English writer and scholar J.R.R. Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien

(1892 - 1973)

After entering Oxford University at the age of nineteen and becoming fascinated by the Finnish epic poem the Kaleva, J.R.R. Tolkien served in World War I, later reflecting that “a real taste for fairy stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood and quickened to full life by war” and that “by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.” He taught English literature at Oxford between 1925 and 1959, publishing The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in three parts in 1954 and 1955. It has sold more than 150 million copies in some forty languages.

All Writing


In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is hired by dwarfs to steal a dragon’s treasure. The agreement in the 1937 novel is only two sentences, but the 2012 movie adaptation substantially expanded the contract; souvenir reproductions of the film prop measure five feet in length. One law blogger deemed it to be “pretty well written” despite noticing a certain inconsistency regarding whether Baggins is the dwarfs’ employee or an independent contractor.

Issues Contributed