Literary Birthday – 3 January – J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was born 3 January 1892, and died 2 September 1973.

J.R.R. Tolkien: 10 Quotes

  1. I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighbourhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fafnir was richer and beautiful at whatever cost of peril.
  2. It’s the job that’s never started takes longest to finish.
  3. I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.
  4. I learned more in those two years than in any other equal period of my life. (On his time spent working on the New English Dictionary)
  5. Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
  6. I am told that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it.
  7. The unpayable debt that I owe to him [C.S. Lewis] was not ‘influence’ as it is ordinarily understood, but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. Only from him did I ever get the idea that my ‘stuff’ could be more than a private hobby.
  8. If you’re going to have a complicated story you must work to a map; otherwise you’ll never make a map of it afterwards.
  9. The news today about ‘Atomic bombs’ is so horrifying one is stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the world! Such explosives in men’s hands, while their moral and intellectual status is declining, is about as useful as giving out firearms to all inmates of a gaol and then saying that you hope ‘this will ensure peace’. But one good thing may arise out of it, I suppose, if the write-ups are not overheated: Japan ought to cave in. Well we’re in God’s hands. But He does not look kindly on Babel-builders.
  10. A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa but moved to England as a child. He was a writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known for the classic high fantasy works: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. The success of his novels led to a popular resurgence of the fantasy genre and Tolkien is referred to as the ‘father’ of modern fantasy Fiction. The Oxford companion to English Literature called him “the greatest influence within the fantasy genre. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945‘.

Suggested reading:

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers
  2. The Greatest Fictional World Builders: J.R.R. Tolkien

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by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd January 2013