Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Twelftieth Birthday!

The amazing godlike man that was JRR Tolkien was born 120 years ago.

--He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Literature at Oxford University.

--He could read and write Latin at an early age, and spent the rest of his life studying German, Old Norse, Middle English and Anglo Saxon.

--He began creating his own languages in his teens.

--He only loved one woman, Edith who was 3 years older than him.  He was forbidden from speaking or corresponding with her until he turned 21, because he was Catholic and she a protestant.  She moved away on moved on. At midnight on the day he turned 21 he wrote her a letter saying he wanted to see her, but she was engaged to another man.  Tolkien went to see her and convinced her to marry him--oh how I wish I knew what he said!

--He survived the Battle of the Somme in France [WWI], trench fever, and lost almost all his friends.

--He trained horses for the British Cavalry, and decoded messages on the front lines of the war.

--His first post war job was writing [part] of the Oxford English Dictionary. He helped with the etymology and definition of Germanic words beginning with W.

--He translated works such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf. His lectures and publications on the work of Beowulf are still some of the most ground-breaking and cohesive arguments today.

--He began to write books that would become the Legendurium of Middle Earth and the history of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

--He couldn't type.  He wrote the Lord of the Rings out three times (about 1000 pages) with two fingers in the attic of his house balancing the typewriter on a bed.

--He was friends with C.S. Lewis

--He is the father of the fantasy genre.

--Every character he wrote was significant, every plot, the smallest things the smallest moments are important.  Everything has a pattern and an order.

--The names Beren and Luthien are carved on his and Edith's headstones.  

--And so much more! The world he created is one where I escape to often! Thank you Tolkien for all that you were and all that you left us!

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