The Influence and Legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien

TLDR J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Lord of the Rings, has had a profound impact on literature, popular culture, and our understanding of the Middle Ages. His work, rooted in his scholarly study of languages and history, has both critics and devoted fans, with themes of war, technology, industrialization, and environmental concerns, as well as a spiritual dimension.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 J.R.R. Tolkien is a significant historical figure because his book, The Lord of the Rings, is the single bestselling English language book of the 20th century and one of the most influential books in the world.
05:39 J.R.R. Tolkien's books have had a significant influence on literature, popular culture, and the understanding of the Middle Ages due to their themes of war, technology, industrialization, and environmental concerns, as well as his scholarly work on early medieval language and history.
10:15 Tolkien's work is rooted in his scholarly study of languages and history, and he has often been the subject of polls and debates about his literary merit and popularity, with some critics condescending towards him, but his books have a strong appeal and a spiritual dimension that cannot be ignored.
14:36 J.R.R. Tolkien, an English writer with German ancestry, was born in South Africa and later moved to a village in North Worcestershire, where he developed a deep emotional connection to the rural landscape and a strong aversion to the encroachment of industrialization.
19:25 J.R.R. Tolkien develops a sentimental attachment to his childhood home, which serves as the prototype for the Shire, but is forced to move closer to Birmingham due to his academic and religious needs, resulting in a loss of his idyllic surroundings and a sense of falling away from grace.
24:05 J.R.R. Tolkien attends King Edwards Birmingham school, joins the Cadet Force, and develops a fascination with Germanic languages, while also forming the Tea Club Barovian Society with his friends.
28:47 J.R.R. Tolkien and his friends at Oxford form a group devoted to high-minded medievalism, which becomes central to their intense friendship and their sense of importance in their pursuits, including Tolkien's early writings.
33:52 J.R.R. Tolkien serves in the Signals and learns to handle pigeons, but is eventually drawn into the horror of the Battle of the Somme, which becomes a searing and life-defining experience for him and influences his later writings.
38:59 After being invalided out of the war due to trench fever, Tolkien spends the rest of his time recuperating and is inspired to write stories that are influenced by his experiences in the war, particularly his love story with his wife Edith and the themes of mortality and immortality.
43:57 Tolkien is inspired to fill the gap in English literature by creating his own mythology, influenced by Finnish and Norse tales, and believes that England was once the home of the elves.
48:49 Tolkien and James Joyce both use language to express important truths about the instability of things, with Tolkien's use of language in "Lord of the Rings" paralleling Joyce's use of language in "Ulysses" to convey the evolution of English and the different periods of history represented by different characters.
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