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Christopher Tolkien

Wikipedia Reference Information

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (born 21 November 1924) is the youngest son of the author J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), and is best known as the editor of much of his father's posthumously published work. He drew the original maps for his father's The Lord of the Rings, which he signed C. J. R. T. The J. stands for John, a baptismal name that he does not ordinarily use.

Life

Christopher Tolkien was born in Leeds, England, the third and youngest son of J. R. R. Tolkien. He was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and then at the Oratory School. During World War II, he served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, after which he read English at Oxford University.

He had long been part of the critical audience for his father's fiction, first as a child listening to tales of Bilbo Baggins, and then as a teenager and young adult offering much feedback on The Lord of the Rings during its 15-year gestation. He had the task of interpreting his father's sometimes self-contradictory maps of Middle-earth in order to produce the versions used in the books, and he re-drew the main map in the late 1970s to clarify the lettering and correct some errors and omissions.

Later, Tolkien followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a lecturer and tutor in English Language at New College, Oxford from 1964 to 1975.

In 2001, he received some attention for his resistance to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. He expressed doubts over the viability of a film interpretation that retained the essence of the work, but stressed that this was just his opinion.

Christopher Tolkien currently lives in France with his second wife, Baillie Tolkien, who edited J. R. R.'s The Father Christmas Letters for posthumous publication. They have two children, Adam Tolkien and Rachel Tolkien. His eldest son by his first marriage, Simon Tolkien, is a barrister and novelist.

Work

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a great deal of material connected to the Middle-earth mythos that was not published in his lifetime. Although he had originally intended to publish The Silmarillion along with The Lord of the Rings, and parts of it were in a finished state, he died in 1973 with the project unfinished.

After his father's death, Christopher Tolkien embarked on organizing the masses of his father's notes, some of them written on odd scraps of paper a half-century earlier. Much of the material was handwritten; frequently a fair draft was written over a half-erased first draft, and names of characters routinely changed between the beginning and end of the same draft. Deciphering this was an arduous task, and perhaps only someone with personal experience of J. R. R. Tolkien and the evolution of his stories could have made any sense of it. Christopher Tolkien has admitted to having to occasionally guess at what his father intended.

Working with Guy Gavriel Kay, he was able to complete The Silmarillion, which was published in 1977. The Silmarillion is a hotly debated work, because much of its final form was edited by Christopher Tolkien to fit the Middle-earth canon. The Silmarillion was followed by Unfinished Tales in 1980, and the twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth between 1983 and 1996.

In September 2006, Christopher Tolkien announced the completion of a new book, The Children of Húrin, based on notes left by his father dating from 1918. He spent 30 years working on the project, which was published in April 2007.

The complete, up-to-date and editable article about Christopher Tolkien can be found at Wikipedia: Christopher Tolkien
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Tolkien




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