One day while grading papers, J.R.R. Tolkien inexplicably wrote "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" in the margin - thereby setting out on the path that would bring him fame, fortune, and the devotion of millions. A veteran of the Battle of the Somme, he was a close friend of C. S. Lewis and an editor of the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY before becoming the Merton Professor of English at Oxford.
Humphrey Carpenter, the author of THE BRIDESHEAD GENERATION and THE INKLINGS, among other books, was given unrestricted access to all of Tolkien's papers for his biography of Tolkien, J.R.R. TOLKIEN: A BIOGRAPHY.