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Book Details

Tolkien: A Biography

71.4% complete
1977
1984
1 time
See 38
I - A Visit
II - 1892-1916: Early Years
1 - Bloemfontein
2 - Birmingham
3 - 'Private lang.' - and Edith
4 - 'T.C., B.S., etc.'
5 - Oxford
6 - Reunion
7 - War
8 - The breaking of the fellowship
III - 1917-1925: The making of a mythology
1 - Lost Tales
2 - Oxford interlude
3 - Northern venture
IV - 1925-1949(i): 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit'
1 - Oxford life
2 - Photographs observed
3 - 'He had been inside language'
4 - Jack
5 - Northmoor Road
6 - The storyteller
V - 1925-1949(ii): The Third Age
1 - Enter Mr Baggins
2 - 'The new Hobbit'
VI - 1949-1966: Success
1 - Slamming the gates
2 - A big risk
3 - Cash or kudos
VII - 1959-1973: Last years
1 - Headington
2 - Bournemouth
3 - Merton Street
VIII - The Tree
Appendix A - Simplified geneological table
Appendix B - Chronology of events
Appendix C - The published writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Appendix D - Sources and acknowledgments
Index
Book Cover
Has a genre Has a synopsis Has a year read Has a rating In my library 
49
No series
Copyright © 1977 by George Allen & Unwin (Publishers) Ltd.
Dedicated to the memory of
'The T.C.B.S'
It is mid-morning on a spring day in 1967.
May contain spoilers
'It's a gift!' he said.
No comments on file
Synopsis (may contain spoilers)
The authorized biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  This is an in-depth history of his life which also includes the beginnings and development of the fantasy world known as Middle-earth.  Included are also several photographs.

Extract not on file

 

Added: 22-Dec-2002
Last Updated: 05-Feb-2023

Publications

 12-Aug-1978
Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback
In my libraryI read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
12-Aug-1978
Format:
Mass Market Paperback
Cover Price:
$2.50
Pages*:
327
Read:
Once
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
49
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-27256-0
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-27256-0
Printing:
1
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Credits:
Billett Potter - Cover Photographer
"A TREASURE!"
CHICAGO TRIBUNE BOOK WORLD

"EXCELLENT BIOGRAPHY... SUCCEEDS REMARKABLY."
NEWSWEEK

Tracing Tolkien's life through diaries, private papers, letters and living memory, this is a vivid portrait of the man who created a whole magical world beloved to millions.  Answering the thousands of questions a whole generation of readers has asked, this authorized telling of Tolkien's life illuminates his epic work and provides a wonderful introduction for those who have never met hobbits, wizards, dragons, elves and orcs who populate Middle-earth.

"A PANORAMA OF VIGNETTES DONE WITH POISE AND EXHAUSTIVE COMMAND... CARPENTER HAS AN EYE FOR MAGIC...  IN HIS CHARGE A 'QUITE LIFE' BECOMES AN IN-DEPTH ACT OF RELISH."
THE WASHINGTON POST

"A VALUABLE LITERARY BIOGRAPHY... NOT ONLY A SPLENDID SUPPLEMENT TO THE EPIC, BUT JUST ABOUT THE BEST BOOK OF ITS KIND..."
NATIONAL OBSERVER
Cover:
Book CoverBook Back CoverBook Spine
Notes and Comments:
I read this in high school because I wanted to learn more about J.R.R. Tolkien.  I then used it as a reference for my term paper.
 01-Jun-2000
Houghton Mifflin Company
Trade Paperback
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Jun-2000
Format:
Trade Paperback
Pages*:
304
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
139
ISBN:
0-618-05702-1
ISBN-13:
978-0-618-05702-3
Country:
United States
Language:
English
THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF THE CREATOR OF MIDDLE-EARTH

In the decades since Tolkien's death in September 1973, millions have read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion and have become fascinated with 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 World War I, surviving the Battle of the Somme, where he lost many of his closest friends he'd ever had.  After the war he returned to academic life, achieving greater repute as a scholar and university teacher and 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.  Using 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 one of the twentieth century's most cherished authors.

"J.R.R. Tolkien left his impress upon a whole generation as few recent writers have done... and excellent biography."  - Newsweek

"A panorama of vignettes done with poise and exhaustive command.  A man emerges whole."  -  Washington Post Book World

"One of the most interesting and readable biographies of a literary figure."  -  The Times
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:

Related

Author(s)

 Humphrey Carpenter
Birth: 29 Apr 1946 Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Death: 04 Jan 2005 Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Notes:
Humphrey Carpenter bio from: BBC Radio 3

Humphrey Carpenter joined the BBC from university as a general trainee in 1968, and worked for several years as a local radio producer and presenter in his home city of Oxford before leaving the BBC staff to write the authorised biography of J R R Tolkien. This proved to be the beginning of a busy career as an author - among the other lives he has written is that of Benjamin Britten - and he also writes the highly successful series of Mr Majeika children's books.

Humphrey says he was 'gradually lured back' into radio to present various arts programmes; he introduced the very first edition of Radio 3's Night Waves in 1992. Soon afterwards he found himself presenting the occasional edition of In Tune - 'a very daunting experience at first,' he says, 'because at the time I felt I knew next to nothing about classical music.' In fact he had played the tuba in school and student symphony orchestras, not to mention dabbling in percussion, double bass, trombone, piano and even organ ('but I can't pedal properly with my feet'). He also ran a 1920s and 1930s style dance band, Vile Bodies, from 1983 to 1990, which was resident at London's Ritz Hotel for many years - Humphrey wrote a large proportion of the band's arrangements.He still lives in Oxford, and still convenes a band now and then - 'for bar mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, that sort of thing' - himself nowadays chiefly playing the bass saxophone. 'My elder daughter caught the musical bug,' he says, 'and nearly became a professional double bass player. Wisely, I think, she's now decided to keep music as a hobby.' According to Who's Who, Humphrey's own hobby is sleep, and 'exploring decayed railway junctions'.

Awards

No awards found
*
  • I try to maintain page numbers for audiobooks even though obviously there aren't any. I do this to keep track of pages read and I try to use the Kindle version page numbers for this.
  • Synopses marked with an asterisk (*) were generated by an AI. There aren't a lot since this is an iffy way to do it - AI seems to make stuff up.
  • When specific publication dates are unknown (ie prefixed with a "Cir"), I try to get the publication date that is closest to the specific printing that I can.
  • When listing chapters, I only list chapters relevant to the story. I will usually leave off Author Notes, Indices, Acknowledgements, etc unless they are relevant to the story or the book is non-fiction.
  • Page numbers on this site are for the end of the main story. I normally do not include appendices, extra material, and other miscellaneous stuff at the end of the book in the page count.






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