J. R. R. TolkienJohn Ronald Reuel Tolkien (, ; . In General American, the surname is commonly pronounced .}} 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, best known as the author of the high fantasy works ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings''.
From 1925 to 1945, Tolkien was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and a Fellow of Pembroke College, both at the University of Oxford. He then moved within the same university, to become the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, positions he held from 1945 until his retirement in 1959. Tolkien was a close friend of C. S. Lewis, a co-member of the informal literary discussion group The Inklings. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.
After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including ''The Silmarillion''. These, together with ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'', form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and, within it, Middle-earth. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term ''legendarium'' to the larger part of these writings.
While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy.
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