "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion".

For several generations of readers already admired Tolkien's work. And these works have become insanely popular, Tolkien's books are generally called the best in the last century.

Millions of readers were immersed in an adventure-rich fantasy world. To do this, he had to re-read numerous books on ancient mythology, to study the basis of languages. This is how the writer's inspiration was born. One should not assume that the whole world of Middle-earth appeared only on the basis of ancient myths, the writer himself did a lot to form it.

Today, Tolkien's work forms the basis of many scientific works, spectacular films are made from his books, they have become the foundation of an entire subculture, but not much is known about the writer himself. And in his personal life, the author remained a secretive and sometimes even mysterious person. Now we know that he was much smarter and more versatile than his contemporaries believed. We will tell some interesting facts about Tolkien's life.

Correct name. There is still a debate about how to pronounce the name of the writer - Tolkien or Tolkien? The first option is correct. First of all, because the surname of the Englishman comes from the German word "Toll-kühn", which literally means "desperately brave." And the writer himself pronounced his name without the letter "e" in the middle. I must say that no one ever called Tolkien John either, his family and friends called him Ronald, and schoolmates referred to him as John Ronald.

Influence of the First World War. It is often said that the epic stories of Middle-earth were inspired by the events of World War II. However, this is a common misconception. The story took shape in Tolkien's head long before those events and was caused by another military cataclysm. The young Englishman visited the trenches of the First World War, like many of his peers. As a junior lieutenant, Liaison Officer Tolkien served in the Lancashire Rifle Regiment and learned from personal experience what war was. In those years, society was busy looking for the best ways to kill as many people as possible in a short period of time. Young Tolkien personally felt all the horrors of bombing and new types of weapons that were aimed at destroying him. He took part in the watershed Battle of the Somme, which cost the lives of a million soldiers. For a while, Tolkien was bedridden by typhus, giving him plenty of time to reflect on the horrors of war. It was then that the first images of the fantastic world appeared in his head. Tolkien himself at first denied that his works appeared thanks to the First World War, but later he was forced to admit this. So it's not surprising that Middle-earth sometimes seems too gloomy, but there was always room for hope in it. This spirit of the epic is due to the fact that returning from the war Tolkien found most of his friends dead in the war.

Tolkien's legacy in cinema. Some fans of Tolkien's work believe that in the near future, paintings based on other works of the author will appear on the big screens. But this is unlikely to happen. The author himself sold the rights to film adaptation of only two of his works; currently, the legacy belongs to his son Christopher. He doesn't particularly like what the filmmakers did with his father's works. At one time, the film companies tried to evade paying a percentage of the profit from the rental, arguing that the project was unprofitable due to high costs. In addition, there are even more important points here than just money. Christopher himself considers it unacceptable to commercialize his father's work. With the help of cinema, deep and intelligent books have become consumer goods. So do not expect new films based on Tolkien's novels in the near future.

Tolkien and racism. The author's creations have often been criticized for their "Eurocentricity". The fact is that almost all participants in the described events in Middle-earth had a white skin color. The only ones who stood out from the crowd were the orcs, the embodiment of absolute evil. As a result, many white racists even relied on Tolkien's writings to claim the superiority of their skin color. But the author himself was not directly caught in racism. And the concepts of "black" and "white", "good" and "evil" have long been present in all fairy-tale works. Another accusation against Tolkien was made on the basis of cultural Eurocentrism. It is no secret that the writer's works were based on European myths. An interesting incident occurred while preparing a book for publication in Nazi Germany. To get permission to print, Tolkien needed to prove the purity of his blood, which confused him a lot. The Englishman sent many letters to the publisher that needed to be conveyed to the Germans. Tolkien stated that he did not want to give his novel shades of racism and mix in politics. In addition, the learned professor had many Jewish friends. Thus, it is clear that it is simply impossible to suspect the author of racism in any form.

