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Christopher Tolkien

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[[Image:Christopher Tolkien.jpg|thumb|300px|An image of ''Christopher Tolkien'', source unknown.]]
 
[[Image:Christopher Tolkien.jpg|thumb|300px|An image of ''Christopher Tolkien'', source unknown.]]
'''Christopher Reuel Tolkien''' (born November 21, 1924) is best known as the son of author [[J.R.R. Tolkien]], and 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.
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'''Christopher Reuel Tolkien''' (born November 21, 1924) is the third child and youngest son of [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] and [[Edith Tolkien]].  
  
Chistopher Tolkien was born in [[Leeds]], England, the third 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]].
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==Early life==
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He was named after his father's friend, [[Christopher Wiseman]]. He also sometimes uses his confirmation name, "John" as seen on his initials of maps of [[The Lord of the Rings]], "CJRT". He was born in [[Leeds]] and raised in [[Oxford]] and went to the the Dragon School in Oxford and Oratory School in Caversham, Berkshire. Due to a heart ailment he was forced to stay at home and work with a private tutor. He enjoyed watching stars with a telescope as well as a passion for railways. As early as four and five, Christopher was concerned with the consistency of [[The Hobbit]].
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{{quote|Last time, you said BIlbo's front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on his hood, but you've justg said that Bilbo's front door was green and that Thorin's hood was silver|Christopher Tolkien, foreword to The Hobbit}}
  
Christopher had long been part of the critical audience for J.R.R.'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. Christopher himself 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. Christopher re-drew the main map in the late 1970s to clarify the lettering and correct some errors and omissions.
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Christopher proved invaluable towards correcting The Hobbit and was paid twopence a correction.
  
Later the son followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a lecturer and tutor in English Language at [[New College, Oxford]] from 1964 to 1975.
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==Young adulthood==
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In July of 1943 he entered the Royal Air Force and in 1944 he went to South Africa to train as a pilot. His absence did not however slow his contributions to his father's works as his father continually sent him parts of The Lord of the Rings to go over. In 1945 he returned to England and was stationed in Shropshire and later that year he returned to Oxford. On October 9th, 1945 his father informed him that the [[Inklings]] wished to consider him a permanent member. The task of reading The Lord of the Rings to the Inklings was passed on to Christopher and it was generally agreed that he was a better reader than his father.
  
J.R.R. had written 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.
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==Adulthood==
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In 1946 Christopher returned to Trinity College to resume his studies and reading English. For a while his tutor was none other than [[C.S. Lewis]]. His thesis was a translation of ''The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise'' and he received his B.A. in 1949. Christopher also became a lecturer in Old and Middle English as well as Old Icelandic at Oxford. He worked as an editor on Chaucer's ''Canterbury Tales, the ''Pardoner's Tale'', and the ''Nun's Priest's Tale''. From 1963 to 1975 he was a Fellow of New College, Oxford but resigned when he began to devote his time to his father's literary affairs.  
  
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==After his father's death==
 
After his father's death, Christopher 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. and the evolution of his stories could have made any sense of it; even so, Christopher has admitted to having to occasionally guess at what his father intended.
 
After his father's death, Christopher 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. and the evolution of his stories could have made any sense of it; even so, Christopher has admitted to having to occasionally guess at what his father intended.
  
Nevertheless, working with [[Guy Gavriel Kay]], he was able to publish ''[[The Silmarillion]]'' in 1977. This was followed by the twelve volumes of ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'' between 1983 and 1996. He also edited several other volumes of his father's writings.
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With the help of [[Guy Gavriel Kay]] he managed to compile [[The Silmarillion]] in only four years. During this time he also edited is father's translations of [[Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]], and [[Sir Orfeo]]. He also worked on the [[Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings]] which was first published in 1975 as [[Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings]] in [[A Tolkien Compass]].
  
His second wife, [[Baillie Tolkien]], edited J.R.R.'s ''[[The Father Christmas Letters]]'' for posthumous publication.
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Christopher spent the years after continuing to study his father's works and taking the responsibilities of the [[Tolkien Estate]]. He recorded portions of The Silmarillion in 1977 and 1978 which was issued by Caedmon Records, New York. In 1979 he wrote about his father's illustrations and drawings for their publication in Tolkien calendars and [[Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien]]. Through 1980 and 1983 Christopher edited [[Unfinished Tales]], [[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]], [[The Monsters and Critics and Other Essays]], and [[The Book of Lost Tales Part 1]] which was the first volume in his two volume series of [[The History of Middle-earth]], the last of which was published in 1996. In 1998 he edited a new edition of [[Tree and Leaf]] including the poem [[Mythopoeia]]. His latest publication has been the editing of [[The Children of Húrin]] which was published in 2007.
  
