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J.R.R. Tolkien - A Biography is a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Humphrey Carpenter, an acquaintance of Tolkien given access to the letters and records of Tolkien and his family. It is the initial and prevailing published account of Tolkien's life.

The book was first published in Britain by George Allen and Unwin in 1977. It was also published later in 1978, and 1987. It was first released in the United States in 2000 by Houghton Mifflin. It is divided into eight parts, and like The Lord of the Rings, has a few appendices containing genealogical tables, a chronology of Tolkien's life, his writing, et cetera.

"The authorized biography of the creator of Middle-earth. In the decades since his death in September 1973, millions have read THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and THE SILMARILLION and become fascinated about the very private man behind the books. Born in South Africa in January 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was orphaned in childhood and brought up in near-poverty. He served in the first World War, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost many of the closest friends he'd ever had. After the war he returned to the academic life, achieving high repute as a scholar and university teacher, eventually becoming Merton Professor of English at Oxford where he was a close friend of C.S. Lewis and the other writers known as The Inklings. Then suddenly his life changed dramatically. One day while grading essay papers he found himself writing 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' -- and worldwide renown awaited him. Humphrey Carpenter was given unrestricted access to all Tolkien's papers, and interviewed his friends and family. From these sources he follows the long and painful process of creation that produced THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION and offers a wealth of information about the life and work of the twentieth century's most cherished author."
From the publisher

Table of Contents

This list excludes chapters.

  • Part One: A visit
  • Part Two 1892-1916: Early years
  • Part Three 1917-1925: The making of a mythology
  • Part Four 1925-1949(i): 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit'
  • Part Five 1925-1949(ii): The Third Age
  • Part Six 1949-1966: Success
  • Part Seven 1959-1973: Last years
  • Part Eight: The Tree
  • Appendices
    • A: Simplified genealogical table
    • B: Chronology of events
    • C: The published writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
    • D: Sources and acknowledgements
  • Index

See also


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans J.R.R. Tolkien: ’N Biografie
Albanian J. R. R. Tolkien: Jetëshkrimi
Arabic جون رونالد تولكين: ألف بيوغرافيا
Armenian Ջ. Ռ. Ռ. Թոլքին: Կենսագրություն
Azerbaijani C. R. R. Tolkin: Bioqrafiya
Bosnian J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografija
Bulgarian Cyrillic Дж. Р. Р. Толкин. Биография
Catalan J.R.R. Tolkien: Una Biografia
Cebuano J.R.R. Tolkien: Sugibuhi
Chinese J·R·R·托爾金傳
Czech J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografie
Danish J. R. R. Tolkien: en biografi
Dutch J.R.R. Tolkien: Een Biografie
Estonian J.R.R. Tolkien: Biograafia
Finnish J. R. R. Tolkien: Elämäkerta
French J.R.R. Tolkien: Une Biographie
Galician J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biografía
Georgian ჯ. რ. რ. ტოლკინი: ბიოგრაფია
German J. R. R. Tolkien: Eine Biographie
Greek Τζ. Ρ. Ρ. Τόλκιν: Ο βιογραφία
Hebrew ג'. ר. ר. טולקין: א ביוגרפיה
Hindi जे॰आर॰आर॰ टोल्किन: ए जीवनचरित
Hungarian J.R.R. Tolkien: Az Életrajz
Icelandic J.R.R. Tolkien: Ævisaga
Irish Gaelic

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Beathaisnéis

Italian J.R.R. Tolkien: Una Biografia
Japanese J・R・R・トールキン: 伝記
Kazakh Д. Р. Р. Толкиен: A Өмірбаян (Cyrillic) D. R. R. Tolkïen: Ömirbayan (Latin)
Kurdish J.R.R. Tolkien: Jînenîgarî (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Ж. Р. Р. Толкин: Өмүр баян
Latvian J.R.R. Tolkien: Biogrāfija
Lithuanian J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografija
J.R.R. Tolkien:
Macedonian Cyrillic Џ. Р. Р. Толкин: Биографија
Norwegian J.R.R. Tolkien: En Biografi
Persian جی. آر. آر. تالکین: زندگی‌نامه
Polish J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografia
Portuguese J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biografia
Romanian J.R.R. Tolkien: O Biografie
Russian Д. Р. Р. Толкин: Биография
Slovak J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografija
Slovenian J.R.R. Tolkien: Biografija
Spanish J. R. R. Tolkien, una biografía
Swedish J.R.R. Tolkien: En Biografi
Tamil ஜே. ஆர். ஆர். டோல்கீன்: ஒரு வாழ்க்கை வரலாறு
Thai เจ. อาร์. อาร์. โทลคีน: ชีวประวัติ
Turkish J.R.R. Tolkien: Biyografi
Ukrainian Cyrillic Д. Р. Р. Толкін: Біографія
Urdu جان رونالڈ روئل ٹولکین:اے سوانح
Vietnamese J.R.R. Tolkien: Tiểu sử