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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

Letters from Father Christmas

Letters from Father Christmas

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/09/2012

This revised edition of Tolkien's famous illustrated letters from Father Christmas to his children includes a number of pictures and letters that have not been seen in print before. The perfect Christmas gift for Tolkien lovers of all ages. This classic festive book of Tolkien's amazing Father Christmas letters written to his children between the 1920s and the 1940s has been reworked into a new and attractive edition. It contains brand new high-quality digital reproductions of his amazing letters and pictures, including a number them that have never been printed before. `My dear children, I am more shaky than usual this year. The North Polar Bear's fault. It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there has ever been. It turned the North Pole black!' Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien's children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas. They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: * How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place. * How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas's house into the dining-room * How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden * How there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house! Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. From the first note to Tolkien's eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness of Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas.

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
The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 30/08/2012

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this three-volume paperback boxed set of Tolkien's epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, features exclusive covers from Peter Jackson's award-winning film trilogy, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring - the ring that rules them all - which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as the Ring is entrusted to his care. He must leave his home and make a perilous journey across the realms of Middle-earth to the Crack of Doom, deep inside the territories of the Dark Lord. There he must destroy the Ring forever and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, readers can discover how the journey continues in The Lord of the Rings with this special boxed set of the complete work, with exclusive cover images from the award-winning film trilogy.

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

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

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first 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. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring - the ring that rules them all - which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this first 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 Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

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

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first 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. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring - the ring that rules them all - which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. To celebrate the release of the first of Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, this first 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 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 Hobbit (Part 1 and 2) Slipcase

The Hobbit (Part 1 and 2) Slipcase

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

The unforgettable story of Bilbo, a peace-loving hobbit, who embarks on a strange and magical adventure. A timeless classic now available as a two-part boxed set. 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. Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, `The Hobbit'. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of fiction.

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...