Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020)

Author and editor Christopher Tolkien, 95, son and literary executor of J.R.R. Tolkien, died January 15, 2020 in Provence, France. Tolkien dedicated his life to his father’s work, editing and shepherding into print more than a score of the elder Tolkien’s books. He organized and edited the The Silmarillion (1977), Unfinished Tales (1980), and the 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth (1983), along with The Children of Húrin (2007), The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (2009), The Fall of Arthur (2013), Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary (2014), Beren and Lúthien (2017), and The Fall of Gondolin (2018). He was chairman of the Tolkien Estate, Ltd. and a trustee of the Tolkien Charitable Trust. He also drew the iconic map of Middle-earth included in the 1954 edition of The Lord of the Rings, and the updated 1970s version. He retired as director of the estate in 2017.

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien was born November 21, 1924 in Leeds, England. He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Afterwards, he received a degree in English from Trinity College and later was a lecturer and tutor at New College, Oxford. Tolkien received the 2017 Bodley Medal in part for his work editing the unpublished texts of his father. The medal was given by the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, where the Tolkien Archive has been housed since 1973.

Tolkien was to married to Faith Faulconbridge from 1951-1967 and they had one child, Simon. He remarried the same year to Baillie Klass, with whom he had two children, Adam and Rachel. Tolkien eventually moved with his family to France and became a citizen there. He is survived by his wife, sister Priscilla, and three children.

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