British author J. R. R. Tolkien was the creator of high fantasy stories set in Middle-earth, with his most famous work being Lord of the Rings, closely followed by The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.
Tolkien was a renowned writer and held a number of academic posts during his career, one of his most prestigious roles was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College between 1925 and 1945. During this time, Tolkien studied a great number of mythologies, many of which formed the basis for his later Middle-earth stories. In particular, Tolkien took great interest in the story Beowulf, writing a number of academic articles on the story, as well as his own translation of the epic poem, which contains numerous translation notes.
During the First World War, Tolkien served as an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He spent a lot of time in the trenches, and it was during his spare time that he began writing stories that would go on to form part of his Middle-earth series. Although not all the stories he wrote eventually made it to the canon, many of the stories he wrote during the war are still available today.