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J. R. R. Tolkien - Author

About the Author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After his father’s death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.

His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shone in his classical work. After completing a First in English at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the ‘New English Dictionary’ and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called The Book of Lost Tales  but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.

In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit  and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife’s death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion  to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.

Featured books by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Colour Illustrated Hobbit

The Colour Illustrated Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/09/2017

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable and quiet life. His contentment is disturbed one day when the wizard, Gandalf, and the dwarves arrive to take him away on an adventure. Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug's left eye. He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance! Whisked from his comfortable hobbit-hole by Gandalf the wizard and a band of dwarves. Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthien

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2017

The tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Luthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Luthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

ebook of the month
The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/09/2016

This sumptuous gift set includes a replica of the very rare first edition of The Hobbit, the only edition where one can now read the original version of the story before Tolkien re-edited it nearly 30 years later. The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937 with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design and nearly a dozen black & white drawings by the author himself, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted shortly afterwards, and history was already being made. The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter five when Tolkien decided to expand the text to marry it up to events in The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult. This special printing reprints the first edition, so that Tolkien's story may be enjoyed in its original form.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/11/2014

Immerse yourself in Middle-earth with Tolkien's classic masterpieces behind the films, telling the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' epic encounters with Gandalf, Gollum, dragons and monsters, in the quest to destroy the One Ring. When they were first published, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings became instant classics. Treasured by readers young and old, these works of sweeping fantasy, steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness have sold more than 150 million copies around the world. This new boxed gift set, published to celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, contains both titles and features cover images from both films. It offers readers a new opportunity to discover Tolkien's remarkable world of Middle-earth and to follow the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' part in the epic quest for the Ring - beginning with Bilbo's fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom.

Hobbitus Ille The Latin Hobbit

Hobbitus Ille The Latin Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/09/2012

Fascinating for Latin learners and for Tolkien fans of all ages, The Hobbit has been translated into Latin for the first time since its publication 75 years ago. In foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus. ('In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.') The Hobbit, is one of the world's most popular classic stories, appealing to adults as much as to the children for whom J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote the book. Translated worldwide into more than 60 modern languages, now Hobbitus Ille is finally published in Latin, and will be of interest to all those who are studying the language, whether at school or at a higher level. In the great tradition of publishing famous children's books in Latin, professional classicist and lifelong Tolkien fan Mark Walker provides a deft translation of the entire book. His attention to detail, including the transformation of Tolkien's songs and verses into classical Latin metres, will fascinate and entertain readers of all ability, even those with only a minimal acquaintance with the language.

ebook of the month

Other books by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Return of the King

The Return of the King

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2012

Concluding the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the final part of Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring an exclusive cover image from the film, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. The armies of the Dark Lord Sauron are massing as his evil shadow spreads ever wider. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Ents unite forces to do battle agains the Dark. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam struggle further into Mordor in their heroic quest to destroy the One Ring. The devastating conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale of magic and adventure, begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, features the definitive edition of the text and includes the Appendices and a revised Index in full. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this third part of The Lord of the Rings is available for a limited time with an exclusive cover image from Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy.

The Two Towers

The Two Towers

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2012

Building on the story begun in The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, this is the second part of Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring an exclusive cover image from the film, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this second part of The Lord of the Rings is available for a limited time with an exclusive cover image from Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy.

The Two Towers

The Two Towers

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2012

Continuing the story of The Hobbit, this is the second part of Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring an exclusive cover image from the film, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this second part of The Lord of the Rings is available for a limited time with an exclusive cover image from Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy.

The Return of the King

The Return of the King

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2012

Concluding the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the final part of Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring an exclusive cover image from the film, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. The armies of the Dark Lord Sauron are massing as his evil shadow spreads ever wider. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Ents unite forces to do battle agains the Dark. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam struggle further into Mordor in their heroic quest to destroy the One Ring. The devastating conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale of magic and adventure, begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, features the definitive edition of the text and includes the Appendices and a revised Index in full. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this third part of The Lord of the Rings is available for a limited time with an exclusive cover image from Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy.

