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(Dies ist meine bescheidene Facharbeit.. Ich hab nicht vor alles für euch zu übersetzen ^^ aber viell. interessiert es euch trotzdem ^^)




1. Introduction
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is known as the author of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955). These books are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of the world which he called Middle-earth. This world was peopled by Men (and women), Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and Hobbits. Tolkien has regularly been condemned by the English Literature establishment, with honourable exceptions, but loved by literally millions of readers worldwide.
He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon language at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and of English language and literature, from 1945 to 1959. He was a strongly committed Roman Catholic. Tolkien was a close friend of C. S. Lewis (the writer of The cronicles of Narnia).
In addition to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's published fiction includes The Silmarillion and other books about what he called a legendarium. This legendarium is a fictional mythology of the remote past of Earth, called Arda, and Middle-earth. The enduring popularity and influence of Tolkien's works have established him as the "father of the modern high fantasy genre". Tolkien's other published fiction includes adaptations of stories originally told to his children and not directly related to his legendarium.


2. Biography


2.1 Childhood

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontain, South Africa. His parents were Arthur Reuel Tolkien (1857-1896), an English bank manager and Mabel Tolkien (1870-1904). Tolkien had one younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel. He was born on February 17, 1894.

The Tolkien family had its roots in Saxony (Germany), but they lived in England since the eighteenth century. The surname Tolkien is Anglicized from Tollkiehn. This means tollkühn in German (foolhardy in English).

Until Tolkien was three they lived in South Africa.
(One day when he was in the garden, he has been biten by a tarantula, which would have later parallels in his stories.)
Then he went to England with his brother and mother. His father died in South Africa of rheumatic fever (on 15 February 1896). The Family now, was left without an income. Because of this Tolkien’s mother took him to live with her parents in the West Midlands. There they lived together.
Mabel taught her two sons and Ronald was a keen pupil. She taught him much about botany and Ronald liked to draw landscapes and trees. But his favourite lessons were the language lessons. At the age of four he could already read and soon afterwards he was able to write.

The Tolkien Family was poor and the situation worsened when Mabel Tolkien was diagnosted as having diabetes. On 14 November 1904 she died.

Now Tolkien and his brother were taken up by Father Frances Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham.
By this time Tolkien was already showing his remarkeble linguistic talent. He mastered Latin and Greek and later he learned Gothic and Finnish. He was already creating his own language, purely for fun.


2.2 Youth

At King Edwards school (where he went to) he had made a few close friends. In later years they met regulary as the TCBS (Tea Club , Barrovian Society, named after their meeting place at the Barrow Stores). After leaving school the members stayed in touch, and in December 1914, they had a “Council” in London. Until 1916 they corresponded closely and exchanged and criticised each other’s literary work.
When Tolkien was 16 years old he fell in love with Edith Mary Bratt who was 19 at this time.But Father Francis forbade Tolkien to meet or even correspond with Edith until he was twenty-one.
In 1911 Tolkien went up to Exeter College, Oxford. There he stayed, immersing himselfin the Classics, Old English, the Germanic languages, Welsh and Finnish, until 1913 when he picked up the threads of his relationship with Edith. On the evening of his twenty-first birthday he wrote to Edith. He declared his love and asked her to marry him. She replied, but she thought that he had forgotten her and so she was already engaged.
But then they met each other and renewed their love. Edith chose to marry Tolkien. She converted to Catholicism (at his insistence) and they were engaged in January 1913.
Tolkien changed his school from Classics to the more congenial English Language and Literature. One of the poems he discovered in his Old English studies inspired some of his early attempts at realising a world of ancient beauty. The poem was called “Crist of Cynewulf” (written in Old English).
In 1914 he visited Cornwall and he was deeply impressed by the coastline and sea.
In the August of 1914 World War I broke out.



