Christopher Tolkien

Christopher Tolkien
Christopher Reuel Tolkien
Born 21 November 1924 (1924-11-21) (age 87)
Leeds, England, U.K.
Occupation Editor, Novelist, Academic
Genres Fantasy

Christopher Reuel Tolkien (born 21 November 1924) is the third and 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.



Christopher Tolkien was born in Leeds, England, the third and youngest son of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. He was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and then at the Oratory School. He was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in March 1945 and briefly served as a pilot, reaching the rank of Flying Officer, 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 (which were published as The Hobbit), 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.

He published Saga of King Heidrek the Wise: "Translated from the Icelandic with Introduction, Notes and Appendices by Christopher Tolkien" in 1960.[1] 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 stance toward 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.[2]

Christopher Tolkien currently lives in France with his second wife, Baillie Tolkien (née Klass), who edited J. R. R. Tolkien's The Father Christmas Letters for posthumous publication. They have two children, Adam Reuel Tolkien and Rachel Clare Reuel Tolkien. Simon Mario Reuel Tolkien, his son by his first marriage, to Faith Faulconbridge, is a barrister and novelist.

Editorial work on J. R. R. Tolkien's manuscripts

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. Christopher Tolkien has admitted to having occasionally guessed at what his father had intended.[citation needed]

In the years following his father's death in 1973 Christopher Tolkien was able to produce an edition of The Silmarillion for publication in 1977; his assistant for part of this work was the young Guy Gavriel Kay, who would later become a noted fantasy author. Christopher Tolkien had to make some difficult editorial decisions in presenting his father's material, and both he and others have criticized some of these decisions.[3] The Silmarillion was followed by Unfinished Tales in 1980 and The History of Middle-earth in twelve volumes between 1983 and 1996; between HME and UT most of the original source-texts from which the 1977 Silmarillion was constructed have been made public.

In April 2007 Christopher Tolkien published The Children of Húrin, whose story his father had brought to a relatively complete stage between 1951 and 1957 before abandoning it. This was one of J. R. R. Tolkien's earliest stories, its first version dating back to 1918; several versions of the story are published in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth. The Children of Húrin is a synthesis of these and other sources.

In January 2009 HarperCollins announced the forthcoming publication of another J. R. R. Tolkien work edited by Christopher Tolkien: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, a verse retelling of the Norse Völsung cycle. The work was published in May of the same year.

Court case

In 2008 Christopher Tolkien commenced legal proceedings against New Line Cinema, which he claimed owed his family £80 million in unpaid royalties.[4] In September 2009, he and New Line reached an undisclosed settlement, and he has withdrawn his legal objection to The Hobbit film.[5]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Tolkien, Christopher (1960) The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise; translated from the Icelandic with introduction, notes and appendices. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd. ASIN: B000V9BAO0
  2. ^ AP releases statement from Christopher Tolkien (2001)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hobbit movies meet dire foe in son of Tolkien, The Sunday Times, 25 May 2008.
  5. ^ Legal path clear for Hobbit movie, BBC News, 8 September 2009.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Christopher Tolkien — Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (* 21. November 1924 in Leeds) ist ein britischer anglistischer und skandinavistischer Mediävist. Er war Dozent an der Universität Oxford für ältere englische und skandinavische Sprache und Literatur. Tolkien ist… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Christopher Tolkien — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Tolkien (homonymie). Christopher Reuel Tolkien (né le 21 novembre 1924 à Leeds) est le troisième fils de l écrivain britannique J. R. R. Tolkien et son exécuteur littéraire. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Christopher Tolkien — Para otros usos de este término, véase Tolkien (desambiguación). Christopher Tolkien Nombre completo Christopher John Reuel Tolkien …   Wikipedia Español

  • Christopher Tolkien — Christopher John Reuel Tolkien nació el 21 de noviembre de 1924. Es mejor conocido como el hijo del escritor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, y como el editor de la mayor parte del trabajo de su padre, publicado de manera póstuma. Tolkien padre… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tolkien (disambiguation) — Tolkien may refer to: *John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, British author, best known for The Lord of the Rings *2675 Tolkien, an asteroid named after J. R. R. Tolkien *Tolkien Estate, legal body that owns the rights to J. R. R. Tolkien s worksTolkien is… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolkien fandom — is an international, informal community of fans of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially of the Middle earth legendarium which includes The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Fandom implies a subculture marked by youthful… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolkien research — Tolkien studies redirects here. For the journal, see Tolkien Studies The works of J. R. R. Tolkien have generated a body of academic research, studying different facets such as* Tolkien as a writer of fantasy literature * Tolkien s invented… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolkien estate — Le Tolkien Estate est le corps légal qui gère les droits de l œuvre de John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Il contrôle principalement le copyright sur les textes littéraires. Les droits de produits dérivés et d adaptation cinématographique furent vendus… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tolkien (desambiguación) — Tolkien es un apellido británico, de origen alemán, con el que nos podemos estar refiriendo a las siguientes personas: Edith Tolkien (1889 1971), nacida Edith Mary Bratt, esposa del siguiente; J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 1973), escritor británico de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tolkien — ist der Familienname der folgenden Personen Christopher Tolkien (* 1924), Nachlassverwalter seines Vaters J. R. R. Tolkien Edith Tolkien (1889–1971), Ehefrau des britischen Schriftstellers J. R. R. Tolkien J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), britischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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