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Tolkien's first encounter with fighting was in France, in the Battle of the Somme, which is remembered as the bloodiest battle ever fought in history. On the first day of the battle nineteen weeks before Tolkien arrived, nineteen thousand British troops were killed.
By the time the battle was over more than eight hundred thousand of the British had been killed. When Tolkien arrived he was stationed nearby in the town of Bouzincourt, where he waited to be sent into the front lines of battle.
While he waited, Tolkien came across a most unexpected and pleasant surprise. One of his fellow members of the T. Smith arrived in the town for a brief rest. He had already been in the front line of the battle and fortunately returned uninjured. His company had been pulled back to rest before returning to battle. Over the next few days, the friends talked much about life, poetry, and war. Before long Tolkien's battalion given orders to go into battle. Tolkien and Smith said goodbye for the last time. Even though the battle had raged on for many weeks, and bodies had been mounting, the Thirteenth Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers marched forward with high moral.
They were fighting for the freedom of their country and maybe even for the freedom of the world. They had been told that the battle was nearly over, as advance troops had surely dismantled the German defenses. It turned out that the advanced troops had failed, and when Tolkien arrived on the battle field he found a scene that he described as pure animal horror. A sea of dead and dying men covered the once beautiful French countryside that had been stripped bare of all things lovely and replaced with mud, trenches, and burned blackened trees.
The British troops continued to advance, but many of Tolkien's company were killed and the assault did not rout the Germans. Fortunately, Tolkien survived and was sent back to Bouzincourt to recuperate. When he arrived there he found a letter from G. Smith informing him that Rob Gilson had been killed in battle.
The T. Over the next three months Tolkien's battalion alternately advanced into battle, and retreated to the town to regroup. Tolkien never forgot the brutality and horror of the battle. Many years later he drew on these memories to create his own lands. At older age Tolkien showed rejection of the poem "Goblin Feet". John Ronald Ruel Tolkien.
The Letters of J. Humphrey Carpenter. First Houghton Mifflin paper back New York: Houghton Mifflin, Houghton Mifflin Movie Edition. Tolkien Books written by J. Tolkien Books edited, translated, or with contributions by J. Tolkien Books with Published Letters by J. Books about J. Tolkien Translations of Tolkien's work. Books by J. There is a wealth of good storytelling and mythmaking here. For those who love The Lord of the Rings, there are hobbits in the Shire, elves sailing west, and enough familiar places to give one the feel of Middle Earth as the setting.
Bibliography: Stuart p. The Importance of J. Lucent Books, Tolkien completed The Lord of the Rings in , close to a decade after the first sketches. Tolkien also translated the Book of Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible , which was published in Tolkien was very devoted to his children and sent them illustrated letters from Father Christmas when they were young. Each year more characters were added, such as the North Polar Bear Father Christmas's helper , the Snow Man his gardener , Ilbereth the elf his secretary , and various other, minor characters.
The major characters would relate tales of Father Christmas's battles against goblins who rode on bats and the various pranks committed by the North Polar Bear. During his life in retirement, from up to his death in , Tolkien received steadily increasing public attention and literary fame. In , his friend C. Lewis even nominated him for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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Fan attention became so intense that Tolkien had to take his phone number out of the public directory,  and eventually he and Edith moved to Bournemouth , which was then a seaside resort patronized by the British upper middle class. Tolkien's status as a best-selling author gave them easy entry into polite society, but Tolkien deeply missed the company of his fellow Inklings.
Tolkien’s Poetry in the Hobbit | Author David Wiley
Edith, however, was overjoyed to step into the role of a society hostess, which had been the reason that Tolkien selected Bournemouth in the first place. According to Humphrey Carpenter :. Those friends who knew Ronald and Edith Tolkien over the years never doubted that there was deep affection between them. It was visible in the small things, the almost absurd degree in which each worried about the other's health, and the care in which they chose and wrapped each other's birthday presents; and in the large matters, the way in which Ronald willingly abandoned such a large part of his life in retirement to give Edith the last years in Bournemouth that he felt she deserved, and the degree in which she showed pride in his fame as an author.