2.3 Tenure

Tolkien went to Oxford in June 1915. There he worked hard and achieved a first-class degree in June 1915. At this time he was working on various poetics and on his invented languages.
But then he finally enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. But he was still working on ideas. At this time he was working on the journeyings of Earendel, the Mariner, who became a star.
For many month he was kept in boring suspences in Staffordsshire, England. But then he had to embark for France, but before he went away, he married Edith on 22 March in Warwick, England.
In France Tolkien served as a communications officier during the Battle of the Somme. On November 8 he was moved back to England becaus of his trench fever. The next month he spent in hospital in Birmingham. By Christmas he was allowed to stay with Edith in Great Haywood, Staffordshire, England. During his recovery he began to work an “The Book of Lost Tales”. He begun with “The Fall of Gondolin”.
The next two years Tolkien’s illness kept recurring, but he could do home services at various camps and he was promoted to lieutenant. When he was stationed at Kingston upon Hull, one day he went walking in the woods nearby Roos with Edith. She began to dance for him in a grove thick with hemlock. This was the inspiration for the tale of Beren and Lúthien and he came to think of Edith as “Lúthien” and himself as “Beren”.
On 16 November 1917 their first son John Francis Reuel was born.

Tolkien’s first job after the World War I was at the Oxford English Dictionary. But he did not stay in this job for long. In summer 1920 he took up a post as Reader in English language at the University of Leeds. In 1924 he was made a professor. He continued writing “The Book of Lost Tales” and refining his invented “Elvish” languages.
In October 1920 his second son Michael Hilary Reuel was born and in 1924 the third son followed: Christopher Reuel.
In 1925 Tolkien returned to Oxford as a professor of Anglo Saxon at Pembroke College. During this time Tolkien wrote “The Hobbit” and the first two parts of “The Lord of the Rings”.
In 1929 Edith bore their last child Priscilla Anne Reuel.
Tolkien often told his children stories. Some of this stories he published (for example “Mr. Bliss”, “Roverdandom” etc.). In 1937 “The Hobbit” was published. By this time he had begun to write the “Silmarillion”.
Tolkien moved to Merton College, Oxford in 1945. There he became the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature. In this post he remained until his retirement in 1959.
He completed “The Lord of the Rings” in 1948. During the next years he spent much time of his academic holidays at the home of John Francis in Stroke-on-Trent.
Tolkien had an dislike for the side effects of industrialisation. He loved the English countryside and did not want it to be destroyed. For most of his life he prefered to ride a bicycle. This attitude is perceptible from some parts of his work such as the industrialisation of “the Shire” in “The Lord of the Rings”.


2.4 Retirement

During the next years Tolkien turned into a figure of public attention. The sale of his books was profitable and he liked to write answers to his readers. Fan attention became very intense.
Visitors began to arrive without appointment and to snap photographs through the windows of the Tolkien house. Graffiti were scrawled: "Frodo Lives" and "J. R. R. Tolkien is hobbit-forming."
Demands for film versions and translations arrived from near and far. Yet Tolkien never lost his sense of irony about it all.
"Being a cult figure in one's own lifetime," he wrote, "is not at all unpleasant. However, I do not find that it tends to puff one up; in my case at any rate it makes me feel extremely small and inadequate. But even the nose of a very modest idol cannot remain entirely untickled by the sweet smell of incense"

Because of the extreme “Tolkien boom” Tolkien and Edith moved to Bournemouth at the south coast. Only his friends and associates could locate him there.
Tolkien continued to revise The Silmarillion until finally he saw that his son Christopher, who had become an expert in his father's fiction, would have to complete it for publication.
Christopher Tolkien would in fact spend the next 25 years living away from the public eye in France while editing and publishing his father's other works, until his own death in the late 1990s.
On November 29, 1971, Edith died at the age of eighty-two. Tolkien engraved the name “Lúthien” on her gravestone. He died on September 2, 1973 in the hospital at the age of eighty-one and he was buried in the same grave, with “Beren” added to his name.



3. His Lifework

When The Hobbit was published in 1937 it was an immediate success. The Lord of the Rings was published in three parts during 1954 and 1955 and rapidly came to public notice. While it had mixed reviews, Tolkien and the publisher had greatly underestimated its public appeal.

