Tolkien began writing The Lord of the Rings in 1937, shortly after the publication of The Hobbit, to which it is a sequel on a vastly larger scale. During the 1940s parts of it were read in draft to the Oxford literary circle, “the Inklings”, convened by C.S.Lewis, or sent out to Tolkien's son (and, later, map-maker and editor) Christopher Tolkien, then on military service. It was completed in 1949, but difficulties in negotiations with publishers, and a final process of revision, delayed its appearance for some years. Though it was issued in three volumes—The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), and The Return of the King (1955)—it is a single continuous narrative i…
Rosebury, Brian. "Lord of the Rings". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2001; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3867, accessed 26 April 2015.]