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/08/2012

The classic bestseller behind this year's biggest movie, this film tie-in edition features the complete story of Bilbo Baggins' adventures in Middle-earth, with a striking cover image from Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...The prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most beloved and influential books of the twentieth century.

An Hobad, No Anonn Agus Ar Ais Aris

An Hobad, No Anonn Agus Ar Ais Aris

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/03/2012

The Pocket Hobbit

The Pocket Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/10/2011

To celebrate The Hobbit's 75th anniversary of publication, a pocket-sized hardback of J.R.R. Tolkien's timeless classic, perfect for little Hobbits everywhere. Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services - as a burglar - on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's life is never to be the same again. The Hobbit became an instant success when it was first published in 1937, and 75 years later Tolkien's epic tale of elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, myth, magic and adventure, with its reluctant hero Bilbo Baggins, has lost none of its appeal. Now, for the first time, the classic hardback edition is available in a one-off special pocket-sized edition. Featuring the distinctive cover illustration painted by Tolkien himself, plus his own drawings in the book, this edition will be the perfect gift for little Hobbits everywhere!

The Art of the Hobbit

The Art of the Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/10/2011

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, a sumptuous full colour art book containing the complete collection of more than 100 Hobbit sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he was already an accomplished amateur artist, and drew illustrations for his book while it was still in manuscript. The Hobbit as first printed had ten black and white pictures, two maps, and binding and dust-jacket designs by its author. Later, Tolkien also painted five scenes for colour plates which are some of his best work. His illustrations for The Hobbit add an extra dimension to that remarkable book, and have long influenced how readers imagine Bilbo Baggins and his world. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, the complete artwork created by the author for his story has been collected in The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Including related pictures, more than one hundred sketches, drawings, paintings, maps, and plans are presented here, preliminary and alternate versions and experimental designs as well as finished art. Some of these images are now published for the first time, and others for the first time in colour. Fresh digital scans from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and Marquette University in Wisconsin allow Tolkien's Hobbit pictures to be seen more vividly than ever before. The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been written and edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, two of the leading experts on Tolkien and authors of the acclaimed J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide.

Mr Bliss

Mr Bliss

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/09/2011

The first ever trade edition of Tolkien's illustrated tale about the eccentric Mr Bliss, a man notable for his immensely tall hats and for the girabbit in his garden, whose whimsical decision to buy a motor car quickly becomes a catalogue of disasters. Professor J.R.R. Tolkien invented and illustrated the book of Mr Bliss's adventures for his own children when they were very young. The book was handwritten with lots of detailed and uproarious colour pictures. This is a complete and highly imaginative tale of eccentricity. Mr Bliss, a man notable for his immensely tall hats and for the girabbit in his garden, takes the whimsical decision to buy a motor car. But his first drive to visit friends quickly becomes a catalogue of disasters. Some of these could be blamed on Mr Bliss's style of driving, but even he could not anticipate being hijacked by three bears. As for what happened next - the readers, whether young or old, will want to discover for themselves. Redesigned using new archival scans of Tolkien's original drawings, MR BLISS is presented for the first time in a conventional trade format, sure to delight Tolkien fans of all ages.

Mr Bliss

Mr Bliss

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: eBook Release Date: 29/09/2011

A brand new edition of the long unavailable children's story, written and illustrated by the author of The Hobbit and Letters from father Christmas, with newly scanned manuscript pages and redesigned text.Now available as an audio edition.Professor J.R.R. Tolkien invented and illustrated the book of Mr Bliss's adventures for his own children when they were very young. The story is reproduced here exactly as he created it - handwritten with lots of detailed and uproarious colour pictures.This is a complete and highly imaginative tale of eccentricity. Mr Bliss, a man notable for his immensely tall hats and for the girabbit in his garden, takes the whimsical decision to buy a motor car. But his first drive to visit friends quickly becomes a catalogue of disasters. Some of these could be blamed on Mr Bliss's style of driving, but even he could not anticipate being hijacked by three bears.As for what happened next - the readers, whether young or old, will want to discover for themselves. Thankfully all ended well, and even the yellow motor car with red wheels (to which Mr Bliss has taken an understandable and great dislike), came in useful at the end...