Most Tolkien experts say that The Lord of the Rings is clearly his best work. But Tolkien did write and publish a number of other articles, including a range of scholarly essays. But many of his stories are about Middleearth. The Adventures of Tom Bombardil and Other Verses from the Red Book (1962), Tree and Leaf, (1964), The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun, Farmer Giles of Ham (1949), and Smith of Wootton Major.
He also wrote editions and translations of Middle English works such as the Ancrene Wisse, Sir Gawain, Sir Orfeo and The Pearl.
The flow of publications was only slowed by his death. The long-awaited Silmarillion (edited by Christopher Tolkien) appeared in 1977. In 1980 Christopher also published a selection of his father's incomplete writings under the title of Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. At the shore of an underground lake Bilbo finds a magical ring. The “owner” of this ring is Gollum who once was a hobbit-like creature. He says that Bilbo has stolen his “Precious” and he wants it back, but Bilbo can escape.
After a long anventurous and risky journey Bilbo has to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside..

The Lord of the Rings takes up the story about 60 years after the end of The Hobbit. In the first part The fellowship of the Ring the story begins when the Hobbit Frodo Baggins comes into possession of a magic ring found by his uncle Bilbo. Bilbo's friend, the wizard Gandalf, discovers that this is in fact the Ring of Power, the instrument of Sauron's power and the object for which the Dark Lord has been searching since the end of the Second Age. The One Ring can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, the land of the dark lord Sauron. A "Fellowship of the Ring" is formed to help Frodo to try this. The “nine” of the fellowship are Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin (all Hobbits from the Shire), Gandalf (the wizard and a good friend of Frodo),Aragorn (a ranger from the north), Gimli (a Dwarf), Legoas (an elven prince) and Boromir (a man from Gondor and the son of the stuward of Minas Tirith, the white city).
But the fellowship breaks and now Frodo and Sam (his friend and gardener) take the trip to mordor on their own.

In The two Towers they meet Gollum, a dangerous creature, who wants to have the ring. Now Gollum shows Frodo and Sam the way to mordor but secretly he plots to destroy them and regain his "Precious" (the Ring of power). There is a parallel story which describes the remaining Fellowship's aid to the country of Rohan in their war against the evil Saruman (a leader of the order of wizards) whom Sauron has corrupted. In the midst of The Fellowship of the Ring Gandalf is apparently killed in a battle with a Balrog (this is a giant monster which lives in dark mines) but he is reborn with greater powers and returns to Middle-Earth. At the end of The Two Towers four members of the Fellowship (Gandalf, Aragorn, the elf Legolas and the dwarf Gimli) help to defeat Saruman's armies at the Battle of Helm's Deep.
In The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam are near Mount Doom. Aragorn now has to take his role. He is Isildurs heir and because of this the King of Gondor.The sword of Isildur which was broken is remade for him. The Fellowship assists in the final battles against the armies of Sauron. There are two important battles: the siege of the capital city of Gondor (Minas Tirith) and the climactic battle before the gates of Mordor, where they fight desperately against Sauron's armies in order to distract Sauron from the Ring, hoping to gain time for Frodo to destroy it.

The Silmarillion has got five parts: The Ainulindalë (about the creation of Eä (Tolkien's world), The Valaquenta (a brief description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers within the Eä), The Quenta Silmarillion (the history of the events before and during the First Age), The Akallabêth (the history of the Downfall of Númenor, which takes place in the Second Age) and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age (the account of the circumstances which led to The Lord of the Rings).
The Silmarillion forms a blanket story that describes the universe where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place. It is a complex work that explores a wide field of themes inspired by many ancient, medieval, and modern sources.

4. The “Tolkien Cult”

The “Tolkien Cult” began in the 50s. This was the era of protest against the Vietnam War. Tolkien himself became more and more suspicious of his fandom.
Hippies were yearning for their own sleepy Shire. They were contesting the terms of the
future with the agents of industrialised militarism. The Ring, to them, was The Bomb.

