On this day in 1973 writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, J.R.R. Tolkien died in Bournemouth, England at the age of 81. Born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free State Province, part of South Africa). Best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis, both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After his father’s death, Tolkien’s son Christopher published a series of works based on his father’s extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the “father” of modern fantasy literature or, more precisely, of high fantasy. Tolkien was married to Edith Mary Bratt (1916 – 1971 her death). The Final Footprint – Tolkien is interred with his wife Edith in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford, England. Their graves are marked by an upright companion granite marker.
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