The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies

By Bernard A. Drew | Go to book overview
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J. R. R. Tolkien

Fantasy

Bloemfontein, South Africa
January 3,1892-September 2,1973

The Hobbit and
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

J. R. R. Tolkien had a profound influence on readers and other writers of fantasy literature.

He “seemed to have drawn his material from the medieval sagas, with their noisy battles between men and monsters and their simple social and moral structure,” observed Alison Lurie. “But the message of The Hobbit (1937) was new. It presented a world in which the forces of evil might at times overcome the forces of good, and the true hero was no longer strong, handsome, aristocratic, and victorious in combat.”

Noting Tolkien's attention to detail, including the use of long appendixes, Lin Carter said, “The end result of all this is simply that Middle-Earth is ever so much more real than [C. S. Lewis's] Narnia, [Clark Ashton Smith's] Zothique, [David Lindsay's] Tormance, or [Edgar Rice Burroughs's] Barsoom. No author in the history of fantasy has created so convincingly detailed and overwhelmingly realistic an imaginary world, and few have ever created so colorful a story.”

“With appeal for all ages, the stories are filled with myth and legend; interesting characters with remarkable names; humor; warmth; and daring,” said Susan Roman.

James Cawthorn and Michael Moorcock included Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy among their 100 best fantasy books, remarking on its impact: “Once upon a time there was a Hobbit.

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