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Description

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) is inarguably the best-known fantasy fiction writer of all time. Born in Bloemfontein, he studied Classics, later transferring to English Language and Literature, at Oxford University. Following service in the Lancashire Fusiliers, Tolkien returned to Oxford where he embarked on an academic career in Philology, English, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Norse. His interest in mythologies and linguistics led to the creation of fantastical worlds, published in classics such as The Hobbit (1937); The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955); and The Silmarillion (1977). Tolkien was inspired by Wales: he conceived the relationship between the heart of The Shire and its eastern fringes as equivalent to the contemporary relationship between England and Wales. This inspired his adaptation of Welsh, grammar, phonology and toponymy for these borderlands. Buckland Hill was almost certainly known to Tolkien: many place names have strangely similar equivalents in the vicinity (e.g. Buckland and Crick Hollow/Crickhowell), whilst others draw on place-based Welsh common nouns (e.g. Chetwood - a tautology since 'chet' derives from 'coed' which is Welsh for 'wood').

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