Item description for J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter & J. R. R. Tolkien...
Overview Profiles the life of Tolkien beginning with his South African childhood, exploring his roles as a soldier in World War II, an English professor at Oxford University, and as a writer of fantasy.
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.
Citations And Professional Reviews J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter & J. R. R. Tolkien has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 10/01/2001 page 102
Library Journal - 06/15/2000 page 122
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Studio: Mariner Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.19" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.74" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Jun 6, 2000
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
ISBN 0618057021 ISBN13 9780618057023
Availability 0 units.
More About Humphrey Carpenter & J. R. R. Tolkien
Humphrey Carpenter, the author of THE BRIDESHEAD GENERATION and THE INKLINGS, among other books, was given unrestricted access to all of Tolkien's papers for his biography of Tolkien, J.R.R. TOLKIEN: A BIOGRAPHY.
Reviews - What do customers think about J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography?
Great Biography despite a few missing pieces Jan 18, 2008
This review is based upon the first edition which was written in 1977.
This biography is fair and gives a vivid detail of not only the life of Tolkien but also the times and events that shaped the man. I would have liked to have seen more into the light of his religion as well as the depth of his relationships particularly with Lewis,Dyson, and Williams.
I have to say that the ending had me near tears. It is hard to imagine that a man that has brought so much joy and creativity into the world that he would have died on a bed of loneliness. It was also sad for me to hear that the relationship between him and C.S. Lewis had fallen out and Lewis passed away before there could ever be any "rewrites" to make up for the past trespasses.
All in all this is one of the better biographies out and I will look forward to reading other biographies out there on Tolkien to give a solid comparison to this one.
A Surprisingly Pleasant Read Jun 20, 2007
When I set about to read this book, I greatly feared that I'd be bored before I reached chapter two. Biographies have never seemed particularly appealing, especially those of authors. Yet I really wanted to learn a little more about Tolkien and the influences in his life that led to the creation of Middle Earth, so I prepared to suffer through. Carpenter, however, has a very conversational tone which made the read a pleasure. His use of actual letters, pictures and manuscripts, which the Tolkien family kindly gave him access to, was masterful. The text from those papers he chose to include was illuminating, but didn't weigh down the book as frequent quoting tends to do. Carpenter clearly had a sense of who Tolkien was, especially since he had the pleasure of speaking with the man himself.
Carpenter also understands that most people will be reading this book for a glimpse at the creation of Middle Earth, and gives ample focus to that throughout. But he never lets that detract from tackling the man as a whole, giving the reader a well rounded picture of the man behind the legend; from his childhood and relationship with his mother, to his Oxford days and friendship with C.S. Lewis, to his family life with wife and children. A marvelous read for any fan of Tolkien.
Very enjoyable book Mar 29, 2007
I enjoyed this book very much. I learned a lot about Tolkien, but it wasn't like reading a text book. The book seemed balanced, not overly critical or sickenly flattering.
Spectacular Job Jan 17, 2007
J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the world's most famous and well-known authors. He has and will continue to inspire the written works of others. His famous The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Silmarillion, and his other books about middle-earth have been read by millions everywhere in the world. His books have been translated into over one hundred languages and sold in many countries. Humphrey Carpenter is one of the many people who has always revered and been inspired by Tolkien. He visited Mr. Tolkien and asked him about his life. He wrote this book for others like him who wish to know about Mr. Tolkien's past experiences and what occurred to inspire him to write his fantastic novels. J.R.R. Tolkien had a normal life. He wasn't rich or poor, and he didn't grow up in a powerful family. He grew up with his brother and his parents in South Africa. After his parents died, Tolkien fought in the First World War. During this time, Tolkien had to support his brother and his family. He had to take courage and stand up for what was right. This is much like the role and attitude of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird. Afterwards, Tolkien taught at Oxford, where he and other college professors, including C.S. Lewis, formed a group called "The Inklings." Mr. Tolkien started writing The Hobbit, and eventually, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This book shows how Tolkien had a normal life; having hardships like everyone else does, as well as positive experiences. Tolkien by Humphrey Carpenter is a great read for anyone who is considering a career in writing, as well as anyone who loves Mr. Tolkien's books. Humphrey Carpenter does a great job of outlining Mr. Tolkien's life and achievements. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I believe that anyone can read this book. Mr. Carpenter used great vocabulary, and he had great development of his writing. I send my compliments to Mr. Carpenter for his spectacular job of writing this book.
J.R. R. Jan 12, 2007
I love biographies. This author was one of the few whom actually was able to meet the man, if you have not read it, please do, you will love it.