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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was an English writer, poet, and philologist best known for his works of high fantasy, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He was born in South Africa and raised in England, where he studied at Oxford University and later became a professor of Anglo-Saxon and English at the same institution.
Tolkien began writing stories as a child, and his love of language and mythology would later influence his fictional works. His first published work was a poem called "Goblin Feet" in the literary magazine Oxford Poetry in 1915. During World War I, Tolkien served in the British Army and later returned to academia.
In the 1930s, Tolkien began working on The Hobbit, a children's book that would eventually become a classic of fantasy literature. Published in 1937, The Hobbit tells the story of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who embarks on a quest to help a group of dwarves reclaim their treasure from a dragon.
Tolkien's next major work was The Lord of the Rings, a trilogy published in the mid-1950s that continues the story of Middle-earth, the setting of The Hobbit. The books follow the quest of hobbit Frodo Baggins to destroy the One Ring, a powerful artifact created by the dark lord Sauron to conquer Middle-earth.
Tolkien also worked on other stories set in Middle-earth, including The Silmarillion, which tells the history of the world and the creation of the first elves, and various unfinished tales collected in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.
Tolkien's work has had a significant impact on the fantasy genre, with many authors citing him as a major influence. The popularity of his works has also led to adaptations in other media, including films, television series, and video games.
In addition to his writing, Tolkien was a respected scholar of language and literature, with a particular interest in Old English and Norse mythology. His academic work includes editions of medieval texts and a seminal lecture series on Beowulf, which has been published as a book.