Mr Bliss

Mr Bliss

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 29/09/2011

A brand new audio edition of the children's story, written and illustrated by the author of The Hobbit and Letters from father Christmas, read by Sir Derek Jacobi. Professor J.R.R. Tolkien invented and illustrated the book of Mr Bliss's adventures for his own children when they were very young. The story is reproduced here exactly as he created it. This is a complete and highly imaginative tale of eccentricity. Mr Bliss, a man notable for his immensely tall hats and for the girabbit in his garden, takes the whimsical decision to buy a motor car. But his first drive to visit friends quickly becomes a catalogue of disasters. Some of these could be blamed on Mr Bliss's style of driving, but even he could not anticipate being hijacked by three bears. As for what happened next - the readers, whether young or old, will want to discover for themselves. Thankfully all ended well, and even the yellow motor car with red wheels (to which Mr Bliss has taken an understandable and great dislike), came in useful at the end...

Tales from the Perilous Realm

Tales from the Perilous Realm

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 10/06/2010

The definitive collection of Tolkien's four acclaimed modern classic fairy tales. The five tales are written with the same skill, quality and charm that made The Hobbit a classic. Largely overlooked because of their short lengths, they are finally together in a volume which reaffirms Tolkien's place as a master storyteller for readers young and old. * Roverandom is a toy dog who, enchanted by a sand sorcerer, gets to explore the world and encounter strange and fabulous creatures. * Farmer Giles of Ham is fat and unheroic, but - having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant - is called upon to do battle when a dragon comes to town; * The Adventures of Tom Bombadil tells in verse of Tom's many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls; * Leaf by Niggle recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle who sets out to paint the perfect tree; * Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children. This new collection is fully illustrated throughout by Oscar-winning artist, Alan Lee, who provides a wealth of pencil drawings to bring the stories to life as he did so memorably for The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin. Alan also provides an Afterword, in which he opens the door into illustrating Tolkien's world. World-renowned Tolkien author and expert, Tom Shippey, takes the reader through the hidden links in the tales to Tolkien's Middle-earth in his Introduction, and recounts their history and themes. Lastly, included as an appendix is Tolkien's most famous essay, On Fairy-stories , in which he brilliantly discusses fairy-stories and their relationship to fantasy. Taken together, this rich collection of new and unknown work from the author of The Children of Hurin will provide the reader with a fascinating journey into lands as wild and strange as Middle-earth.

The Hobbit/The Lord of The Rings: Boxed Set

The Hobbit/The Lord of The Rings: Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2010

Boxed gift set of Tolkien's classic masterpieces, fully illustrated throughout in watercolour by the acclaimed and award-winning artist, Alan Lee, Conceptual Designer on Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. Since they were first published, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been two books people have treasured. Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, these works of sweeping fantasy have touched the hearts of young and old alike. Between them, nearly 150 million copies have been sold around the world. And no editions have proved more popular than the two that were illustrated by award-winning artist, Alan Lee - the Centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and the 60th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit. Now, for the first time, paperback editions of these beautifully illustrated works have been collected together into one boxed set of four books. Readers will be able to follow the complete story of the Hobbits and their part in the quest for the Ring - beginning with Bilbo's fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom - while also enjoying over seventy full-page colour paintings and numerous illustrations which accompany this epic tale.

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2010

The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the epic story of the Norse hero, Sigurd, the dragon-slayer, the revenge of his wife, Gudrun, and the Fall of the Nibelungs. In the Lay of the Voelsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fafnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness. In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrun his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrun. In the Lay of Gudrun her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers the Niflung lords, and her hideous revenge.