The sudden boom in the popularity of The Lord of the Rings in the mid-1960s began with the simple fact that it became available in paperback. In October 1965, Ballantine published a three-volume edition at 95 cents each. Now averyone with three dollars could buy a passport to Middle-earth.
By 1966, the book was the top-selling pocket book, with three quarters of a million copies in print.
Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson) believes it was "an accident of chronology" that The Lord of the Rings found a wide audience thirty years after Tolkien began writing it and ten years after its first publication.
"Part of it has to do with the rise of mass market publishing, and the fact that a mass market edition came out in 1965 surely spurred things along. Before then, the hardcovers were at least $5 each volume. Of course, the fact that the establishment didn't look kindly on Tolkien probably only fueled the fact that the younger generation did."
A popular British magazine asked its readers for their opinions about the best book of all time. Thousands responded. The winner was The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien. The literary elites were amazed. How could a fantasy writer win? They re-polled the country, and again Tolkien's work was the winner. Again they asked the public, and for a third time the public was very clear, Tolkien was their favorite.
The critics were beginning to discuss the book not only as a piece of imagined literature but as a social phenomenon. The Lord of the Rings had almost become the “Bible of the “Alternative Society” in 1968.
But the backlash against the Tolkien cult came swiftly, and it was based not so much on the book itself as on its readers.
On February 24, 1967, Life associate editor Charles Elliott declared:
"Tolkien is obscure no longer. He has become, in fact, the literary darling of an entire generation of high school and college students, who have made him a flagrant best-seller—smack at the top of the 1966 paperback list." Elliott accused "the opt-out crowd" of liking The Lord of the Rings because it was "innocent of ideas." He concluded, "These days the student must find solace where he can, if necessary in the Baggins of Bag End bag."
1977 The Hobbit was filmed as an animated tv movie by Rankin-Bass and in 1978 Ralph Bakshi made a film, based on The Lord of the Rings. The filming of Tolkien is something that bettered filmmakers for decades. But the Lord of the Rings film was not well-received by Tolkien fans. The fans tended to get very uppity because the filmed version drop even the smallest detail. Much of the background detail in the books (the history and mythology of Middle-Earth) that is one of the essences of Tolkien has been thrown out. Other scenes are cut altogether.
The quality of animationwas not bad. Ralph Bakshi draws some magnificently brooding landscapes in browns, reds and navy blues and Leonard Rosenmann contributes a powerful, primal score. The film was far darker and more violent than expected of an animated film. It was very different to anything Disney was conducting at this time. Maybe this explaines its lack of success.
By the end of the decade, scholars and fans were joining to form groups like the Tolkien Society of America, The Tolkien Society, and the Mythopoeic Society.
The Tolkien boom had begun. And then the Peter Jackson films (2001-2003) brought many readers to Tolkien for the first time and many erstwhile readers back for another look.
New Line Cinema had acquired the rights to the Tolkien books from Saul Zaentz. Peter Jackson pushed to be able to make the film and New Line placed $300 million (!!) into the project for Jackson to make three films all in one, each to be released a year apart. There have been filmic trilogies before but none that have all been filmed at once. The Lord of the Rings was such an enormous outlay that the entire financial future of New Line Cinema was dependant of the films' success.
Making a film like The Lord of the Rings is a enormous task task for any filmmaker. There are so many readers who know every detail of the stories and all these readers have their individual images of what the characters should look like.
But Peter Jackson did his job very well.
The Fellowship of the Ring accumulated a nomination from the Golden Globes as Best Picture, followed a little while later by a whole host of Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Some aspects have been trimmed. Jackson and his writers have stripped out many songs and most of the accounts of Middle-Earth's myths and histories that were part of the book's texture. They also cut out Tom Bombadil. This character is not very important for the story but many fans were very angry, because they missed Tom.

