The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel (or ‘heroic romance’) written by the English academic J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s earlier fantasy book, The Hobbit, but developed into a much larger story. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, with much of it being created during World War II. Although intended as a single-volume work, it was originally published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955, and it is in this three-volume form that it is popularly known. It has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into at least 38 languages, becoming one of the most popular works in 20th-century literature.
The Lord of the Rings is set in the fictional region of Middle-earth, which is populated by various humanoid races: Hobbits, Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Orcs. The story centres on the Ring of Power made by the Dark Lord Sauron. Starting from quiet beginnings in the Shire, the story ranges across Middle-earth and follows the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, most notably the central protagonist Frodo Baggins. The main story is followed by six appendices that provide a wealth of historical and linguistic background material.
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