John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a major scholar of the English language, specialising in Old and Middle English. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford from 1945 to 1959.
He was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. He is best known for his stories The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of our world which he called by the Middle English name of Middle-earth.
Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. He was married to the former Edith Bratt from 1916 until her death in 1971. The couple had four children.