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1000 Black Lines

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J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday

It's the birthday of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien.... He was a professor of philology, the study of the derivation of languages, at Oxford... fluent in classical Greek and Latin, Old Norse, Old English, medieval Welsh and Anglo-Saxon, and an ancient form of German called Gothic, among other ancient European languages....

Many critics now consider Lord of the Rings to be one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written. But after the 12 years it took to write, Tolkien wasn't sure anyone would want to read The Lord of the Rings. He wrote, "My work has escaped from my control. I have produced a monster ... a complex, rather bitter and rather terrifying romance."

The book was moderately successful when the first volume came out in 1954, but it didn't become a huge best-seller until the 1960s when American college students fell in love with it.

J.R.R. Tolkien said, "Literature stops in 1100. After that it's only books."

--from today's The Writer's Almanac

Between the Lord of the Rings, Conan and Elric books, I was able to survive high school.

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