Adaptation of Tolkien's works by the Beatles. The popularity of the series of films "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" can be explained by the maximum closeness to the original text. This made the movie very high quality and led to success. However, only in the authorship of Tolkien lies the secret? It is known that this was not the first attempt to film The Hobbit, but the previous experience (including the Soviet one) was unsuccessful. Shortly before the end of his life, the writer sold the rights to film adaptation of his most famous works for a ridiculous amount of $ 250 thousand in modern times (according to other sources - 16 thousand). Since then, there has been no end to those wishing to make a film based on the works of Tolkien. And the first attempt, which few people know about, was made by the musicians from the Beatles. This group wanted to star in the lead roles, seeing Stanley Kubrick himself as the director. He, like the musicians, was an undoubted genius, but their joint work could turn into a real nightmare. Luckily for the fans, the project never materialized. In Hollywood, they decided to abandon the filming of a film based on books that everyone already knows. There is a version that the writer himself canceled the shooting because he did not like the Beatles. But this version seems unlikely, because the rights to the film adaptation were sold long ago.

Tolkien is a philologist. We know Tolkien as a successful writer. It was his literary activity that he earned fame. However, Tolkien himself was always more interested in language issues than in the creation of an epic in the fantasy genre. Philology was the main hobby in the life of a scientist and his most important part of life. And Tolkien's love for languages ​​originated in his youth. His native language was English, but his mother tried to teach also Latin, German and French. Gradually, Tolkien became interested in Old Norse and Finnish. As a professional philologist, he understood that language is not just an instrument of communication, but an essential part of culture. And Tolkien loved languages ​​so much that he even decided to create his own in a world he invented. The professor is said to have invented two languages: Mordorian and Elvish. In fact, Tolkien created many more languages ​​- for the Elvish alone, he developed a grammar of 15 dialects, and there were also the languages ​​of the dwarves, Ents and many other peoples of Middle-earth.

Tolkien and Catholicism. Tolkien had a peculiar attitude towards Catholicism. His mother, suddenly becoming a widow with two children in her arms, suddenly decided to become a Catholic. But everyone around was Anglicans. As a result, many of her relatives turned away from Mabel Tolkien, but she kept her faith, passing on love for her and her boys. And John Ronald was even able to make his wife, who was originally a Protestant, a Catholic. Unlike his friend Lewis, Tolkien avoided introducing religious themes and symbols into his works. Nevertheless, in life the writer was a very religious, devout Catholic. He spent his entire life as an explicit traditionalist. And when the Roman Church gathered the council of the Second Vatican Council and approved several major changes, Tolkien did not like it. And although many churches began to hold masses not in Latin, but in English, the scientist himself resisted this to the last, praying in Latin. Being extremely devout, Tolkien did what he thought was right anyway.

Unusual upbringing. Tolkien's mother died when he was only 12 years old. Together with John, his brother Hilary also became an orphan. The future writer distanced himself from the rest of his family, religion was to blame. The fact is that his relatives were Protestants, and his mother at one time changed religion and became a Catholic. That is why, in her will, she asked to leave the children in the care not of their relatives, but of the Catholic priest Francis Morgan. For several years after the death of his mother, John Ronald lived with his aunt, and then moved to live with the Faulkners family. And although Tolkien grew up among family and friends, his father Morgan still remained his legal mentor. It was he who brought the young man a love of philology. And at the age of 16, John Ronald fell in love with 19-year-old Edith Brett, a Protestant besides. But Father Morgan said his weighty word, who made Tolkien make a promise not to talk to his beloved until he reached the age of 21. And although during this time the girl survived an engagement with another, John Ronald still not only fulfilled his promise, but was also able to return his beloved. Thanks to the efforts of the mentor, the young guy was able to get rid of slovenliness and went to college at the University of Oxford. Tolkien made every effort to ensure that his friend Lewis received the same position. However, this attempt was unsuccessful. Together with a friend, Tolkien often discussed literature and theology, they were so close that Lewis got to know his friend's family well. Lewis even shared with them the food that he received in abundance from his fans. But there was a serious problem in the relationship of friends - Tolkien hated allegory. And Lewis not only loved its Christian form, but also used it everywhere. Not only did the allegory itself distract the reader from the main action, but in the opinion of Tolkien, his friend simply had no right to mix religion here. John believed that in a hierarchical religious society, messages of this kind could only be transmitted by persons in church dignity. And although the friendship between the writers has survived, this fundamental disagreement has constantly cooled it down.

