John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer and philologist. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. From 1925 to 1945, Tolkien was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and a Fellow of Pembroke College, both at the University of Oxford. He then moved to the same university to become the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and a Fellow of Merton College.
He held these positions from 1945 until his retirement in 1959. Tolkien was a close friend of C. S. Lewis, a co-member of the informal literary discussion group The Inklings. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. Together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, these form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth.
Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the more significant part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused him to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy.
Tolkien's fantasy books on Middle-earth, especially The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, drew on many influences, including his philological interest in language, Christianity, mythology, archaeology, ancient and modern literature, and personal experience. His philological work centered on studying Old English literature, especially Beowulf, and he acknowledged its importance to his writings. In addition, he was a gifted linguist, influenced by Germanic, Celtic, Finnish, and Greek languages and mythology.