The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist and Oxford University professor Tolkien.

The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit,

but eventually developed into a much larger work.

It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during World War II.

Although generally known to readers as a trilogy, the work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set along with The Silmarillion;

However, the publisher decided to omit the second volume and instead published The Lord of the Rings as three books rather than one, for economic reasons.

It has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in 20th-century literature.