J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 60 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide. Christopher Tolkien, born on 21 November 1924, is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. At the end of the war he returned to Oxford University and became a Fellow and Tutor in English of New College in 1964, lecturing in the University on early English and northern literature. Appointed by J.R.R. Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself since his father's death in 1973 to the editing and publication of unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion and Beowulf, and the collections entitled Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth. Since 1975 he has lived in France with his wife Baillie.
'The introduction to Gawain is a little masterpiece.' Times Higher Educational Supplement 'This magnificent Arthurian tale of love, sex, honour, social tact, personal integrity and folk-magic is one of the greatest and most approachable narrative poems in the language. Tolkien's version makes it come triumphantly alive, a moving and consoling elegy.' Birmingham Post