Tom Bombadil. There is no more mysterious character in the Lord of the Rings universe than Tom Bombadil. Many readers note that this character absolutely does not fit into this world, as if he is an alien from some other. And Peter Jackson felt it when he abandoned the alien character in his films. But then there were fans who did not appreciate this step. After all, for them Bombadil was, albeit strange, but the beloved hero of the trilogy. And the reason for this strangeness lies in the fact that originally this character was not created at all for Middle-earth. Tolkien wrote many children's fairy tales, whose hero was just Tom Bombadil. This character was born long before the writing of "The Lord of the Rings" and was originally not considered an epic fantasy hero at all. And Tolkien fell in love with Bombadil so much that he even wanted to create a whole book about him, but in the end he wrote The Hobbit. Such a love of the writer for this character is due to the fact that he meant something important to Tolkien himself. In his youth, he himself learned all the horrors of war and saw how the industrial world forever changes everything around. Tom Bombadil personified Tolkien's desire to keep the virgin countryside from urbanization, to live in harmony with the world around him. But the writer understood that in the world he was creating, characters were required who strive for war more than Tom. But it is these heroes who will be able to stop the return of Sauron. But Tolkien left Bombadil in the book, because he wanted to emphasize that not only the ideals of the struggle between good and evil are important, but others as well.

Tolkien and the machines. During the years of Tolkien's life, cars had not yet become a common means of transportation, they were a curiosity for ordinary people. But the writer himself gladly met the emergence of a new type of transport. And he even had his own car, in which he even had an accident with his family. Then his car punched two front wheels and crashed into a wall. Tolkien was clearly not the best driver, according to his own stories, he was a threat to other cars on the roads. It's good that Tolkien realized this in time, gave up this hobby and switched to protecting the environment.

The Hobbit is not a children's book. The book "The Hobbit" is considered as the backstory of "The Lord of the Rings". And for some reason everyone considers this little story like a child's. But Tolkien himself in his letter directly said that he was not interested in children, as well as in writing for them. His works are neither directly nor indirectly addressed to small readers. And the "Hobbit" is read so easily, also because the author himself had children and he often invented fairy tales for them. I must say that Tolkien did not believe at all that it was possible to create for a specific target audience, especially for children. He took this category of readers seriously, even if they were not his main admirers.

The main character of The Lord of the Rings. For most of us, the protagonist of The Lord of the Rings is the fearless hobbit Frodo. But Tolkien himself considered such a not so bright character, Sam Gamgee. The author wrote that the hero's simple, “rustic” love for his Rose is an important element to be studied. In Sam, everyday motives (food, sleep, work) and the desire for adventure, sacrifice, the search for beauty and longing for elves collide. It is no coincidence that Tolkien bluntly said that in order to understand the essence of the book, you need to see how Sam loves his wife.

Shire is a native land. It is no coincidence that the country of Hobbitshire was described with such love by Tolkien. After all, he copied the hobbits partly from himself. He himself admitted that in fact he is a representative of this people, with the exception, of course, of growth. Tolkien loved trees and gardens; he was alien to farm mechanization. The writer liked to smoke a pipe and preferred plain, unfrozen food. French haute cuisine was alien to him, and on the bleak autumn days Tolkien loved to wear vests with embroidered ornaments. He loved mushroom picking and his sense of humor was simple and straightforward. To some critics, it even seemed tiresome. Tolkien went to bed late and got up late, and traveled very rarely.

Interweaving the fantasy world with reality. In the collection of myths "The Silmarillion" there is a story about the love of a mortal man Beren for the immortal elf Luthien Tinuviel. In order to be with her beloved, she gave up the opportunity to live forever.Tolkien wrote two months after the death of his wife Edith that he had met Lúthien Tinuviel in his own life. She had dark hair, a beautiful voice and glowing eyes. But she died before Beren, leaving him as if with one hand. The writer outlived his beloved for only two years, they are buried under one tombstone. And on it, under their names, are also inscribed "Beren" and "Luthien." And in 1944, Tolkien's son, Christopher, while in the army camp, was going through hard times. Then his father wrote him an encouraging letter. He advised his son to perceive reality as if he was a hobbit in the Urukhaev camp. Christopher needs to keep the hobbit in his heart, and perceive everything that happens around him as part of a great story, the main character of which he turned out to be.

Watch the video: JRR TOLKIEN 1892-1973 - A Study Of The Maker Of Middle-earth (August 2022).