His eldest son, [[Simon Tolkien]], is a barrister and novelist.  
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==Family==
He has compilled a book of letters to and from his father, mother, and himself. '''Christopher''' also has finished the story of [[The Children of Húrin]], which will be published in early 2007.
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Christopher's first wife, Faith (1928) took an English degree at Oxford and they had one son, [[Simon Tolkien]]. A bust of Tolkien by Faith was exhibited at the Royal Academy, which Tolkien kindly paid for its casting in bronze.
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Christopher's second wife, Baillie (1941), is the daughter of one of Tolkien's friends, [[Alan Klass]] and for a brief period she was Tolkien's secretary. She was responsible for the section on poetry in the 1965 index to The Lord of the Rings. She later edited [[The Father Christmas Letters]]. Christopher and her had two children, [[Adam Tolkien]] and [[Rachel Tolkien]].
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==

Revision as of 02:17, 27 April 2007

An image of Christopher Tolkien, source unknown.

Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born November 21, 1924) is the third child and youngest son of J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Tolkien.

Contents

Early life

He was named after his father's friend, Christopher Wiseman. He also sometimes uses his confirmation name, "John" as seen on his initials of maps of The Lord of the Rings, "CJRT". He was born in Leeds and raised in Oxford and went to the the Dragon School in Oxford and Oratory School in Caversham, Berkshire. Due to a heart ailment he was forced to stay at home and work with a private tutor. He enjoyed watching stars with a telescope as well as a passion for railways. As early as four and five, Christopher was concerned with the consistency of The Hobbit.

"Last time, you said BIlbo's front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on his hood, but you've justg said that Bilbo's front door was green and that Thorin's hood was silver"
― Christopher Tolkien, foreword to The Hobbit

Christopher proved invaluable towards correcting The Hobbit and was paid twopence a correction.

Young adulthood

In July of 1943 he entered the Royal Air Force and in 1944 he went to South Africa to train as a pilot. His absence did not however slow his contributions to his father's works as his father continually sent him parts of The Lord of the Rings to go over. In 1945 he returned to England and was stationed in Shropshire and later that year he returned to Oxford. On October 9th, 1945 his father informed him that the Inklings wished to consider him a permanent member. The task of reading The Lord of the Rings to the Inklings was passed on to Christopher and it was generally agreed that he was a better reader than his father.

Adulthood

In 1946 Christopher returned to Trinity College to resume his studies and reading English. For a while his tutor was none other than C.S. Lewis. His thesis was a translation of The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise and he received his B.A. in 1949. Christopher also became a lecturer in Old and Middle English as well as Old Icelandic at Oxford. He worked as an editor on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the Pardoner's Tale, and the Nun's Priest's Tale. From 1963 to 1975 he was a Fellow of New College, Oxford but resigned when he began to devote his time to his father's literary affairs.

After his father's death

After his father's death, Christopher 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. and the evolution of his stories could have made any sense of it; even so, Christopher has admitted to having to occasionally guess at what his father intended.

With the help of Guy Gavriel Kay he managed to compile The Silmarillion in only four years. During this time he also edited is father's translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Sir Orfeo. He also worked on the Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings which was first published in 1975 as Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings in A Tolkien Compass.

Christopher spent the years after continuing to study his father's works and taking the responsibilities of the Tolkien Estate. He recorded portions of The Silmarillion in 1977 and 1978 which was issued by Caedmon Records, New York. In 1979 he wrote about his father's illustrations and drawings for their publication in Tolkien calendars and Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien. Through 1980 and 1983 Christopher edited Unfinished Tales, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Monsters and Critics and Other Essays, and The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 which was the first volume in his two volume series of The History of Middle-earth, the last of which was published in 1996. In 1998 he edited a new edition of Tree and Leaf including the poem Mythopoeia. His latest publication has been the editing of The Children of Húrin which was published in 2007.

Family

Christopher's first wife, Faith (1928) took an English degree at Oxford and they had one son, Simon Tolkien. A bust of Tolkien by Faith was exhibited at the Royal Academy, which Tolkien kindly paid for its casting in bronze.

Christopher's second wife, Baillie (1941), is the daughter of one of Tolkien's friends, Alan Klass and for a brief period she was Tolkien's secretary. She was responsible for the section on poetry in the 1965 index to The Lord of the Rings. She later edited The Father Christmas Letters. Christopher and her had two children, Adam Tolkien and Rachel Tolkien.

See also

External links