Jackson shot the entire film in New Zealand. You can say, that he is one of the filmmakers who look to the relatively unspoiled scenery of New Zealand to represent fantasy. New Zealand offers a visual “rawness” that characterises Middle-Earth with a luxuriant beauty.

Jackson has also chosen an amazing cast. All the actors seemed to be perfect for their roles.
A good example for this are the two actors who played the hobbits Merry and Pippin.
Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan craft the parts with an special charm. It is amusingly that the Shire represented a mythic idealization of untouched rural England and the way Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan play the parts and how they are costumed makes them seem like they are out of a mythic storybook representation of rural Ireland.

After the films combined sales for the four Ballantine editions and Houghton Mifflin trade paperback editions comprising The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings totaled 10.5 million copies in 2001. Perhaps the reason why The Lord of the Rings has been popular with so many of such different backgrounds is as simple as this: it is a great story. The themes friendship, choice, power, nature, machines, loss, and salvation are not out of time.


5. Fantasy literature

Fantasy has its roots in pre-historic times, when the ancients started making up stories around the tribal fires. Most of these stories are now lost, but some may have been adapted by the Greeks to create their mythology, in with fantasy has its roots.
Mythology itself is in some ways very different from fantasy and in some ways surprisingly similar. Many modern fantasy writers have truly been "world creators," (also Tolkien!) and their stories often feel more like mythology than fantasy. The characteristic of mythology is that it was at some time the basis for a religion and generally concerns gods, the making of the world, and the doings of great heroes. In most cases, the gods will often get mixed up in the doings of man, and this is how many of the heroes get their powers.
Mythology, of course, sprung up independently in many places. Around this same time the “Mesopotamian mythology” was flourishing, as were many mythologies in the Far East. The last great mythology, which took a great step towards fantasy, was the Viking mythology, one of the few to include a vision of the end of the world.
The greatest achievement of this tradition was to bring rise to the amazing poem “Beowulf“. This poem was written in Old English and tells the story of Beowulf, a hero who slays the monster Grendel and his wicked mother. This tale has many elements in common with modern fantasy (in this poem is a magic sword, a hero with superhuman powers, incredible monsters, and even a dragon).
“Beowulf” inspired Tolkien when he wrote The Lord of the Rings (much Norse mythology dealt with magic rings too!!!).

The first fantasy books were largely variants on the traveler’s tales, but with stranger places written about. The first books which took people out of the world we inhabit were written by Jules Verne, who has been called “the father of science fiction.” But his works often seemed more like fantasy, and really got people in the frame of mind to read about “places strange and wondrous.”
When Tolkien published The Hobbit there were not many other writers, who published fantasy books. Before Tolkien there were just very few fantasy authors (Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, L. Frank Baum and E. Nesbit). But after them this “little era” seemed to be over.
But with Tolkien it seemed to come back. The Hobbit was a story for children, but also adults liked to read it. This new world, Tolkien showed them, fascinated them. There were many different craetures and magic was a accepted part of life.
People of all ages loved the book, and soon they were clamoring for more information concerning hobbits and their adventures. They had to wait until The Lord of the Rings was published. In this trilogy the adventure of Hobbits continued.
It brought with it a resurgence on the part of the population of interest in fantasy literature, and it wasn’t long before their hunger was sated. J.R.R. Tolkien returned to the scene, but this time his books were no mere children’s stories. The Lord of the Rings, is the story of Bilbo’s nephew Frodo, who must take the magical and evil ring of power (the One Ring that his uncle found) and destroy it. The only way to do this is to cast the thing into the Cracks of Mount Doom in the heart of the country of Sauron, the worst evil in the world!
These three books were going much deeper than any people had read before. Hundreds of characters grace the pages, from Samwise Gamgee, a gardening hobbit who is very simple, to Gandalf the wizard, to Aragorn, a king of men, to Galadriel, a beautiful elvenqueen, and hundreds of others. The world itself is full of magic old legends, and the language of the books vary from simple country dialects to kingly, high English. Also there are the “Elvish languages”.

