In 1928 Tolkien wrote the first pages of The Hobbit. While sitting at his desk the words came from with-in him as he scribbled, 'in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit'. He later said he did know why but that the words just came up out of him.
He continued to write the Hobbit and add to his writings about the mythology of Middle-earth.
In 1937 The Hobbit was finished and published. It was a huge commercial success and lauded by the critics. The publishers Allen and Unwin demanded a sequel and in 1938 Tolkien began work on The New Hobbit, which would eventually become his greatest success and one of the highest selling books of all time: The Lord of the Rings.
Over the next 16 years he worked on The Lord of the Rings and soon discovered that it would not be a mere children's book like The Hobbit was, but that it would form the climax of all his former writings about Middle-earth.
In 1954 the first two volumes The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were published, The Return of the King followed in 1955. The trilogy was an instant success. Over the next 20 years it was translated into all the major languages of the world and became immensely popular.
Tolkien was understandably worried about how the book would be received.
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