J R R Tolkien

J R R Tolkien is most famous for writing The Lord of the Rings. “This trilogy is the gold standard in terms of fantasy writing” Philip Reeve.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was also a University of Oxford English Professor and Professor of Anglo-Saxon.

‘Tolkien’s extraordinary achievement was to recover the epic landscapes of Anglo-Saxon myth, bring them back to life, and then to take us through them on foot, so we could see the details up close, at human scale.” Lev Grossman on The Hobbit.

Books by J R R Tolkien

Q: Before we get lost in the mists of myth and fairy tale, tell us about Beren and Lúthien, a book distilled by Christopher Tolkien from his father’s manuscripts and published in June this year, with illustrations by you. It is set 6,500 years before The Lord of the Rings and the love story is mentioned in The Lord of the Rings.


A: Yes, and the love story of Aragorn and Arwen is an extension of it. Beren and Lúthien is based on Tolkien’s own experience. It was inspired by seeing his own wife, Edith, dancing in a wood, under the moonlight, amongst hemlock flowers. And this created an image in his mind that he kept on reworking throughout his life. But that it the central image. When she died he had the name Lúthien inscribed on her gravestone. When Tolkien died, his children inscribed the name Beren on his.

Alan Lee on Books Drawn From Myth and Fairy Tale

Interviews where books by J R R Tolkien were recommended

Cressida Cowell on Magical Stories for Kids

From wizards to alchemy and fairies to folklore, Cressida Cowell reveals the magical stories that were most important to her as a child (and which she now delights in sharing with her own children), and her own inspirations for writing about magic and magical worlds today.

The best books on Fantasy, recommended by Lev Grossman

We’re living through a golden age for fantasy fiction, says the author of The Magicians. Here, he tells us what makes for a good fantasy novel, and who’s staking out the future not just of fantasy but of fiction as a whole.

Books Drawn From Myth and Fairy Tale, recommended by Alan Lee

Alan Lee, illustrator of such classics as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, talks to Five Books about his favourite stories drawn from myth and fairy tale, what they mean to him, and how important it is for young readers today to experience these ancient stories.

The best books on Elves, recommended by Igreth the Elf

Elves are often misunderstood or misrepresented over the Christmas period – Christmas cracker jokes have never been kind to these tiny heroes of the festive season. Here Igreth the Elf, great-great-great-grandson of Ilbereth the Elf, sets the record straight and introduces five children’s books that celebrate the extraordinary contribution these diminutive creatures make to Christmas itself.

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