Tolkien Publishes The Lord of the Rings (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: An Oxford professor’s epic fantasy became an unexpected best-seller and sparked a long-term resurgence of fantasy literature.
Summary of Event
The first publication of The Lord of the Rings in three volumes was preceded by a long gestation period. The book’s origins can be traced as far back as 1917, when Tolkien was invalided out of active combat duty toward the end of World War I. An early fascination with languages (Old and Middle English, Norse, Welsh, and Finnish, among others) led him to create two languages of his own, based on Welsh and Finnish, and to create legends and myths that might, as it were, have been written in those languages originally. The first of such stories was called “The Fall of Gondolin”; other early stories were “The Children of Hurin” and “Beren and Luthien.” The two languages evolved as the “Elvish” languages of Quenya and Sindarin.
By the late 1920’s, these stories were already being revised and edited under the title of The Silmarillion. In the early 1930’s, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien’s colleague both at Oxford and in the “Inklings,” a discussion group formed mainly of Oxford academics, had listened to parts of The Silmarillion and had urged Tolkien to finish the volume with a view to publication.
Tolkien was a perfectionist and preferred to rework his material, filling out the languages and...
(The entire section is 2292 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!