John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892, the elder son of Arthur Tolkien, a bank manager from Birmingham, and Mabel Tolkien (née Suffield), the daughter of a commercial traveller. The Tolkiens (the name, by Tolkien's own account, an anglicised derivative of German


, “foolhardy”;) had emigrated to England from Saxony in the eighteenth century. But by 1892 the Tolkiens were, as Tolkien himself remarked, “intensely English”; and he came, in any case, to identify especially strongly with his mother's family, the Suffields.

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where his father had taken up an appointment with the Bank of Africa. In his fourth year, however, his mother brought her two sons on an extended visit to England; and in Bloemfontein Arthur

1881 words

Citation: Rosebury, Brian. "J. R. R. Tolkien". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [, accessed 19 June 2024.]

4411 J. R. R. Tolkien 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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