Most critics agreed that these books were excellent. There were few who do not like them but there was no denying that the books were popular. Even today, they are reprinted practically every year. Hundreds of people discover them for the first time each month.

For the fantasy literature these books were excellent. They sparked off worldwide interest in fantasy, and now thousands of books have been published in the genre.



6. Fantasy Today

Modern fantasy can be divided into five main types:

High Fantasy
This is fantasy concerned wholly with another world. Usually this world has unique places and intelligent races besides humans. In High Fantasy, no link exists between the fantastic world and our world. The stories take place in the lands of the author’s imagination.
You can say, that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and also The Hobbit and all off his legendarium is “High Fantasy”, because you can not travel from our world to Middle Earth.

Crossover Fantasy
This type of fantasy involves people from our world traveling to a fantastic. People from another world can also travel to our world. The fantastic places that the heroes travel to usually have much in common with the worlds in High Fantasy. These worlds are magical and self-sufficient. Magic is used there and various fantastic creatures exist. This type of fantasy also includes fantasy which involves people in this world finding fantastic objects or some fantastic creatures.Good examples for Crossover Fantasy are The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Tolkiens friend) and Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story.

Dream Fantasy
Dream Fantasy are usually presented by the author as a dream (like the name tells us). The author often begins to tell a fantastic story which takes place in annother world and at the end he tells us (directly or non.directly) that it was just a dream. This type of fantasy is often very strange. A good example of Dream Fantasy is George MacDonald’s Phantastes.

Travelling Fantasy
Travelling Fantasy is similar to the Crossover Fantasy. There are fantastic creatures and places but this type of fantasy has no magic and is altogether more "normal" than the Crossover Fantasy. There are for example no wizzards or creatures who have magical powers.
At the Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ is a good example for the Traveling Fantasy

Science Fiction Fantasy
Often Science Fiction fantasy is confused with straight science fiction. Storys of this type of fantasy take place on other planets or in the far future (often after an atomic war). It is not easy to distinguish between Science Fiction Fantasy and straight science fiction but the first type is more “fantastic”. A good example for this is Witch World by Andre Norton.

All Fantasy literature has the energy to move a reader powerfully. The motions and emotions involved are not simply visceral as is the case with much modern literature. They are spiritual. It affects the beliefs of the reader, the way of viewing life, hopes, dreams and faith.
The Question is: What is the worth of this fantasy? What does it do? How and why can it have such power? Perhaps it is because many people want to leave our world. They want to discover new things, other worlds, which are different from ours. Often it is said, that many readers try to hyde themselves in these “fantasy worlds” but not every reader reacts like this.
"A child," J. R. R. Tolkien wrote, "may well believe a report that there are ogres in the next country: many grown-up persons find it easy to believe of another country" ("On Fairy Stories", 1966). The invitation fantasy holds out to the reader is to recover a belief beclouded by knowledge, to reaffirm a faith shattered by fact. We know there are no ogres in the next country, but we may well believe there are. Many readers are surprised by this experience.






7. Conclusion

In the end I just can say, that I am glad to have chosen this theme. It is so interesting and you can find many informations about it in the internet.
I also searched in the library, but there are no books about Tolkien just books by him. I know that there are many good books about Tolkien, but you will not find such books in a library. The problem is that you cannot buy all these good books “just” for a skilled work.
It was not easy to find the correct informations I needed, but I did it after a long time of work on the internet. The themes “Tolkien” and “fantasy literature” are also very comprehensive and it is not very easy to distinguish the important and interesting things about it.

But I have had fun to make this skilled work. I did not knew all these things about Tolkien and now I can say that I am a little „Tolkien specialist“.
Also I did not knew everything about fantasy literauture and know I knew more interesting facts than before.

I also found out that there exists a huge discipleship. If you enter “Tolkien” or “The Lord of the Rings” into Google, you will find millions of internet pages about it. Many fanpages and pages of associations which deal with Tolkien and/or The Lord of the Rings.
But these books are so impressive and I think they have well-deserved such an enormous advertence.




by Irinie



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