A principal source of happiness to them was their shared love of their family. This bound them together until the end of their lives, and it was perhaps the strongest force in the marriage. They delighted to discuss and mull over every detail of the lives of their children, and later their grandchildren.
Edith Tolkien died on 29 November , at the age of According to Simon Tolkien :. My grandmother died two years before my grandfather and he came back to live in Oxford. Merton College gave him rooms just off the High Street. I went there frequently and he'd take me to lunch in the Eastgate Hotel. Those lunches were rather wonderful for a year-old boy spending time with his grandfather, but sometimes he seemed sad. There was one visit when he told me how much he missed my grandmother.
It must have been very strange for him being alone after they had been married for more than 50 years. When Tolkien died 21 months later on 2 September from a bleeding ulcer and chest infection,  at the age of 81,  he was buried in the same grave, with Beren added to his name. The engravings read:.
Wolvercote Cemetery , Oxford. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic , and in his religious and political views he was mostly a traditionalist moderate, with libertarian , distributist , and monarchist leanings, in the sense of favouring established conventions and orthodoxies over innovation and modernization, whilst castigating government bureaucracy; in he wrote, "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy philosophically understood , meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs —or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy.
Although he did not often write or speak about it, Tolkien advocated the dismantling of the British Empire and even of the United Kingdom. In a letter to a former student, the Belgian linguist Simonne d'Ardenne, he wrote, "The political situation is dreadful I have the greatest sympathy with Belgium—which is about the right size of any country!
I wish my own were bounded still by the seas of the Tweed and the walls of Wales Tolkien had an intense hatred for the side effects of industrialization, which he considered to be devouring the English countryside and simpler life. For most of his adult life, he was disdainful of cars, preferring to ride a bicycle. Many commentators  have remarked on a number of potential parallels between the Middle-earth saga and events in Tolkien's lifetime.
Tolkien ardently rejected this opinion in the foreword to the second edition of the novel, stating he preferred applicability to allegory. He concludes that Christianity itself follows this pattern of inner consistency and external truth. His belief in the fundamental truths of Christianity leads commentators to find Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien objected strongly to C. Lewis's use of religious references in his stories, which were often overtly allegorical. His love of myths and his devout faith came together in his assertion that he believed mythology to be the divine echo of "the Truth".
Tolkien's devout Roman Catholic faith was a significant factor in the conversion of C. Lewis from atheism to Christianity, although Tolkien was dismayed that Lewis chose to join the Church of England. He once wrote in a letter to Rayner Unwin 's daughter Camilla, who wished to know what the purpose of life was, that "[i]t may be said that the chief purpose of life, for any one of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. According to his grandson Simon Tolkien , Tolkien in the last years of his life was disappointed by some of the liturgical reforms and changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council :.
I vividly remember going to church with him in Bournemouth. He was a devout Roman Catholic and it was soon after the Church had changed the liturgy from Latin to English. My grandfather obviously didn't agree with this and made all the responses very loudly in Latin while the rest of the congregation answered in English. I found the whole experience quite excruciating, but my grandfather was oblivious. He simply had to do what he believed to be right.
Tolkien voiced support for the Nationalists eventually led by Franco during the Spanish Civil War upon hearing that communist Republicans were destroying churches and killing priests and nuns. Tolkien was contemptuous of Joseph Stalin. Tolkien said, "I utterly repudiate any such reading , which angers me. The situation was conceived long before the Russian revolution. Such allegory is entirely foreign to my thought.
Letter 163 to W.H. Auden (1955)
Tolkien vocally opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party before the Second World War , and was known to especially despise Nazi racist and anti-semitic ideology. To Tolkien's outrage, he was asked beforehand whether he was of Aryan origin. In a letter to his British publisher Stanley Unwin , he condemned Nazi "race-doctrine" as "wholly pernicious and unscientific". He added that he had many Jewish friends and was considering "letting a German translation go hang".
The more tactful letter was sent and was lost during the later bombing of Germany. In the unsent letter, Tolkien makes the point that " Aryan " is a linguistic term, denoting speakers of Indo-Iranian languages.