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J.R.R. Tolkien’s full name is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the first thing many people think of when where talking about “Tolkien is The Lord Of The Rings” and “The Hobbit”. But not many know that Tolkien Knew about 10 languages, among them was old Welsh and Finnish.
In 1891 Mabel Suffield finally left Birmingham and headed for South-Africa to marry Arthur Tolkien, they had already been engaged for three years. Arthur moved there to work in the diamond-industry after having economic problems home in Birmingham.
Mabel didn’t like South Africa, in letters she described Bloemfontein (the city they lived in) as a howling desert and a terrible wilderness.
The 3 of January the got a son, they called him “John” after his grandfather, “Ronald” because Mabel wanted it, and Reuel, which was his fathers middle name. In all it became John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, but the family only called him Ronald, and lather his friends started calling him John Ronald.
In 1894 Ronald got a little brother, his name was Hilary Arthur Reuel. Ronald and Mabel hated the dry desert in Africa, so Mabel and the two boys moved back to England. Arthur was going to com later, but because of rheumatic fever he never made it, he died in 1896. Short time after Arthur’s death, Ronald’s grandfather also died, and Ronald lost his closest contact with the Tolkien family. But he got really close to the Suffield’s after some time, and later he said “Even if I’m a Tolkien in my name, I’m a Suffield in taste, abilities and upbringing.
The summer 1986 Mabel Tolkien found a cheap house that the family could rent. The house was it in Sharehold, a small idyllic village, they lived there for years.
There was one big thing that changed their lives, Mabel became a catholic.
Mabel’s father hated the thought of his daughter being a papist, so she couldn’t hope for financial help from the family. But she stuck to Catholicism and thought it to Ronald and Hilary too. In 1900 Tolkien began at King Edward’s, the best Latin school in England. An uncle in the Tolkien family paid the school money. The problem was that the school was 6 kilometers from Sharehole, and Ronald had to walk all the way because the train was too expensive. This could not go on, so just before New Year they moved to the city. They moved to a small house in Mosley, Ronald described the house as an awful house. But soon they moved to a nice villa in a nicer neighborhood. In 1902 they moved again, they moved to a house with a catholic Latin school and a church as neighbors. Here was Francis Xavier Morgan, and soon he became a good friend of the family.
The school here had a much lower standard than King Edward’s, so Mabel took Ronald out of school. He tutored Ronald herself for a year, and this was so successful that he got a scholarship at King Edward’s again. There he was placed in 6’Th grade, and started learning Greek. There he found out that he appreciated and loved languages.
!904 didn’t start very well, Ronald and Hilary were bedfast and Mabel had to take care of them. This became too much for Mabel, in April she was put in a hospital with the diagnosis diabetes. She became better and spent a wonderful summer with father Francis, but November the 14’Th she died, only 34 years old.
After Mabel died Father Francis became guardian for the two boys, that turned out to be a clever choice. Mabel left 800 pound in investing, but Father Francis invested more money so the boy’s future was secured. The boys moved to their aunt Beatrice Suffield, but every morning they ran to Father Francis to help him with the fair. At school Ronald got a new friend, Christopher Wiseman. They met after 5th grade when Tolkien became first and Wiseman became second on the examination. They both where interested in rugby and languages, and they became very good friends. In 1904 they began in fist grade (the highest grade), there the syllabus most contained of Latin and Greek, they where very happy about that. He now read Anglo-Saxon, Middle English and some small plays in Old Norwegian. He started to construct his own small languages like nevtull:
Dar fys vel gom co palt: ”Hoc
Pys og iskili far maino woc?
Pro si og fys roc de
Do cat ym maino bocte
De volt fact soc ma taimful gyroc!”
(There was an old man who said: How / can I carry my cow? / should I ask it / go up in my basket / it would give me a terrible muh!)
As Tolkien grew older he made more advanced languages, in those languages he didn’t just copy word from other languages he knew but he made up new words. In 1908 Ronald and Hilary moved away from their aunt, they didn’t feel happy there so Father Francis found a room for the two boys in a boarding house. In the storey under them there lived another orphan, she was 19 years and her name was Edith. Edith and the boys became very good friends, and even if Ronald was only sixteen years and Edith was nineteen they had a love affair.
When Father Francis found out about the relationship he forbids it, this helped on Ronald’s concentration but he failed the exam on Oxford and didn’t get a scholarship. The next year he got a scholarship at Oxford University, Exeter College in 1910. Here he started studying kalevala, the Finnish mythology. When Tolkien where 21 years he sent a letter to Edith, but on the letter he got back it stood that Edith was engaged with somebody else. Ronald became totally crushed, so he went to Edith and asked her if she would marry him instead. She said yes, but they didn’t tell the family at first because they where afraid of their reaction. Edith became a catholic and March the 22nd in 1916 they got married. In 1916 the First Word War began, and Ronald had joined the army just before they got married. Tolkien wasn’t in the war a long time because he got trench fever and was send home, but 3 of his closest friends was killed during the war. Tolkien loved his country, but he hated that it had no mythology, so he started creating one. He made up many stories, and most of them you find in “The book of lost tales”, but some of them are also in “The Sillmarilion”. The languages the elves spoke he had constructed himself, he later said that the stories where made for the languages, not the opposite. The work with the book went slow, he had a lot of things to, and he was never happy with what he had written. He made about 5 to 10 different outlines of each of his stories. November 16’Th, Edith and Tolkien got a son. They named him John Francis Reuel, “Francis in honor of Father Francis who had been a close friend of Ronald. In 1918 the family moved to Oxford, there he started working on an etymological book. Later when financial situation got better they rented a small house, Ronald stopped working on the etymological book and worked on “The Sillmarilion” instead. Edith got another son not long after the moved in to the house, he was named Michael Hilary Reuel. In 1922 Tolkien and his colleague Eric Valentine Gordon wrote “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. That book became an important part of the studies for those who studied old English literature. Tolkien didn’t manage to complete “The Sillmarilion”, but his career moved forward. In 1924, at an age of 32 years he became professor in English. Lather that year Edith gave birth to another son, Christopher Reuel. In 1929 his first daughter is born, her name became Priscilla Tolkien. In 1931-32 Tolkien wrote “The Hobbit”, it was first meant as a story for his children but when his publishing firm saw the script they wanted to publish it. “The Hobbit” became a huge success and it was sold out in a few weeks. Since the book became such a success the sent “The Sillmarilion” to the publishing firm but they wanted something with Hobbit’s in it. Tolkien started with another book whit Hobbit’s in but the work went slow, and he often had pauses in a year before he touched the script.
In 1944 he started working regularly on the book because of his friend C. S. Lewis. In 1945 he was almost finish with the book, but first in 1947 he sent the temporary version to the publishing firm, and the same winter it was complete. Tolkien had now used twelve years on “The Lord of the Rings” and he was almost 60 years old. Because Tolkien wanted to publish “The Sillmarilion” before “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Lord of the Rings” wasn’t published before 1954. Tolkien retired in 1959, he hadn’t finished “The Sillmarilion”, but now the publishing firm wanted it. Ronald and Edith moved to Bournemouth in 1968. Here he continued on ”The Sillmarilion” but now all had to go together with “The Lord of the Rings” so the work was much harder. In 1971, 3 years after thy moved to Bournemouth, Edit died because of infection in the gall bladder. Tolkien moved back to Oxford and became a professor at Merton College, but he was getting old. He died September the 2’nd 1973, 81 years old. In 1977, about three years after Tolkien’s death, “The Sillmarilion” was published.