On this day 130 years ago, the man popularly identified as the father of modern fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkien, was born, sparking generations of music, television, and epic fantasy.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892.
The English philologist, poet, and academic wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – two creations that helped popularise the fantasy genre and would later be turned into huge blockbuster films.
From Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin to best-selling horror novelist Stephen King, many artists have revealed Tolkien had a lasting influence on their work.
Martin says he regularly revisits the Lord of the Rings.
“I revere Lord of the Rings. I re-read it every few years,” he said in 2014.
“It had an enormous effect on me as a kid. In some sense, when I started this saga I was replying to Tolkien, but even more to his modern imitators.”
So detailed were Tolkien’s works that after his death in 1973, his son Christopher published works based on his unpublished manuscripts, translations and notes.
Perhaps the most popular of these posthumous works were The Silmarillion, a collection of mythopoeic stories relating to the history of Middle-earth, and a translation of Beowulf, published almost 90 years after Tolkien’s original releases.
Horror mastermind King said readers had never tired of the Middle-earth that Tolkien created despite his writing more than 1000 pages related to this universe.
“Even after a thousand pages we don’t want to leave the world the writer has made for us, or the make-believe people who live there,” King said of Tolkien’s work in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
“You wouldn’t leave after 2000 pages, if there were 2000. The Rings trilogy of J.R.R.Tolkien is a perfect example of this.
“A thousand pages of hobbits hasn’t been enough for three generations of post-World War II fantasy fans; even when you add in that clumsy, galumphing dirigible of an epilogue, The Silmarillion, it hasn’t been enough.”